An Epitome of the Early History of New Zealand, from the Date of its Discovery to the Promulgation of the Constitution Act, in January, 1853.
This question is, however, of little importance, since it is generally acknowledged that the first authentic information made public concerning it was derived from the famous voyage of discovery, undertaken by Tasman, in 1642, by the direction of the Dutch East India Company. About this time an idea prevailed among the Batavian traders that a vast continent—a terra incognita—existed somewhere near the South Pole, and as a good deal of interest was taken in the matter, an expedition was fitted out for the purpose of discovering where the unknown land lay, the command of which was given to Abel Jansen Tasman.
Tasman left Batavia with two ships in 1642; and, after discovering the southern part of what is now known as Van Dieman's Land, he voyaged onwards in an easterly direction, in the hope of making further discoveries, and on the 18th December, of the same year, anchored in a bay in the Middle Island of New Zealand. In consequence of the inclemency of the weather, and the hostility evinced by the natives, Tasman was deterred from pursuing his explorations in this locality, and, on three of his boat's crew being killed by the natives, he named the scene of this disaster Moordenaers' (Murderers') Bay, now known as Massacre Bay, in the Nelson Province.
After leaving Massacre Bay, Tasman coasted along the western shores of the North Island, discovering a cluster of islands beyond its northern extremity, which he named Drei Konige, or Three Kings. The north-western extreme of the North Island he called Cape Maria Van Dieman, after the daughter of the Governor of Batavia; and, after a short stay on the coast, he quitted New Zealand, without having set foot on its shores.
On his return to Batavia, in communicating the results of his expedition, he speaks of the land which he had discovered as being probably a portion of the great southern continent, the existence of which was then a prevailing opinion amongst geographers, and a small portion of its extreme outline Le Maire and Schouten were supposed to have sighted in 1614. Believing, therefore, the shores explored during his recent voyage to adjoin the coast previously discovered, and called Staaten Land, Tasman applied the same name to his own discoveries; but a few months after his return, Heindric Brouwer having ascertained that the Staaten Land of Le Maire and Schouten was merely an island of inconsiderable size (off Terra del Fuego), the designation of Nova Zealandia was given by Tasman to the new found territory.
Tasman did not re-visit New Zealand; and from the date of his voyage to the year 1769, no account exists of any vessel having sighted its shores.page 2
At this time an expadition was projected for the purpose of noting a phenomenon of great importance to navigation, which was confidently hoped would answer the double object of solving a geographical as well as an astronomical problem.
In 1767, the Royal Society resolved that it would be proper to send duly qualified persons into some part of the South Sea, to observe the transit of Venus over the sun's disk, which it was calculated would happen in the year 1769; but having no means of defraying the expenses of such an expedition, they communicated their resolution to his Majesty, requesting his aid in carrying it into execution.
This led to the fitting out of a strong barque of 370 tons, possessing the necessary qualifications for an undertaking of the kind. She was named the Endeavour, and the command of her given to Lieutenant Cook, who was considered specially qualified for the service, having previously distinguished himself in Canada, and while engaged in surveying the coast of Newfoundland.
The island of Tahiti which had then been recently discovered by Captain Wallis, and called by him George the Third's Island, was deemed the fittest place for the observation. On its conclusion, Captain Cook was instructed to explore the South Pacific Ocean as far as 40° latitude, and if he found no land to proceed westward between 40° and 35° latitude, until he fell in with New Zealand, which he was directed to examine.
The Endeavour sailed from Plymouth, on the 26th August, 1768, and on the 13th of April, 1769, anchored at Tahiti. An observatory, with a small fort for its protection, was erected on the shore in 17deg. 29min. 15sec. South latitude, and 149deg. 32min. 30sec. West longitude; and on the 3rd of June, the whole passage of the planet over the sun's disk was observed to great advantage, the sky being cloudless from sunrise to sunset. The first appearance of Venus on the sun was perceived at 9 hours 25 minutes 42 seconds a.m., and at 3 hours 32 minutes 10 seconds p.m., the planet had completed its long looked for transit.
This primary duty being satisfactorily accomplished, Cook proceeded to carry out the remainder of his instructions. After leaving Tahiti he discovered the Society Islands, and then sailed to the southward. On the 6th of October, 1769, land was seen from the masthead, and the following day four or five ranges of hills rising one above the other, with a chain of mountains towering above all were distinctly perceptible.
On the 8th of October, at 4 p.m., Captain Cook cast anchor in the Bay of Turanga (Auckland Province), and in the evening went on shore accompanied by some of his party. After some days spent in vainly attempting to conciliate the natives, during which several encounters with them took place, he left this locality, which he named Poverty Bay, and sailed to the southward as far as Cape Kidnapper; from there he changed his direction and sailed to the northward landing at Mercury Bay, to observe the transit of the planet Mercury, then rounding the North Cape, he proceeded down the western shores of the North Island, sighting Taranaki on his way, which he named Mount Egmont; sailing through the Strait distinguished by his name, he touched at Queen Charlotte Sound, at which place he took possession of the country in the name of his Sovereign, a ceremony he had previously performed at several other places in the North Island.
From Queen Charlotte Sound, he followed down the eastern coasts of the Middle and Southern Islands, without discovering the channel by which they are separated, turned the South Cape, and traced the opposite shores back to Cook's Strait, giving to the north-west extremity of the Middle Island the name of Cape Farewell; he took his departure from thence for England on the 31st March, 1770.
