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An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

No. 76. — Notification circulated among the Native Tribes, just before the Governor's Visit to Waikato, December, 1861

No. 76.
Notification circulated among the Native Tribes, just before the Governor's Visit to Waikato, December, 1861.

Notification to Natives.

These are some of the thoughts of the Governor, of Sir George Grey, towards the Maoris at this time. His desire is, how to arrange things that there may be good laws made, and those laws be put in force; and how all men, both European and Maori, may be taught to work for the common good of the country in which they live; that they may be a happy people, rich, wise, well instructed, and every year advancing in prosperity. For it is the desire of the Queen (whose heart was dark when she heard of the troubles in New Zealand) that all her subjects, both Europeans and Maoris, in all parts of these Islands, should have the benefits of law and order: that the lives and persons of all men should be safe from destruction and-injury; and that every man should have for himself and enjoy his own lands, his cattle, his horses, his sheep, his ship, his money, or whatever else belongs to him. And it is the desire of the Queen that all her subjects should help in making the laws by which they are governed, and that from amongst them should be appointed wise and good men as Magistrates, to adjudge in cases of disputed rights and punish the wrong-doer, and to teach the law, how it should be obeyed.

The Europeans in New Zealand, with the help of the Governor, make laws for themselves, and have their own Magistrates; and because they obey those laws they are rich, they have large houses, great ships, horses, sheep, cattle, corn, and all other, good things for the body. They have also ministers of religion, teachers of schools; lawyers, to teach the law; surveyors, to measure every man's land; doctors, to heal the sick; carpenters, blacksmiths, and all those other persons who make good things for the body, and teach good things for the souls and minds of the Europeans. It is because they have made wise and good laws, and because they look up to the Queen as the one head over all Magistrates, and over all the several bodies of which the English people consists. It is the desire of the Queen, and this also is the thought of Governor Grey and of the Runanga of the pakcha, that the Maoris also should do for themselves as the Europeans do. They know that of late years the Maoris-have been seeking for law and order. The Englishmen have been more than a thousand years learning how to make laws and to govern themselves well. The Maori has only just begun this work. Besides this, in order to have Magistrates, and policemen, and other officers, it is necessary to pay them, for the labourer is worthy of his hire; and he who works for the whole body of the people should be paid by the people, for while he works for them he must, more or less, neglect his own work.

Now, the thought of the Governor is, how he may help the Maoris in the work of making laws, and how he may provide for the payment of the Magistrates and other officers of Government, till such time as the Maoris shall have become rich and be able to pay all the expenses themselves. In order, then, to provide the machinery of good government amongst the Maoris in these Islands, the Governor desires to see established the following system, whereby good laws may be made, well-disposed persons be protected, bad men restrained from violence, and security for life and property be insured to all.

  • 1. The parts of the Island inhabited by Maoris will be marked off into several districts, according to tribes or divisions of tribes, and the convenience of the natural features of the country. To every page 83 one of these districts the Governor will send a learned and good European to assist the Maoris in the work of making laws and enforcing them; he will be called the Civil Commissioner. There will be a Runanga for that district, which will consist of a certain number of men who will be chosen from the Assessors. The Civil Commissioner will be the President of that Runanga to guide its deliberations, and, if the votes are equal on any matter, he will have a casting vote to decide. This Runanga will propose the laws for that district, about the trespass of cattle, about cattle-pounds, about fences, about branding cattle, about thistles and weeds, about dogs, about spirits and drunkenness, about putting down bad customs of the old Maori law, like the taua, and about the various things which specially concern the people living in that district. They will also make regulations about schools, about roads if they wish for them, and about other matters which may promote the public good of that district. And all these laws which the district Runangas may propose will be laid before the Governor, and he will say if they are good or not. If he says they are good, they will become law for all men in that district to which they relate. If he says they are not, good, then the Runanga must make some other law which will be better. This is the way with the laws which the Europeans make in their Runangas, both in New Zealand and in the great Runanga of the Queen in England.
  • 2. Every district will be subdivided into Hundreds, and in each of these there will be Assessors appointed. The men of that district will choose who shall be Assessors; only the Governor will have the word to decide whether the choice is good or not. The Magistrates, with these Assessors, will hold Courts for disputes about debts of money, about cattle-trespass, about all breaches of the law in that district. They will decide in all these cases.
  • 3. In every Hundred there will be policemen, and one chief policeman, who will be under the Assessors. These policemen will summon all persons against whom there are complaints before the Court of the Assessors, and when the Assessors shall have decided the policeman will see that the orders of the Assessors are carried out. All fines which shall be paid shall be applied to some public uses. The Commissioner or Magistrate will keep this money till it is required.
  • 4 The Runangas will also be assisted in establishing and maintaining schools and teachers; sometimes Europeans, sometimes Maoris, will be appointed. The Maoris ought to pay part of the salary of the school-teacher; the Governor will pay the rest.
  • 5. Where the Runangas wish to have an European doctor to live among them, the Governor will endeavour to procure one to reside there, and will pay him so much salary as may make him willing to go to that work. The doctor will give medicine to the Maoris when they are sick, and will teach them what things are good for the rearing of their children', to make them strong and healthy, and how to prolong the lives of all the Maoris by eating good food, by keeping their houses clean, by having proper clothes, and other things relating to their health. This will be the business of the doctor. But all those who require the services of the doctor will pay for them, except such as the Runanga may decide to be too poor to do so.
  • 6. About the lands of the Maoris. It will be for the Runangas to decide all disputes about the lands. It will be good that each Runanga should make a register, in which-should be written a statement of all the lands within the district of that Runanga, so that everybody may know, and that there may be no more disputings about land.

This, then, is what the Governor intends to do to assist the Maori in the good work of establishing law and order. These are the first things: the Runangas, the Assessors, the policemen, the schools, the doctors, the Civil Commissioners to assist the Maoris to govern themselves, to make good laws, and to protect the weak against the strong. There will be many more things to be planned and to be decided; but about such things the Runangas and the Commissioners will consult. This work will be a work of time, like the growing of a large tree: at first there is the seed, then there is one trunk, then there are branches innumerable, and very many leaves: by-and-by, perhaps, there will be fruit also. But the growth of the tree is slow—the branches, the leaves, and fruit did not appear all at once, when the seed was put in the ground: and so will it be with the good laws of the Runanga. This is the seed which the Governor desires to sow: the Runangas, the Assessors, the Commissioners, and the rest. By-and-by, perhaps, this seed will grow into a very great tree, which will bear good fruit on all its branches. The Maoris, then, must assist in-the planting of this tree, in the training of its branches, in cultivating the ground about its roots; and, as the tree grows, the children of the Maori also will grow to be a rich, wise, and prosperous people, like the English and those other nations which long ago began the work of making good laws and obeying them. This will be the Work of Peace, on which the blessing of Providence will rest—which will make the storms to pass away from the sky, and all things will become light between the Maori and the pakeha; and the heart of the Queen will then be glad when she hears that the two races are living quietly together, as brothers, in the good and prosperous land of New Zealand.