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

VII. The Relation between Wiremu Kingi's Insurrection and the Native King Movement and Land League

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VII. The Relation between Wiremu Kingi's Insurrection and the Native King Movement and Land League.

106.I have on so many occasions, in despatches addressed to your Grace's department during the last four years, described the various phases of the agitation which resulted in setting up a Native King and the establishment of a league among a number of tribes to forbid the further cession of Native lands to Her Majesty, that I shall confine myself to indicating here the close relation which has subsisted from the first between that movement and the insurrection of Wiremu Kingi.
107.I beg, in the first place, to refer your Grace to the following account given by the Rev. Mr. Buddle, Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission, in a pamphlet specially devoted to the origin and progress of the King movement, of the deputation which came up to Waikato from the Ngatiawa and Ngatiruanui Tribes, to hand over their lands to the King: "During 1859 two or three deputations visited the South and left the Maori King's flags at Taranaki, and with the Ngatiruanui. It is said that Wiremu Kingi te Rangitake refused to receive the flag or to join the movement; but in the autumn of the present year a deputation from the Ngatiawa and Ngatiruanui Tribes visited Waikato, intrusted with the important duty of presenting the allegiance of those tribes to the Maori King, and of handing over their lands to the league of which he is the recognized head. The deputation consisted of about sixty picked men, chiefly young men. They arrived at Ngaruawahia on the 10th of April, accompanied by Ngatimaniapoto from Kawhia, Rangiaohia, and Upper Waipa. They marched up to the flagstaff, three abreast, wearing favours to distinguish the respective tribes. On reaching the flagstaff one stepped forward, and with a clear distinct voice said, 'Honour all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honour the King;' then turning to the train he said, 'Honour the King:' all responded by uncovering and kneeling. The leader of the Ngatiruanui then read from a memorandum-book an address beginning, 'O King, live for ever; thou art bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; thou art a saviour for us, our wives, our children,' &c., and went on to pledge their allegiance. The leader of the Ngatiawa then read a similar address. 'Honour the King' was again demanded, and a low salaam, and a general cry of 'Hear, hear, hear,' was the response."
108.It was while this deputation was in the Waikato that news arrived of the breaking-out of hostilities at the Waitara. This fact will explain much that would otherwise be unintelligible in the speeches of the chiefs at Ngaruawahia, from which I shall presently give extracts. "The chiefs of the Ngatimaniapoto Tribe were no doubt encouraged to make their revolutionary proposals, and to use the strong language contained in their speeches, by the speeches of two Waikato chiefs, Te Wetini and Karamoa, who spoke the preceding day, when the Ngatiruanui and Ngafiawa presented their allegiance to Potatau."
109.Before quoting from the Native speeches, I beg to refer to the following further particulars as to the purposes of the land league: "These opponents [to land sales] pushed their views, and sought to make it te tihanga o te iwi (the law of the tribe) that no individual or family should alienate land without the consent of the whole tribe. To make the law popular and binding, they determined on a more general meeting, and to invite all the tribes along the coast to join them in this measure….. This was the origin of the notorious Taranaki land league, which evidently contains the elements of the present King movement, which has proved so fruitful a source of dissension among the tribes of that district, caused so much bloodshed, and brought about the present collision between Wi Kingi and His Excellency the Governor. … The land thus given over to the King is not to be alienated without his consent. This might be all fair if the party stopped here. But they resolve that no land shall be sold within their territory, even though the owner may not have joined the league. Any man, therefore attempting to sell a block of land would subject himself to summary proceedings at war; and any attempt to take possession of the purchased block by the Government would be resisted by force of arms, as in the case of the land at Waitara."
110.The Rev. Mr. Morgan, Church of England missionary, who has resided twenty years in the Waikato District, writing to the Select Committee of the House of Representatives on Waikato affairs, says: "In other words, the vital question with the Maori Kingites now is, whether the King or the Queen shall possess the mana of New Zealand. Hence the frequent expressions of the Waikatos now in arms, 'We are going to fight for New Zealand. We sent the King's flag to Taranaki, and it is our duty to follow the King's flag. We are fighting for the mana of our island.' The Maori-King movement is the strength of the Taranaki war. … This entirely depends on the issue of the present war, which, on the part of the Waikato, is a struggle for the mana of the Maori King, and not for the small piece of land sold by Te Teira at the Waitara. They only considered that small block of land as it refers to the mana of the King all lands on which his flag has been planted."
111.The Rev. J. A. Wilson, Church missionary, writing to the same Committee, expresses his entire agreement with Mr. Morgan's opinions.