The insularity of the South, or Stewart's Island, was discovered in 1808 by a sealer, whose name it now bears.
Between 1769 and 1777, Cook visited New Zealand five times, and at each visit introduced several useful plants and animals.
New Zealand remained unvisited by any European ships from 1777 to 1791, when Captain Vancouver touched at Dusky Bay, while engaged on an expedition to survey and explore the north-west coast of America. About this time also an intercourse sprang up with the newly formed British settlement at Sydney Cove, and various whaling and sealing ships began shortly after to frequent these shores.
As early as 1793, the whaling ships of different nations began to touch on the coast. Their intercourse with the natives was marked by great cruelty and injustice on the one part, great treachery and dishonesty on the other, and a revolting bloodthirstiness and strong spirit of revenge on both sides. Excepting in the sole instance of an English sailor, the only survivor of a shipwrecked crew, who lived for some years among the natives, about the page 3year 1807, there is no record of other white men having lived on shore between the years 1793 and 1814.
Governor Macquarie also took steps for the protection of the natives against the frequent depredations committed by the masters and seamen of whaling vessels, by appointing Mr. Kendall, who was then proceeding to New Zealand to take charge of the Mission station about being established there, to act as a magistrate in conjunction with two of the native chiefs, who were then on a visit to Sydney. By a proclamation issued at the same time (9th November, 1814), his Excellency prohibited the removal of any natives from New Zealand, without the express permission of the native chiefs, within whose territory the natives, so to be embarked, happened to reside; such permission to be certified under the hand of Mr. Kendall, the Resident Magistrate. By the same proclamation it was also declared unlawful for any commander to land any person in New Zealand, without the permission of the chiefs, and confirmed by the Resident Magistrate.
Such was the commencement of British authority in New Zealand, induced by no lust of territorial power, and no thirst for conquest, but simply by a desire to protect the people from aggression, and at the same time to confer a public sanction on the proceedings of the missionaries, who as messengers of the gospel, were about founding their homes on its shores.
All over New Zealand the irregular settlement of Europeans which was then making rapid progress, led to numerous instances of crime, for which no punishment could be inflicted. In addition to the spectacle of savage warfare in its most destructive excess, the country exhibited that of perfect anarchy as respects the European settlers.
The missionaries, in the meanwhile, watched with anxiety the unhappy state of affairs then prevailing; feeling that if some steps were not speedily taken, a serious collision would, in all probability, ensue, which would probably terminate in the extermination, or at least expulsion, of one party or the other.
Desirous of maintaining the chiefs and their tribes as an independent people, and fearing that France (whose vessels were frequently hovering about the coast), or some other foreign power might assume the sovereignty of the islands, they beheld with deep regret the intestine warfare, then thinning the ranks of the aborigines, and rendering them less and less able to resist external aggression.
Representations were also forwarded at the same time from the Governor of New South Wales, suggesting the appointment of a person in the character of British resident at New Zealand.
The resident was placed on the civil list of New South Wales; his salary of £500 a year, and an annual allowance of £200 for disbursements to the natives, being provided from the resources of that Colony.
He was also made the bearer of the royal answer to the address transmitted to England, on behalf of the native chiefs. In the reply, dated 14th June, 1832, Lord Goderich in the name of King William IV., expressed his Majesty's sorrow for the injuries which the New Zealanders had sustained from some of his subjects, and expressed his determination to do all in his power to prevent the recurrence of such outrages.
This letter and various presents from the King were presented to the assembled chiefs, by Mr. Busby on his arrival in the Colony, in May 1833.
Lieutenant McDonnell was also appointed in 1835, to be a temporary British resident in Hokianga, with similar instructions to those of Mr. Busby.
During the years immediately following the appointment of the Resident, the wars of the natives continued with all the aggravation of destructiveness occasioned by the use of firearms; outrages were committed by the white settlers upon each other, and upon the natives, and by the natives upon them. European vices and diseases spread among the diminished native population, and according to the testimony of every eye-witness who has given evidence on the subject, including that of the most intelligent of the missionaries, the number of the aborigines visibly decreased.
On receipt of this document, Mr. Busby issued an official address to his countrymen in New Zealand, dated Bay of Islands, 10th October, 1835, wherein he informed them of the purport of the Baron's communication, and, after adverting to the elaborate exposition of the views of the said Baron, he stated his intention of taking immediate steps for calling together the native chiefs, in order to inform them of this proposed attempt on their independence.
A week after the issue of the above address by Mr. Busby, thirty-five chiefs residing in the northern portion of New Zealand; were induced to sign a paper, by which they declared the Independence of the whole of New Zealand as one nation, formed themselves into an independent state, with the title of "the United Tribes of New Zealand," agreed to meet in Congress for the purpose of framing laws for the dispensation of justice, and other ends, and invited the southern tribes to join the "Confederation of the United Tribes."
The new Government was found so unreal, that no meeting of the Confederate chiefs ever took place; nor was either the Confederation, or the declaration of independence, or the national flag ever known to any natives out of the district in which they originated.
