An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand
VI. Misrepresentations of the above Proceedings
VI. Misrepresentations of the above Proceedings.
- 86. Your Grace will not expect that I should notice any misstatements out of the numbers that have naturally enough been spread abroad since the insurrection broke out, except such as may appear in documents which have been sent to me for transmission to the Colonial Office. I wish, however, to notice a few of those which appear in a letter which I saw for the first time in a newspaper a few days ago, purporting to be addressed to your Grace by Archdeacon Hadfield, from Otaki, on the 29th May last.
- 87. The Archdeacon states that he is informed that the petition of the Natives of Otaki for my recall was, "through some alleged informality, detained, thus furnishing another instance of the difficulty experienced by the Natives in obtaining any remedy for an act of injustice." The petition reached me on the 19th April, and on the 28th of the same month I informed your Grace that I had received it, and would forward it, after making inquiry as to its authenticity, by the next mail. Accordingly I did forward it by the next mail—viz., on the 25th May.
- 88. The Archdeacon asks if it will be believed that (the survey having been attempted on 20th February) martial law, dated Auckland, 25th January, had already been placed in the hands of a subordinate officer to be used at his discretion. This has been explained in my Despatch No. 64, 28th June, 1860; but I may here state that the only use or object of martial law was to enable the Officer Commanding to call in the settlers, and subsequently to embody them for the defence of the town, should it prove necessary to do so. Not to have provided for such a possible contingency would have been most culpable. Martial law was applicable to the settlers alone. Indeed, the Maoris in Taranaki have never recognized our law at all, so that a suspension of it could not affect them in any way. Lieutenant-Colonel Murray, to whom this power was intrusted, had received the same power in 1858 and did not use it, so that there was no reason to doubt his discretion.
- 89. The Archdeacon says[gap — reason: damage] "The question at issue is simply this: Is a Native chief to be forcibly ejected from his land because an individual member of his tribe tells a subordinate land agent that it is his, and not the chief's, and that agent believes him? The Governor says 'Yes;' the chiefs say 'No.'" In answer to this I can only say it is not true that I have forcibly ejected Wiremu Kingi from his land. It was known from the first that he had a small portion of land on the south bank of Waitara River; this was left out of the survey; and if Kingi had any further proprietary claim, it was expressly saved by the memorandum I have quoted above.
- 90. Archdeacon Hadfield says: "Some years before the establishment of the-British Government in New Zealand, a large portion of the tribe migrated to the southward to Cook Strait, for the purpose of being near whalers and obtaining English goods. William King was one of this party." The migration had certainly no such peaceful character: the evidence of the Protector of Aborigines in 1844 is clear that it took place for purposes of conquest. A further migration took place under terror of the Waikatos, and "at the time of the invasion," says Governor Fitzroy, "by far the greater number of the Ngatiawa, with their principal men, were absent on a hostile excursion in the south."
- 91. Again: "But they [the Waikatos] never held possession of the land, and consequently never acquired any title to it." But their possession, occupation, and cultivation have been proved above to have existed, and the title to have been maintained.
- 92. Again: "William King, it will be observed, was never conquered or driven from his land." The fact is, he ran away from it; and went back by permission of the conquerors and of Sir George Grey.
- 93. Archdeacon Hadfield says: "I deny that any investigation whatever deserving that designation has ever taken place. The Chief Commissioner did not investigate the claim." Now, in answer to this grave charge, I beg leave to refer your Grace to the following testimony by the Chief Commissioner: "But we did not take the land at once. You say we were hasty, but we were not. Eight months passed over before the bargain was closed. We inquired of all the people, and could not find any rightful claimants but Teira and his friends. We said, 'If Wi Kingi has a piece in this block, we will not have it; we will leave it outside.' Do not say, then, that the Governor made haste to buy it; he took time enough to investigate the claim. You have said that one man sold the land, but there were seventy persons consenting to the sale." "Before leaving Taranaki I instructed the Land Purchase Commissioner there to investigate carefully the claims to this piece of land, and not to proceed hastily in the matter. He has since been constantly engaged in inquiring into the question of title, William King also being present at the meetings and admitting that the land belonged to the sellers. After the talk about the Waitara, [gap — reason: deletion] crossed the straits to Arapaoa, and saw that section of the tribe which is with Ropoama te One. I mentioned that a portion of the Waitara had been offered. I recited the boundaries, and asked, 'Does that land belong to King?' The reply was, 'No; if it was on page 41the other side of Waitara his claim would be just, but this side belongs to us; let us have the payment.' …. They pressed the matter, and a third time they asked me to give them the payment. I replied, 'Wait until the question is properly settled.' Afterwards they agreed to this. The names of these Arapaoa people who have claims at Waitara are Ropoama te One, Ripeka, Ngawheua, Herewini, Ihaka, Te Retimona, Timoti, Anaru, Haimona, Henare Rupuha, Arapere, Hamiora, Tohi, Pirihira, Nata, Rakira, Eruera te Rangi, Whiroa, Te Rei, and others. These people consented to the sale. It was I who delayed the matter, wishing that the claims should be investigated upon the land of their forefathers."