112.At the Ngaruawahia meeting, where nearly four thousand were assembled, the following conversation took place between the chiefs Tamati Ngapora and Patene (of Ngatimaniapoto), who represented Wiremu Kingi:—Tamati Ngapora: "I wish my proposals to be disposed of Raugitake, give me that piece of land that has caused the war. Give me that piece that has been purchased and paid for by the Governor."—Patene (Ngatimaniapoto) replied, representing Wiremu Kingi, "I shall not give it up."—Tamati Ngapora: "Give it to me."—Patene: "I am under some mistake." He then planted a stick in the ground to represent Potatau and Waitara, and said, "This is Potatau; my mana stands there. After my mana rested on the land the scrofulous man arose, offered it for sale, and the Governor accepted the offer."—Tamati: "That is Potatau, is it? and this land has been handed over to Potatau, has it? Then it is mine; I represent Potatau here; and I give this land to the Governor." (Tamati was instructed by Potatau to adopt this plan.)—Patene: "For what reason do you give that land to the Governor?"—Tamati: "That peace may be restored and our trouble cease."—Paora (a chief of Ngatiwhatua) said at the same meeting: "You say that you have not seen wrong on the part of Te Rangitake (Wiremu Kingi). I have seen his wrong-doing. Letters have reached you that convict him of wrong, yet you say you have not seen it. I repeat, I have seen it, and I believe there is not a chief in Waikato that is not convinced that Te Rangitake is wrong. … You speak of page 45mana. What is the mana? Where is the mana? There is no such thing as putting mana on the land." —Heta Ngatihaua (the young man who made the flags that were sent Taranaki) said: "Press your words, Ruihana. Send a deputation to Taranaki; let us know when that land was paid for—before our mana reached it or after. If our mana was first, we do not let it go, but support Rangitake in his right. This shall decide his claim. The money second, the mana first—we hold it fast."—Kopara, of Ngatihaua, said: "All subjects are disposed of but one. The question is, Was the flag first or the money first? If the land was paid for before the flag reached it, the Governor is right; if not, then the matter cannot rest where it is. If the mana and flag went before, we must contend for our land."— Te Wetini Taiporutu, of Ngatihaua (the chief who was killed at Mahoetahi), said: "I wish to reply to one question. If the Governor's money was laid down for the land at Waitara before it came under our law, then he is right. But if it was paid for after the land was handed to us, I do not say what we shall do. That we keep in our pockets; I open not my mouth on that subject, but I can see the depth and height, the length and breadth of that. I lean on our flag. If the land was purchased after it became ours, then I shall show my love to Rangitake."
113.At the conference at Kohimarama, Tamati Waka Nene said: "For this reason, I repeat, it is enough; cease to clamour for a king. Although some may inquire whence sprang the disturbances at Taranaki, I will declare that the evils sprang from that King (movement). Now that my Waikato friend is dead, cease to call for a king. I know full well that the evils have sprung from the King; therefore I say again, put an end to it." Tamihana te Rauparaha said: "Wiremu Kingi tries to maintain his landholding influence (mana-pupuri-whenua)—the mana of New Zealand; but perhaps one reason is jealousy of the pakeha." Hetaraka Nera said: "The Waikato people set up a Maori King. The object of this was to hold the land. When Te Rangitake heard that his own idea was being carried out, his heart rejoiced. I am speaking ill of Waikato and Wiremu Kingi. I say, that evil will increase. In these times my ears have heard indistinctly that those tribes have been acting treacherously, and the opinion respecting them cannot be concealed. This Island is filled with the evils of the Maoris." Again, Wiremu Kingi himself said to the Waikato chiefs and Wi Tako, who visited him to inquire about the purchase: "The pakeha wants our land, but this war is about your Maori King. Do not listen to the pakeha, but bring your flag to Waitara. Go back and clear them out; send them all back to England."
114.The Rev. J. A. Wilson furnishes further evidence on the same subject, from three chiefs who spoke with him during a visit of two months to Waikato. Wiremu Nera te Awaitaia, one of the highest chiefs of New Zealand, said to him: "You must understand this: The war is not a struggle of the Maori with the pakeha; it is not a war with the missionary; it is not a war with the Magistrate; it is a war of the King with the Queen." Te Waru, another high Waikato chief, said: "Friend, all this fighting and plundering would not have occurred had we not made a King. This is the root of the strife. It is Waikato who fight the cause of Taranaki; the men of the soil keep at a distance, they are but slaves; we fight their battles; we are the strength of this war."—Wetini Taiprutu said: "The war was not merely a contention for the land at New Plymouth, but for the chieftainship of New Zealand. Wherever the King's flag went they [the war party] would follow. If the Governor sent troops to any part of this Island they would meet them."
115.And lastly, Karaka Tomo te Whakapo, from Rangiaohia, said: "You are right: those are our mottoes. Let there be no evil of any kind, no war among the pakeha, and no war among the Maoris. But let us build our pa, let us complete it. Let it be quite finished. I do not consider it completed yet. Leave the other things, the war at Taranaki for the Evil Spirit to carry on. Twice he has turned upon us, and twice we have forgiven. Let us abide by our three mottoes and wait to see if he will be strong and persevere. Our pa stands broken: listen, William, Takerei, Wetini; listen. I consider that our pa for our wives and children is not yet complete; let us finish it, dig the trenches, throw up the breastwork, and bind the fences. Look at his [the pakeha's] work in other lands; never too late, never behind time [alluding to the prompt movements and careful preparations of the Europeans]: therefore I say quickly build our pa."—Tapihana replied: "What pa is that you are building? We have built our pa, and it is broken down and stained with blood. The wealth we had collected into our bag is scattered, it is thrown out into the fern; who shall gather it up again?" (alluding to the men who had fallen at Taranaki).
116.Your Grace will determine, with the preceding evidence before you, whether I was right on the 22nd March, 1860, four days after the first shot was fired in this war, in saying, "It is now clear to me that Wiremu Kingi has been encouraged in his opposition by an assurance of formidable support, and that the question of the purchase of an insignificant piece of land is merged in the far greater one of nationality."