The chiefs laughed at his "sovereign rights and powers," and disavowed his territorial claims on various grounds. Ultimately, a limited grant was made to De Thierry, by Nene (one of the chiefs of whom the extensive purchase above referred to was stated to have been made), and his tribe; and there the Baron eventually settled down, with no other retainers, than his immediate family; the sixty persons who had accompanied him from Sydney having returned thither, or sought employment elsewhere, on finding the utter fallacy of the expectations which he had led them to entertain. Of these some were supported solely by the charity of the missionaries.
In the same year a Committee of the House of Commons, on aborigines, set before the British public, in a form to make a deep impression, a grievous picture of the state of things in New Zealand.
In the month of May, 1837; Sir Richard Bourke while awaiting the receipt of a promised parliamentary enactment relative to these Islands, heard that a war had broken out between two tribes in the vicinity of the Bay of Islands, by which the safety of the British inhabitants, and of the shipping, was endangered. He accordingly despatched Captain Hobson, then commanding H.M.S. Rattlesnake, for their protection, at the same time desiring him to report hi opinion on the present state of New Zealand, and the means of protecting with the least possible overt interference the common interests of the natives and of the British settled amongst them. In compliance with this request, Captain Hobson in an able document, dated August, 1837, after adverting to the decrease of the natives and the simultaneous increase of the British subjects, he speaks of the latter as every day acquiring considerable possessions of land, and suggests that certain remedial action should be taken to avert the disastrous consequences likely to ensue from the conduct of many of the Europeans, towards the natives.page 5
Shortly after the formation of the Provisional Government of Kororarika, steps were taken by her Majesty's ministers for the establishment of some competent authority within the islands of New Zealand.
Early in 1838, a Select Committee of the House of Lords was, on the motion of Lord Devon, appointed to inquire into the state of New Zealand, and collected a mass of information which But too fully confirmed previous representations of the deplorable condition of the islands, and further exposed the necessity of subjecting the materials of disorder to the restraints of law.
These propositions were assented to by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and by the Lords of the Treasury, on the express condition that the annexation of any part of New Zealand, or any assumption of authority beyond that attaching to a British Consulate should be strictly contingent upon the indispensable preliminary of the territorial cession having been obtained by amicable negotiations with, and free concurrence of, the native chiefs. (Parliamentary Papers of 8th April, 1840, p. 34.)
Lord Normanby remarks, "I have already stated that we acknowledge New Zealand as a sovereign and independent state, so far at least as it is possible to make this acknowledgment in favor of a people composed of numerous dispersed, and petty tribes, who possess few political relations to each other, and are incompetent to act or even to deliberate in concert. But the administration of their rights, though inevitably qualified by this consideration, is binding on the faith of the British Crown. The Queen, in common with her Majesty's immediate predecessor, disclaims for herself and for her subjects, every pretension to seize on the islands of New Zealand, or to govern them as a part of the dominion of Great Britain, unless the free and intelligent consent of the natives, expressed according to their established usages, shall be first obtained. Believing, however, that their own welfare would, under the circumstances I have mentioned, be best promoted by the surrender to her Majesty of a right so precarious, and little more than nominal; and persuaded, that the benefits of British protection, and of laws administered by British judges, would far more than compensate for the sacrifice by the natives of a national independence, which they are no longer able to maintain, her Majesty's Government have resolved to authorise you to treat with the aborigines of New Zealand, for the recognition of her Majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any parts of those islands which they may be willing to place under her Majesty's dominion. It is not however, to the mere recognition of the sovereign authority of the Queen that your endeavours are to be confined, or your negotiation directed. It is further necessary that the chiefs should be induced, if possible, to contract with you as representing her Majesty, that henceforward no lands shall be ceded, either gratuitously or otherwise, except to the Crown of Great Britain."
Captain Hobson was farther directed to announce immediately on his arrival in New Zealand, "that her Majesty would not acknowledge as valid any title to land which is not page 6either derived from or confirmed by a grant to be made in her Majesty's name, and on her behalf."
With regard to the conduct to be maintained towards the aborigines, in dealing with them for their lands, Lord Normanby enjoins not merely the observance of the principles of sincerity, justice, and good faith, but adds:—"Nor is this all. They must not be permitted to enter into any contracts in which they might be the ignorant, and unintentional authors of injuries to themselves. You will not, for example, purchase from any territory, the retention of which by them would be essential or highly conducive to their own comforts, safety, or subsistence. The acquisition of land by the Crown for the future settlement of British subjects, must be confined to such districts as the natives can alienate, without distress or serious inconvenience to themselves. To secure the observance of this, will be one of the first duties of their official protector."
At a meeting of the settlers on the following day, two commissions were read, one under the Great Seal, extending the limits of New South Wales to include New Zealand; the other under the Royal signet, appointing Captain Hobson Lieutenant-Governor over such portions of New Zealand, as shall hereafter be added to her Majesty's dominions. Two proclamations, framed by Sir George Gipps, were afterwards promulgated, the first asserted her Majesty's authority over all British subjects in New Zealand, and the second announced the illegality of any title to land not confirmed by the Crown.
As the work would admit of no delay, an assembly of the natives was convened five days after his arrival for the purpose of laying the question before them. The spot chosen for the conference was where the Waitangi river falls into the sea, there, on the 5th of February, a large number of chiefs, with their followers, were gathered together.