- 94. I beg to remark that one of these speeches, addressed by Mr. McLean to the assembled chiefs at Ngaruawahia and Kohimarama, was delivered within a few days of the date of Archdeacon Hadfield's letter, and the other a few weeks after. The following are extracts from the Chief Commissioner's evidence at the bar of the House of Representatives: "With reference to the particular block under consideration, the claims of the actual owners were carefully inquired into. Notice was given publicly at the time of the purchase to such absentee claimants as were known to have a right to the soil. It was not considered necessary to go about the country to rake up claims, or to induce Natives to prefer them. It was well known that, when any block of land was offered for sale, there was no hesitation on the part of claimants to come forward to receive that portion of the proceeds to which the extent of their claims might entitle them. The sale of any land in the country soon becomes known throughout it from one end to the other, and it is often found that a hundred fictitious claims are adduced when the actual owners altogether do not exceed thirty or forty persons. There has been a great deal said about unsatisfied claims in different parts of the country, but my own conviction is that many of those claims have been manufactured. At all events, I found that in the course of a few months after the time of the first offer of the land and my notification of it to the tribes at the South several parties were adducing claims who had never previously done so. It is notorious that if any Native thinks he has any chance of obtaining money for land it is an easy matter for him to assert a claim. During the investigation which took place, and while the difficulty was being adjusted, I felt convinced that the claims then preferred by these conflicting parties were substantially good, and that in fact the sale must be proceeded with, or otherwise the Natives who had offered the land would be treated with great injustice. The officer whom I instructed to conduct the negotiations (Mr. District Commissioner Parris) was requested to persevere in his inquiries into the matter from time to time; not in any way to hasten the arrangement, but to give full opportunity to opposing claimants to come forward and state their ease. He not only did this, but he also took a great deal of trouble in visiting, as far as lay in his power, every part of his district, to make sure that there should be no substantial claim overlooked. I have already stated that there was a public notification from myself, inviting all persons who had claims to bring them forward, in order that they might be carefully investigated. No fresh claims were recorded, however; no rights were shown by the Natives who opposed the sale, except the right which the land league conferred upon them, that of claiming land everywhere, and of opposing the sale of land everywhere. There was no urgency displayed in this matter, no desire to hasten it, but ample time was given to all parties to put forward their claims; and not only was there ample time given, but claims were solicited and hunted up in every direction in Taranaki itself. Yet, with the exception of the two tribes who sold the land on the banks of the Waitara, and another tribe on the banks of the Waiongana, who were joint claimants to a part of the block, no substantial claims were put in. If I were to say that no other claims were adduced I should be wrong, but I mean no substantial claims, no claims that could be recognized by the Government, or which would be regarded by the Natives as valid. Certainly one man told me that his grandfather had once lived a short time on the land, and that he therefore expected compensation. Another told me that in one of their fights he was wounded and suffered great inconvenience there, and therefore thought it was right that he should have some consideration now that the land was sold. Now, this is the class of claims of which I have just been speaking, which it is clearly the duty of the Government to resist, as otherwise it would be an utter impossibility to carry out any purchase of land without defrauding the real owners. By compensating this class of claimants the real owners would be deprived of what they are fairly entitled to, and merely because the Government chose to recognize fictitious claims of this character. The chief Ropoama, who offered to dispose of his claim, was recognized as the head of the hapus or subdivisions of the Ngatiawa Tribe who owned the land and sold it. He holds a high position among his people, and is much respected by the Europeans. On several occasions it was contemplated by the Natives of Waitara to invite him there, and to live among them as their chief, to keep peace and order in the tribe. In this arrangement Wiremu Kingi (about whose chieftainship we have heard so much, and who undoubtedly was a chief of the section of the Ngatiawa at Waikanae) acquiesced. No actual payment, or promise of payment, was made to the Natives at Queen Charlotte Sound at that time. When they informed me that they had agreed to sell the land, my reply to them was that they had better wait until matters had been finally arranged at Waitara, as I should not feel myself justified in concluding the purchase with them till then….. Having arranged