The Second Year of One of England's Little Wars
I. — NEW ZEALAND SPECTATOR, MARCH 6, 1861. — To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator
NEW ZEALAND SPECTATOR, MARCH 6, 1861.
To the Editor of the New Zealand Spectator.
I wish to offer a few remarks on the following passage from Mr. Richmond's “Memorandum,” Page 16:—
“Riwai names in his letter of 23rd June, three specific claims, one on behalf of Te Patukakariki, who, being on the spot, never claimed for himself. Another on behalf of King himself, whose cultivation within the block, he says is called Te Porepore. A third on behalf of King's two children. The cultivation which belonged to their mothers, are, he says, ‘at Hurirapa, the pa which was burnt by the soldiers; and another at Oropa on the south of their old pas.’ As regards the cultivations of King himself, Riwai is directly contradicted by the evidence above cited, which establishes that neither Kingi nor any of his people have had cultivations on the block. Nor is it at all likely that if he had been entitled to cultivate on the block in right of his wives or children, he would have omitted to do so, were it merely for the purpose of asserting his title. Riwai's passionate inaccuracy is shewn in his page 64 statement that Hurirapa was burnt by the soldiers. Hurirapa was not burnt. No pa was burnt by the soldiers. In the same spirit he scoffingly denies the fact that W. King had leave to place his pa on the block: ‘How, then, can it be said that they gave W. Kingi leave to settle on the block, when he came from Waikanae? A fine saying, indeed! No. Each man knew that cultivation of his own ancestor. Was it they who gave W. Kingi leave to cultivate Te Porepore, when he went from Waikanae? Was it they who gave his children leave to cultivate at Te Hurirapa (Teira's pa), when they went from Waikanae, which cultivations have been taken from them by the soldiers?” The statements implied in these questions are, as have already been seen, absolutely contradicted by the officers charged with the investigations, and are inconsistent with the proved facts of the case. Sir W. Martin may have good ground for his expressed belief in the Rev. Riwai Te Ahu's general honesty of character, but it is evident that in the present case, his (the Deacou's) statements show strong passion and slender information.”
Allow me to say that there has been no “evidence cited” that contradicts any statements by the Rev. Riwai Te Ahu, as to King's cultivations within the disputed block. Mr. Richmond asserts that the evidence cited “establishes that neither Kingi, nor any of his people, have had cultivations on the block;” but this is contradicted by an official statement, published at New Plymouth on the 20th of March last, which says,— “Kingi's followers have, however, encroached with their cultivations upon the south side of the river; and these encroachments have been, for a long time, a source of continual dissension.” But even if the fact asserted by Mr. Richmond were established, which it is not, Riwai Te Ahu's inaccuracy would not be proved: he says nothing about recent “cultivations;” he speaks of mara (translated in the version of his letter printed in my evidence given before the House of Representatives, “portions of land”)—fields—former cultivations, as is clear from his saying,—fields of their “mothers” and their “ancestors.” Mr. Richmond's inference, therefore, is worthless, being founded upon a blunder of his own.
Any inference drawn from Mr. Richmond's conjectures, as expressed in such words as—“nor is it at all likely, &c.,” I must leave to those who think that a charge of inaccuracy can be substantiated by such a trashy mode of reasoning as this.
Mr. Richmond contradicts Riwai Te Ahu, and says that “Hurirapa pa was not burnt.” I am requested to forward to you a statement made by Wi Tako in reference to this disputed point: “April 6, 1860. This was when I arrived at Waitara. I saw that W. King's pas were all destroyed by fire. The names of these pas are Werohia, Te Hurirapa, and Kuikui: not a whare remained: all were burnt. One whare remained; it was a building for meetings; it was outside Te Hurirapa pa. We were two hours there, I went on board the steamer; we sailed to Waitohi. This is all. From Wi Tako.”* This statement of Wi Tako's appears perfectly conclusive as to the point at issue.page 65
Mr. Richmond's assertion that “no pa was burnt by the soldiers,” is a mere evasive quibble. The pas referred to by Wi Tako and Riwai Te Ahu, were burnt by native allies, bearing arms under the authority of the officer in command of the soldiers, and acting under his protection. Most men would be ashamed of such a transparent attempt to evade an awkward fact.
Mr. Richmond says,—“He scoffingly denies the fact that W. King had leave to place his pa on the block.” He does not say one word about it. He certainly would have denied it, if any allusion had been made by him to the subject, because he knew, as I know, that the assumed fact is an absurd falsehood. No question was ever raised as to W. King's right to settle on the “block;” the only one was that explained by me in my published letter of May, namely,—“whether his pa should stand a few chains nearer the water side than it would have stood, had it been erected on his own land on the same side of the river.”
It will hardly satisfy any impartial person, to be told that Riwai Te Ahu's statements are “inaccurate,” and that he possesses only “slender information,” because they have “been absolutely contradicted by the officers charged with the investigation.” Why! these are the very persons whose whole conduct and proceedings in reference to the Waitara purchase have been impugned. Anything more absurd, except on the hypothesis of the absolute infallibility of these officials, can scarcely be conceived; and, if that is the assumption, it might as well have been broadly asserted from the beginning. What “the proved facts of the case” are, or where they are to be found, would, I fear, puzzle Mr. Richmond to show.
It will be seen that not a single statement made by the Rev. Riwai Te Ahu has been in any degree invalidated by Mr. Richmond's rash counter statements.
Sir,your obedient servant,