After the treaty had been read aloud and explained to the assembled natives, Captain Hobson invited the chiefs to ask explanations on any point they did not comprehend. Whereupon twenty or thirty addressed the meeting, and opposed the proposition with great violence, with such effect and so cleverly that an unfavorable termination of the conference was anticipated. At this critical juncture the celebrated Waka Nene, who afterwards proved such a staunch ally to the Government, arrived with some Hokianga chiefs, and addressed the meeting, completely turning the tide of feeling among the natives. He called to the minds of his countrymen their degraded position before the arrival of white men among them; told them they could not govern themselves without bloodshed; besought them to place confidence in Captain Hobson's promises, and acknowledge the Queen of England as their sovereign by signing the treaty.
As the debate had produced much excitement, twenty-four hours were given for deliberation. The next day, without further discussion, forty-six chiefs signed the treaty in the presence of a large concourse of natives.
From Waitangi the treaty was taken about the country by missionaries and Government agents for signature. Captain Hobson took it in person to Hokianga, and up the River Thames. Other emissaries were dispatched with it to the eastern and western coasts of the North Island, to Cook's Strait, Stewart's Island, and the Middle Island. Before the end of June, 512 signatures had been obtained to it.
The interpretation placed on the Treaty of Waitangi by the natives was, that the shadow of the land was to go to Queen Victoria, the substance to remain with them. The principal chiefs of the Middle Island were like those of the Northern, most pertinacious in their inquiries as to whether the document which they were requested to confirm would give any right to the Crown to deprive than of their lands. Some were even averse to receiving presents after signing it, lest they should give encouragement to any such pretension.
Many different opinions were entertained concerning the measures that led to, and terminated in the treaty of Waitangi, some parties considering them to have been injudicious and uncalled for, because New Zealand before the conclusion of that treaty was already a British dependency. This view of the case is supported on the following ground, viz., that Captain Cook the first European who set foot on its shores, took possession of both islands in 1769, with the customary formalities; that consequently, when the Colony of New South Wales was formed, New Zealand was included within the jurisdiction of Captain Philip, its earliest Governor; that in 1814, and in 1819, Governor Macquarie claimed and exercised authority there by appointing Magistrates, and that in 1882, a British resident was page 7stationed at the Bay of Islands. The recognition by the British Government of the registers of vessels belonging to New Zealand, and of a distinctive flag, is asserted to be no more than had been previously done in the case of British possessions, and with regard to the Declaration of Independence in 1835, the remark of Sir George Gipps is cited, that it was simply "a paper pellet fired off by Mr. Busby at the Baron de Thierry."
On the other hand, it is contested that the rights of the Crown in New Zealand,—at least so far as the two principal islands are concerned,—rest solely on the treaty of Waitangi.
The chief arguments used to enforce this opinion will be found succinctly stated in a memorandum transmitted by Lord John Russell, to Viscount Palmerston, bearing date 18th of March, 1840. It is there stated "that the British Statute Book has in three distinct enactments, declared that New Zealand is not a part of the British dominions; and, secondly, that King William IV, made the most public, solemn and authentic declaration which it was possible to make, that New Zealand was a substantive and independent state," by accrediting Mr. Busby to the chiefs in a letter addressed to them as heads of an independent people, and still more by formally and practically acknowledging their national flag, and giving effect to the registers of their vessels. With regard to the right acquired by the proceedings of Captain Cook, it has been urged, not only that it was, at the utmost "a right inchoative, good as against third parties, but not as against the native owners of the soil," but that even if England had thereby become possessed of any kind or degree of dominion over these islands, such assumption had been wholly annulled and abrogated by the subsequent unqualified admission of the national independence of New Zealand.
The Legislative Council was to consist of not less than six persons, nominated by the Crown, and holding office during its pleasure, with power to make laws and ordinances for the Colony, conformable to instructions from the Queen in Council; the Executive Council to be composed of three of the principal members of the Government, to assist and advise the Governor, who was to be nominated by the Crown. The first meeting of the Council was held at Auckland, in May, 1841.
Captain Hobson was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the new Colony, and instructions were issued under the Royal sign manual, dated the 5th of December, 1840, prescribing his powers and duties, and those of the Legislative Council.
In 1825, a Commercial Company was formed in London, under the auspices of the late Earl of Durham, which despatched two vessels to New Zealand, and acquired land at Herd's Point, in the Hokianga river, and also at the mouth of the River Thames. The land was purchased by a Captain Herd, in 1826-27. The Company, however, was prevented by circumstances from pursuing its intentions of forming a settlement, and the land in course of time became the property of the New Zealand Company of 1839.
The Imperial Government were at first inclined to favor the Association, but after some time, a legal difficulty caused the Ministers to oppose it. The Association, the Secretary of State said, was not a company trading for profit but, on the condition of it becoming such a Charter would be offered to it.
This the Association declined to accept on the ground that its members, had invariably and publicly disclaimed all views of pecuniary speculation or interest, and were thereby, as well as by a continued disinclination to acquire any private concern in the national work which they sought to promote, entirely precluded from assenting to the proposed condition of raising a Joint Stock Capital.
The Association then changed its plan and attempted to form a Colony by another method. In June, 1838, Mr. Francis Baring introduced a Bill into Parliament, which embodied the views of the Association, as modified by the suggestions they had received from Lord Melbourne and Lord Howick.