with them that they should be paid after matters were settled at Taranaki, I left Ropoama's place for Wellington, where I notified to the Natives what had taken place with reference to Waitara. I had previously ascertained the names of the Wellington claimants to the land. I consulted them about it, and made similar arrangements with them to those which I had made with Ropoama, that they should be paid when the block was settled for at Taranaki. I believe that one or two of Ropoama's people were at Waikanae at that time, and he promised to see them on their return, and to endeavour to arrange matters with them with respect to their claims. It has been recently stated that, in addition to these persons who are known and recognized as the actual owners, claimants are to be met with at the South as numerous as a swarm of bees; but I think that those who say so would find very great difficulty in establishing anything beyond mere assertion of right to the land comprised in the Government purchase. Knowing how scattered the claimants were, and the difficulty of getting them all together in any one place at any one time, I was a long lime pursuing investigations before I myself came to the conclusion that the purchase was quite satisfactory; but the more I inquired into the page 42case, and came into contact with impartial Natives residing at a distance, and having no particular interest in the locality, the more I became satisfied that the purchase was a good one."
- 95. But the complaint is that the investigation was not by some Court. "What is demanded by the Natives," says the Archdeacon, "is an impartial Court, in which their respective claims can be stated, and before which they may bring evidence to be received on oath. Nothing short of an inquiry conducted on such principles as these can be considered ah investigation of their titles to land." In reference to this, the Chief Justice, in his speech to the Legislative Council which I have before quoted, said: "On the present occasion it is enough to say that if Wiremu Kingi had any title, tribal or otherwise, he owes it to himself that his title was not recognized; seeing that the purchase from Te Teira and others was not hastily concluded, and that, while His Excellency's conduct was marked by patient and thoughtful reserve, he was met not only with defiance, but contempt….. But. Sir, when I assert that His Excellency was forced into this war by circumstances beyond his control, I look a little beyond this isolated purchase of Teira's land. I ask in what condition His Excellency found the Native race. And when it is said that Kingi's dispute should have been referred to some tribunal, I ask, What tribunal? If you tell me 'To the Commissioners,' I ask, What Commissioners? If Kingi had been summoned before some tribunal, and had, as assuredly he would have, refused to come, what then?" And Mr. Swainson, in his speech in the same debate, said: "I do not mean to say that if any such tribunal had existed the Native disturbances at Taranaki would never have arisen; neither do I make the remark in disparagement of the present Ministry. I believe that the present Government is no more to blame for the want of such a tribunal than the Governments who have preceded them. I am the more careful to make this statement, because the Governor has been blamed, but as I believe unjustly blamed, for not having submitted the claims of Wiremu Kingi to a Court of law."
- 96. But when such a tribunal was in existence, when the opportunity was before him of giving "evidence on oath" with respect to his claims, Wiremu Kingi did not avail himself of it. Why did he not, being on the spot at the time (as I have proved above) tender his evidence before Commissioner Spain, whose Court was precisely such a tribunal as is referred to? What he would not do in 1844 he would not have done in 1860 or at any other time—namely, appear before any tribunal whatever with the least intention of submitting to its decisions. And if any such tribunal had existed in 1860 he would have been met at once by this rule, stated by the Bishop of New Zealand in his evidence before a Select Committee of the House of Representatives: "I believe that it is in accordance with Native custom that any person not asserting a claim at the time of sale would be barred:"
- 97. Archdeacon Hadfield further says: "The absurdity of the procedure, not only in this particular case but in all the so-called investigations of Native titles to land, appears in the fact that up to the present time no principles have been laid down as to what constitutes a title to land." To this I oppose the fact, which I have detailed above, that the most clear and decided and uniform principle has been laid down ever since 1844 in dealing with the Ngatiawa title at Taranaki; and the opinion of one of the authorities I have quoted on Native tenure, who says: "I believe that were it possible to teach the Maoris the English language, and then bring them into some Court, allowing each contending party to plead his cause in such a dispute as I have mentioned, not according to English law but Maori custom, both sides would, according to Native genealogy and laws, make out their respective cases so clearly that it would take a Judge and a jury possessed of more than human attainments to decide the ownership of the land."
