An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand
Further Events from 1848 to 1859
Further Events from 1848 to 1859.
- 67. The immediate fruit of Sir George Grey's arrangement in 1847 was the acquisition of the Grey Block, immediately adjoining the Fitzroy Block of 1844. In the early part of 1848, just before Kingi's migration, the Bell Block was acquired. I desire, in connection with this last purchase, to bring three things to the notice of your Grace.
- 68. In the first place the land was bought from the chief Rawiri Waiaua and a part of the Puketapu section of the Ngatiawa Tribe, in the teeth of the most determined opposition from the chief Katatore and others of the same family.
- 69. Secondly, Wiremu Kingi, who was at Whanganui at the time on his way up with the migration from Waikanae, put in a claim to the land, which was met in the way thus described by Commissioner McLean in a speech to the conference of chiefs at Kohimarama: "He met me on this side of Whanganui, and said to me, 'Do not give the payment for Mangati. I am willing that it should be sold, but I have a claim on it; let the payment be kept back until I arrive there; when I am there let it be given.' I replied, 'It is well, William.' Some months afterwards I called together all the people of Puketapu and other places to receive the payment. William King was also invited to be present to witness the payment. He came; and when the goods had been apportioned but among the several divisions of tribes I looked to see what portion was assigned to William King. None appeared; he got nothing. I therefore came to the conclusion that William King had no claim at Mangati."
- 70. Thirdly, the purchase of the Bell Block received in 1855 the unqualified approval of the Bishop of New Zealand, who, in his pastoral letter to the members of the Church of England at New Plymouth, said: "This happy result may fairly be attributed to the judicious manner in which the purchases page 38were completed. … The whole business, conducted with the greatest fairness and publicity, was concluded to the satisfaction of both Native and European."
- 71. In further pursuance of the same plan, the Omata Block, the Tataraimaka Block, the Hua Block, the Tarurutangi Block, and other smaller pieces of land, were successively acquired under the immediate control and supervision of Commissioner McLean, who says, "The whole of the purchases previously made at Taranaki had been effected on the same principle as the present one from Te Teira—namely, that of acquiring the land from the different clans and subdivisions of clans which came in from time to time to offer it." No such thing as a seignorial right was ever recognized either in Wiremu Kingi or anybody else. No general tribal right or right of chieftainship was allowed to interfere with the rights of the several hap us or families to dispose of their lands to the British Government. At first the resident Natives objected that "it would not-be right to entertain the claims of the absentees who forsook the land, and took no part in defending it against the Waikatos." But in every one of the purchases a portion of the payment was reserved for the absentees who had any claim, and these payments duly appear in the public accounts.
- 72. I will not prolong this despatch, which I fear your Grace will think has already reached an unreasonable length, by more than a passing allusion to the bloody feuds among the families of the Ngatiawa which succeeded the return of Wiremu Kingi, or to the disgrace to the British name and authority by murders perpetrated in open day on public highways of a British settlement and almost under the guns of the Queen's garrison, which led to my issuing a Proclamation that any renewal of such scenes within our territory would be repressed by force of arms. These are amply detailed in the papers duly transmitted to the Colonial Office, and presented to the General Assembly in the last four sessions. But a single instance of the ferocity by which these feuds were marked is exhibited by the manner in which Wiremu Kingi—who not very long after was writing to the Ven. Archdeacon Hadfield, "We are residing here in great grace of our Lord Jesus Christ"—proposed to treat his enemies: "A short time since when the position of Ihaia seemed desperate, and when his principal opponent, Wiremu Kingi, had evinced a determination to slaughter, without regard to sex or age, the inmates of the Karaka Pa, a memorial was addressed to His Excellency the Governor, praying him to rescue these unfortunate people." Ihaia has never recovered from the sufferings he underwent at that time, and remains to this day a broken man, covered with sores; but his courage and faithful loyalty to the Queen are as conspicuous as ever.