The Bill was opposed by her Majesty's Ministers for many reasons, and the House of Commons concurring in their opinion the Bill was thrown out by a large majority.
On the rejection of the Bill, the New Zealand Association dissolved itself, but shortly reappeared under a somewhat altered form and denomination. Among the body of intending colonists which had been collected by the Association, were several gentlemen who had disposed of property, and abandoned professions with a view to emigrating. These gentlemen, after the defeat of Mr. Baring's Bill, determined to act upon Lord Glenelg's proposal of a charter, and formed themselves into a Joint Stock Association, which they at first designated the New Zealand Colonisation Company, afterwards the New Zealand Land Company, and eventually the New Zealand Company. On the 2nd May, 1839, the Company issued a prospectus. Capital £400,000 in 4000 shares of £100 each; deposit £10 per share. This was subsequently reduced to £100,000 in 4000 shares of £25 each. Governor, the Earl of Durham; Deputy-Governor, Mr. Joseph Somes; and a directory consisting of Lord Petre, Sir George Sinclair, Mp., and Sir Henry Webb, baronets, Colonel Torrens, Aldermen Thompson, M.P., and Pirie, Messrs. John Abel Smith, W. Hutt, M.P., G. Palmer, M.P., George F. Young, Russell Ellice, Stewart Majoribanks, and several other gentlemen of high standing.
It was soon ascertained that her Majesty's Ministers were as much opposed to the New Zealand Company as to the Association, and the directors, knowing from past experience that it was impossible to move the Colonial Office, determined to consider New Zealand a foreign country, and to establish settlements in it without the Crown's permission. With this view they resolved to send an expedition to New Zealand under the direction of an agent, for the purpose of acquiring land from the natives. This charge was confided to Colonel William Wakefield, with instructions to select the spot which he should deem most eligible as the site of a considerable Colony, and to make preparations for the arrival and settlement of the emigrants.
On the 12th May, 1839, before the directors had divulged their scheme to the public, the ship Tory, 400 tons burthen, sailed for New Zealand, having on board Colonel Wakefield, the Company's chief agent; Mr. Edward Jerningham Wakefield; Dr. Diffenbach, a a naturalist; Mr. Heaphy, a draughtsman; Mr. Dorset, a surgeon; and a New Zealander, named Ngati, who had been living in England some time with Mr. E. J. Wakefield. Two days after the ship was clear of England's shores, the directors announced that the Company was formed to purchase land in New Zealand, promote emigration, lay out settlements, re-sell such lands according to the value bestowed on them by emigration, and with the surplus money give free passages to skilled tradesmen and agricultural laborers.
The Colonial Office was completely surprised at this energetic step. An explanation, and an account of the whole affair, were immediately demanded by the Secretary of State, and Lord John Russell informed the directors that the instructions sent out for the government of the emigrants, and the entire expedition were illegal, because no body of Englishmen could form a Colony in any country without the consent of the Crown. After a considerable display of wordy resistance, the directors admitted their mistake, asked for a favourable construction of their motives, and put themselves under the protection of her Majesty's Ministers.
On the 16th September, before hearing of the proceedings of the preliminary expedition, the first body of the Company's emigrants sailed from Gravesend in three ships, a rendezvous having been appointed with Colonel Wakefield for the 10th January, 1840, at Port Hardy, in Cook's Strait, a known good harbour.
Colonel Wakefield on his arrival in New Zealand, in August, 1839, was induced to select Cook's Strait as the scene of the Company's operations, partly by the superior eligibility of this district, and partly by its remoteness from the irregular settlements in the North. He found the natives attaching little value to their lands, and anxious to procure a share in the advantage which the Northern tribes had derived from traffic with the whites who had settled amongst them. After deliberate and protracted negotiations with the natives, interrupted occasionally by the waywardness of some of the chiefs, and the jealousies which Sydney land speculators, whalers, and others, had instilled, Colonel Wakefield obtained a page 9formal cession, signed by a number of the principal chiefs, of their rights to the land on both sides of Cook's Strait, as far north as a line drawn from Point Turnagain on the East Coast to Kawhia on the West, and as far South as the 43rd parallel of South latitude.
On the the 30th September, the Company's agent took formal possession of Port Nicholson under a royal salute, and the New Zealand flag was hoisted at a spot where an immense flagstaff had been erected, and at the main of the ship simultaneously. The event was celebrated by a war dance, and the whole assemblage partook of an ample meal provided for the occasion by the natives.
The emigrants, who sailed from Gravesend in September, 1839, arrived at Port Nicholson on the 22nd January, 1840, and before the end of the year, 1200 settlers had disembarked. The Company's pioneers were surprised at the civilization of the aborigines, and bore testimony against previous adverse opinions as to the benefits conferred on the New Zealanders by the irregular settlement of white men in the country. The natives, on their part, were astounded at the sight of so many Europeans, and inquired if the whole tribe, meaning all the people of England, had come to New Zealand?