- 98. Archdeacon Hadfield says: "Still, I feel bound to express my opinion that the Governor's attack on William King was not only impolitic, but, under the present circumstances of the colony, an act of folly bordering on insanity." In answer, I beg to submit the opinion of the Chief Justice; who says: "From the moment when Te Teira offered for sale His interest in that block of land, and placed his mat before the Governor in token of its surrender, His Excellency was bound by every consideration of treaty and of justice to accept the offer to the extent and upon the conditions on which he then accepted it. I think, further, that from the moment when Wiremu Kingi, after passing with insult and defiance from the Governor's presence on that occasion; after declining for twelve months to explain the nature of his own claim (if such he had) on the grounds of his prohibition upon the sale; after resisting the survey by force; and rising with his followers in arms;—when, I say, after these same events this same chief refused even to meet His Excellency under a written promise of safety, but responded to His Excellency's forbearance only by war dances, war pas, and the murder of unarmed settlers, His Excellency had no alternative but to accept the issue thus forced upon him."
- 99. Archdeacon Hadfield has committed himself to one positive statement of fact among the many vague assertions in which his letter abounds. He says: "But with regard to Teira's right to sell, which is so positively asserted, and on the supposed validity of which a war has been commenced at Taranaki, can I expect to be believed in England when I assert, as I do unequivocally, that Teira's father, Tamati Raru, through whom alone the son could lay claim to any land, as inherited by him from his ancestors, is still living, and opposed its alienation? Teira's father is, indeed, the owner of a small portion of the block; but it would be irrelevant to the purpose of my present argument to discuss his right to sell, inasmuch as he has refused to do so, and co-operated with William King in opposing his own son up to the very commencement of hostilities."
- 100. In answer to this positive assertion of fact, it is only necessary to say that the Archdeacon's letter was dated the 29th May, that hostilities commenced on the 18th March, that Tamati Raru, Teira's father, signed the deed of sale to Her Majesty on the 24th February, that he was one of those who cut the boundary-line, and that he asked for and received a gun, and has constantly borne arms on bur side.
- 101. I now refer to the last matter on which I shall trouble your Grace in reference to the Archdeacon's letter. Speaking of the official statement which I had caused to be circulated immediately on the breaking-out of hostilities, the Archdeacon says: "I deny the truth of all the statements. I am prepared to prove their falsity here, where evidence can be obtained." Upon page 43the General Assembly being finally summoned for despatch of business on the 31st July last, Archdeacon Hadfield came up from Wellington. The House of Representatives, beings made aware of the strong views which he entertained on the subject of the Waitara purchase, examined him at the bar of their House. Considering that on the 29th May he had committed himself in a public pledge to your Grace that he was "prepared to prove the falsity of all my statements," his evidence at the bar in August, when he had so much more time to complete his case, should have been clear, definite, and Conclusive.