On the 1st June, 1839, the Company issued proposals for the sale of nine-tenths of a township of 110,000 acres, in lots of 101 acres for £100 per lot, each lot comprising 100 acres of country land, and one town section. 75 percent of the purchase money was to be employed in emigration, and 25 percent in defraying the expenses of the survey, and to furnish a profit upon the capital invested. One-tenth of the land offered for sale was to be reserved for the benefit of the natives, priority of choice for the whole of the sections to be decided by lottery. In consequence of the rapid sale of the land comprised in the preliminary sales, the directors issued another prospectus on the 30th July, 1839, announcing their readiness to receive applications for country lands to the extent of 50,000 acres in sections of 100 acres, at the price of £100 per section, or £1 an acre, the whole amount to be paid in full, in exchange for a land order.
At the entrance to the Valley of the Hutt, Colonel Wakefield laid the foundation of a town, which was named Britannia, the choice, however, proved to be injudicious both from the nature of the ground, and the violence of the surf, which was so great that lives were lost in attempting to land. A public meeting was consequently held in March, 1840, and the removal of the town to Lambton Harbour on the opposite side of the bay was determined upon.
Numerous opinions were entertained regarding the intention of France to found a Colony in New Zealand. The circumstance that led to the emigration of a small body of French Colonists to New Zealand are as follows:—The master of a French whaler Langlois by name, who had been engaged with others of his countrymen in sealing and fishing on the shores of New Zealand, on his return to France professed to have purchased a large portion of Banks' Peninsula in the Middle Island from the native chiefs. This led to the formation of an Association under the denomination of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, who despatched a vessel with thirty men, eleven women, and sixteen children to Akaroa, with the exception of M. de Beligny, a botanist and mineralogist from the Jardin de Plantes of Paris, the emigrants were all of the lower order.
A few days before the Comte de Parish, having on board the emigrants, arrived at her destination, H.M.S. Britomart, Captain Stanley arrived at Akaroa under orders from Lieutenant Governor Hobson, with two Police Magistrates, and visited the only two parts of the bay where there were houses. The British flag was hoisted, and a Magisterial Court page 10held, and the sovereignty and occupancy of Britain formally proclaimed, before the arrival of either the French frigate L'Aube or the Comte de Paris with the emigrants.
Captain Stanley explained the state of affairs to the French commander on his arrival, who on his part declared that nothing hostile to the British Government should be done by the emigrants, and that until fresh instructions were received from the respective Governments of England and France, they should merely build themselves houses for shelter and clear what little land they might require for gardens.
Mr. Robinson one of the Magistrates who accompanied Captain Stanley remained at Akaroa, and accepted the offer of a cabin on board the L'Aube while she remained at that place. The Britomart after visiting Pigeon Bay, sailed for the North on the 27th August, 1840.
The circumstances above narrated appear to be the only evidence of the intention of France to colonize New Zealand.
Arrangements were subsequently made by the Imperial Government to grant the French Company 30,000 acres in the neighborhood of Akaroa; but before the preliminaries were finally settled the New Zealand Company purchased the whole of their claim for £4,500.
The early settlers fared no better than those at Wellington. On arriving at Wanganui they took possession of land pointed out as their own by the Company's agent, but the natives would not allow them to take occupation. To prevent bloodshed the Governor appointed a Police Magistrate to reside there, and cautioned the people from settling on land under Company's orders.
A town was ultimately laid out about four miles up the river on its western bank, but the early settlers had to undergo many vicissitudes, in consequence of the unsettled state of the native population in its neighborhood, which led in 1847 to the partial abandonment of the settlement.
A belt of land round the town containing 10,450 acres exclusive of roads, was to be divided into 209 suburban sections of fifty acres each, nineteen of which were likewise to be reserved for the natives. The land outside this suburban belt was to comprise 57,500 acres to be divided into rural sections of fifty acres each, and leased or sold.
In August, 1840, Mr. F. A. Carrington was sent out to fix the site of the projected settlement. He examined the entire coast line of the country between Capes Farewell and Campbell (including the tract where the Nelson settlement was afterwards placed), and finally selected a portion of the district about Taranaki (Mount Egmont), and the Waitara, on the West and South-west part of the Northern Island, as best adapted for an agricultural settlement.
In February, 1841, the surveys were commenced under circumstances of considerable difficulty, the natives doing all in their power to oppose their progress.
In the following month the first detachment of emigrants, called the pioneer expedition, (144 in number), arrived at Taranaki, or New Plymouth, and were joined by the main body of settlers on the 3rd of September, 1811. Lots for order of choice were then drawn, but no reservation was made for the natives. Another selection of rural lands was made in June, 1842; but again no sections were set aside to the natives, notwithstanding the remonstrances of Mr Carrington, who urged upon the representatives of the Company, the agents, and the land owners, that unless some spots were left for the natives on the rivers Waitara and Waiongona, the settlers would not be suffered to occupy their allotments.
In June, 1844, Mr. Spain, Her Majesty's Commissioner of Land Claims, examined into the Company's title, as derived from their original purchase of the district in February, 1840. He reported immediately and without hesitation, in favor of the Company's right to a Crown grant of 60,000 acres at the spot selected by them for a settlement, but this award was set aside by Governor FitzRoy, who declared his intention of so doing in August of that year, and in November restricted the settlers to a block of 3,500 acres immediately around the town, giving up the rest to the natives. In consequence of this arrangement the original scheme of the settlement was entirely upset.
In January, 1845, a Crown grant of the restricted quantity was offered to the principal agent of the New Zealand Company and refused. The question was subsequently arranged page 11 by Governor Grey by the purchase of an additional block of land from the natives, sufficient to satisfy all the requirements of the settlement at the time.
The first sale of Crown lands took place at Auckland in April, 1841. It was advertised for several months in New South Wales, and attracted a large amount of speculation. In September of the same year, another sale of suburban land and small farms was held, but this auction was not so productive as the first.
These sales were made under the sign manual, dated 1840, which directed all Crown lands in New Zealand to be sold at a uniform price. After, this date, the Australian Land Sales Act was introduced, by which all lands were sold by auction, at an upset price of not less than £1 an acre, half the proceeds to be applied to public purposes, and the other half to promote emigration. By a subsequent Act, New Zealand was exempted from the Australian Act, and the Crown's power over the waste lands restored.
The New Zealand Company on being appealed to by the Church Society for assistance during the early stage of the proceedings to obviate any difficulty that might arise in regard to a sufficient endowment for the purpose, not only expressed themselves favourable to the design, but also voted considerable grants of money and land towards the accomplishment of the object.
The Company also added a quantity equal to one-tenth of the settlement as native reserves, so that the whole land to be appropriated was 221,100 acres, and the town was 1,100 acres exclusive of public reserves. The Company had also a right of purchasing 100 page 12allotments for its own benefit, at the same price and subject to the same terms in every respect as other purchasers. One half of the sum realised was to be devoted to emigration, out of which £20,000 was to be reserved as a special fund for making allowances of passage money to purchasers and their families, according to the discretion of the directors, two-sixths to defray the Company's expenses, &c., and one-sixth was to be held in trust for the purpose of rendering the settlement attractive. This last appropriation gave origin to the Nelson Educational Fund.
The preliminary expedition for the formation of the settlement sailed from London in April, 1841. It consisted of two vessels, the Whitby and the Will Watch. The charge of the expedition was confided to the care of Captain Arthur Wakefield, who was appointed resident agent for the new settlement. Both ships, after a protracted passage, arrived at Wellington in September of the same year. Governor Hobson met the emigrants there, and on being applied to by the principal agent of the Company to point out a district suitable for the proposed settlement, he invited the agents to examine three districts in the North Island, any of which he engaged to put them in possession of,—at Mahurangi, the River Thames, or in the Waipa. The Company's agents, however, objected to these sites for several reasons, and specified Port Cooper, Banks' Peninsula, to be the site which they required for the purpose.
The Governor refused his consent to the settlement being formed at Port Cooper, or anywhere in the Middle Island; but, after some delay, it was eventually arranged to form it on the shores of Blind Bay, and accordingly the preliminary expedition set sail from Wellington, in October, 1841, for this purpose, having on board Captain Wakefield the resident agent, Mr. Tuckett the chief surveyor, and a staff of assistants and labourers. On quitting Port Nicholson, the vessels were compelled by the wind to approach near the opposite shore of Cloudy Bay, and from each was observed, with no little surprise, the extensive plain of the Wairau, and the grassy hills to the East.
After looking about the entrance of Queen Charlotte Sound for an available site, the expedition called at Kapiti, to acquaint Rauparaha and the principal chiefs resident there, of the intention to found a settlement in Blind Bay. Sailing from Kapiti, the ships proceeded to Astrolabe Roads, where having anchored, three exploring parties were despatched in different directions to search for available country, and also for an available port. On the return of two of the exploring parties to Astrelabe, the leaders, Messrs. Heaphy and Moore, reported the discovery of sufficient available land for a settlement. This decided Captain Wakefield upon having arrangements made (much against the wishes of the chief surveyor, who had returned in the meantime with the intelligence that the land seen by himself and others was insufficient for the requirements of the settlement) to survey a site for the future town at Kaiteretere, extending along shore to the mouth of the Riwaka Valley.
While the survey of the town was being proceeded with, a boat was dispatched to the south-eastern shore of Blind Bay, to ascertain if any port existed. This led to the discovery of the harbour of Wakatu, or Nelson as it was afterwards called. On the news of the discovery being conveyed to Astrolabe, the survey of the town site at Kaiteretere was abandoned, and the whole party re-embarked for the present site of Nelson.
Immediately after their arrival, the survey of a site for the projected settlement was commenced, and carried forward with energy and rapidity.
The chief surveyor, although satisfied with the port of Wakatu and the land contiguous to it as a site merely for a town, felt desirous of making further explorations; but as there was little time to spare to make further research, in consequence of the immigrants being then on their way out from England for whose establishment preparations were necessary to be made, Captain Wakefield determined upon planting the settlement in Blind Bay; and Wakatu, with the surrounding country, comprising the districts of Waimea, Moutere, Motueka, and Massacre Bay, was therefore chosen, as being the best site on its shores.
The chief surveyor, Mr. Tucket, on visiting the district, reported favourably of its capabilities for affording the number of sections required to complete the settlement, and preparations were made to have the country surveyed.
As soon as the intelligence reached the natives on the northern shores of Cook's Strait that the Wairau was being explored for the purpose of settlement, Rauparaha, accompanied by two other chiefs, Te Hiko and Rangihaeata, crossed over to Nelson, and had an interview with the resident agent, whereupon Rauparaha informed Captain Wakefield that having heard that persons had gone from Nelson to the Wairau with the intention of surveying the land, he had come to inform the agent that they must not go there, as he had not sold the district to the New Zealand Company, and was not then disposed to do so; but, if he should, the payment must be great.