- 102. The following summary of his answers on most important points requires no comment. When he is asked if he knows the position of the land in dispute, he says, "I do not know the precise boundary-line." When asked who were the owners of the land previous to the dispute, he says, "I have direct information from persons stating they are claimants; I am only giving my opinion on that information." When asked on what authority he states there are ninety claimants on the block, he says, What I have now stated on this subject rests on the assertions of others. I am here as an unwilling witness in the case before the House, unprovided with direct proof. I am but a secondary witness. I do not know whether I fully understood the question." When asked whether Wiremu Kingi is one of the ninety, he says, "I have before stated that the right of the tribe extends over the whole of that block; therefore he is one of the claimants." When asked whether Kingi ever made a proprietary claim, he says, "I hear that he made a proprietary claim to a portion of the block." When asked what proof he has of a certain Native (Hamere) having a claim, he says, "An old man, who resided at Waitara forty years, pointed out to me when I was at Waikanae [150 miles away] portions of the land which belonged to Wiremu Kingi." When asked whether he is acquainted with the details of the negotiations for land in the New Plymouth District, he says, "I could not say that I was acquainted with the details." When asked of whom the Bell Block was bought, he says, "Principally I believe from returned slaves from Waikato; so I have been informed." Of whom the Hua Block?—"I do not know." Of whom the Taururutangi?—"I do not know." When asked if Wiremu Kingi received any payment for the Bell Block, he says, "I do not know whether he did or not." When asked the territorial boundary of the four hapus of which he says Wiremu Kingi is the head, he says, "I am not acquainted with the boundaries. I have never professed to be acquainted with the boundaries." When asked whether these four hapus have equal rights to the south bank of Waitara, he says, "I think they have." When asked if Kingi's people ever cultivated on the disputed block, he says, "I am not aware that they have cultivated any part of the land since their return." When asked whether any of their cultivations were in the disputed block, he says, "I do not know from personal knowledge." When asked where Reretawhangawhanga (Wiremu Kingi's father) had his pa before the migration, he says, "I do not know." When asked if there was a pa on the disputed block before the migration, he says, "I do not know." When asked on what authority he said there was no investigation of the absentee claims, he says, "I am quite certain none was made at Waikanae. It must be generally understood that my evidence in reference to this dispute is derived chiefly from the chief Hohepa Ngapaki and Riwai te Ahu. I have had information from others, but I limit myself to those two." When asked whether Wiremu Kingi had any opportunity offered him of stating his claim to the Government officers, or to the Governor himself, before military force was brought into action, he says, "I presume he had innumerable opportunities; he might have written by every post. He had an opportunity of meeting the Governor after the publication of martial law." After further conversation between Mr. Sewell and the witness, witness said, "I must then confess myself unable to understand the question." When asked whether prior to the dispute he had had conversations relative to the respective rights of the four hapus on the south bank, he says, "I have previously stated that I believe in the fact of the tribal right of Wiremu Kingi—having stated as much distinctly; it is a question in which I take no interest, as I think it irrelevant. I have had conversation on the subject, and I do not believe that any separate rights exist between Ngatihinga and Ngatituaho on the one side, and Ngatikura and Ngatiuenuku on the other; the various hapus, through former intermarriages, are so mixed up one with another that it would be impossible to give either an affirmative or a negative to a question which you can neither believe nor disbelieve; the question is perfectly unintelligible and irrelevant."
- 103. From the foregoing extracts it will be seen that, although Archdeacon Hadfield says in his letter, of 29th May, "I have hitherto felt my ground secure, dealing with facts within my knowledge," he really knew but little of the matter. Certain it is that he failed in the attempt to convince the House of Representatives that Kingi was right, for immediately afterwards the following resolution was passed, approving the policy I had pursued: "That, in the opinion of this House, the interference of Wiremu Kingi at Waitara, and his resort to force to prevent the survey of land there, rendered the measures adopted by His Excellency the Governor indispensable for the due maintenance of Her Majesty's sovereignty, and that the welfare of both races of Her Majesty's subjects peremptorily requires a vigorous prosecution of the war to a successful termination."
- 104. The Legislative Council adopted the same view, and addressed me in the following terms: "We, the Legislative Council of New Zealand, beg to assure your Excellency of our earnest desire to afford to your Excellency our most cordial support in carrying on the war now unhappily existing in a portion of this colony. Deploring, as we do, the existence of this evil, a feeling which we are persuaded is entertained by your Excellency with equal strength, we are convinced that your Excellency has been forced into this course by a series of circumstances beyond your Excellency's control."
- 105. And the conference of chiefs at Kohimarama, who best knew what the rights of the Ngatiawa people are, passed the following resolution condemning Wiremu Kingi, and justifying me; which resolution was signed by the chiefs with only three dissentients: "That this conference, having heard explained the circumstances which led to the war at Taranaki, is of opinion that the Governor was justified in the course taken by him; that Wiremu Kingi provoked the quarrel; and that the proceeding of the latter are wholly indefensible."