In reply to Rauparaha's remarks, the resident agent claimed the Wairau by virtue of the purchase made by the principal agent from the natives, and informed him that the survey must be proceeded with.
Rangihaeata repudiated the sale, and cautioned any person from going there, or they would meet with violence. Rauparaha, although quieter in his demeanor, entreated the surveyors not to persist in going to the Wairau, and requested the agent to refer the claim to the decision of the Government Commissioner, Mr. Spain. The agent, however, refused page 13to recognize the Commissioner's jurisdiction over the Company's claims, and determined to proceed with the work, feeling confident in the justice of the purchase of the district made by the principal agent. Besides the payment made to the natives for the land the Company had also to purchase the interest of the widow of a Captain Bleakinsop, who claimed to have made a prior purchase of the district.
This unfortunate persistence to survey the district in opposition to the threats of the natives led to a serious affray with them in June, 1843, resulting in the loss of twenty-two of the Nelson settlers, among whom were Captain Wakefield, the Resident Agent, Mr. Thompson, the Police Magistrate, Captain England, a settler, Mr. Richardson, the Crown Prosecutor, and Mr. Howard, the Company's storekeeper. The unhappy affair occurred in endeavoring to execute a warrant on Rauparaha for arson,—for having, in opposing the prosecution of the survey, burnt down one of the survey huts,—and in the parley which ensued, a demonstration to seize Rauparaha led to a rush. A musket was fired (by accident), from the colonist's side. The natives returned the fire, and a running fight followed Captain Wakefield; perceiving that the lives of his party were endangered, determined to attempt a negotiation under a flag of truce, and the better to ensure their safety, that the natives might understand the intention, desired his men to disarm and lay down upon the ground. The natives then ceased firing, and as they came up, the Europeans delivered up their arms at Captain Wakefield's order.
Puaha, one of the native chiefs, endeavoured to make peace, and urged on his countrymen that enough blood had been shed; the number of killed on both sides being about equal. This was acceded to by Rauparaha, and the two parties shook hands. Whilst standing quietly in a group they were joined by Rangihaeata, one of the principal leaders, who demanded the lives of those who had surrendered: To this Rauparaha at first objected, but on Rangihaeata calling on him not to forget his daughter (one of Rangihaeta's wives, who had been killed by a chance shot at the commencement of the affray), he offered no further opposition. Upon this, Rangihaeata put the whole of the unfortunate prisoners to death, in spite of the intercession of some of his party, who cried to him to save some of the rangatiras (gentlemen), if only to say they had saved some.
The first intelligence of the sad occurrence was conveyed to Wellington by the Colonial brig Victoria. A meeting of magistrates was immediately convened to concert measures for the relief of any parties that might be in the hands of the natives. In consequence of the boisterous state of the weather, the relief party were unable to cross the Straits for two or three days. In the meantime, most of the colonists who had escaped from the conflict had found their way to Port Underwood, some of whom had suffered much from wounds, and also from protracted hunger.
A magisterial inquiry was subsequently held into the causes that led to the unhappy affair, and steps were taken to inter the remains of those who had fallen. The bodies of the unfortunate slain were subsequently interred on a little knoll on the east bank of the tributary stream called the Tua Marina, near its confluence with the Wairau river, since denominated Massacre Hill, on which a monument has been erected to commemorate the sad event.
Great consternation prevailed at Nelson when the result of the expedition to the Wairau was made known, and considerable disorganization ensued amongst all classes.
It was not at Nelson only that the effects of the melancholy catastrophe were experienced. The shock it produced reverberated through the whole Colony, causing an estrangement between the two races, a condition of affairs but little calculated to strengthen the bonds of intercourse between them, or to promote the advancement of civilization. The first resolve of the natives after the Wairau massacre, was to conceal themselves till night, and under its shadow board the Colonial brig supposed by them to be at Port Underwood, kill all they found on board, and then massacre the whole of the Europeans in the Straits.
This sanguinary scheme was frustrated by the sailing of the brig for Wellington the evening of the day on which the massacre occurred. The natives afterwards fled in terror across the Straits, dreading the vengeance of the white men, and took up their position in a fortified pah beyond Porirua.
In July, 1843, immediately after the Wairau massacre, Lieutenant Shortland, the officer administering the Government after Captain Hobson's decease, issued a proclamation warning the settlers off all lands where the claim was disputed by the original native owners. In consequence of this, the Company's surveys were at once stopped, cultivation in a great measure ceased, and numerous labourers previously employed by private persons were thrown upon the settlement in a state of destitution.
Before the intelligence reached the Colony, Governor Hobson was deceased. He died at Auckland, in September, 1842; his demise being, without doubt, accelerated by the numerous and increasing difficulties of his position, and from the effects of a paralytic attack, from which he suffered shortly after his arrival
Shortly after the arrival of the new Governor Mr. Shortland resigned the position of Colonial Secretary, and Dr. Sinclair a surgeon in the Navy, who had accompanied Captain Fitzroy to explore the natural history of the country, was appointed in his stead; Mr. Shortland being shortly afterwards appointed by the Imperial Government to administer the Government of the Island of Nevis.
The Government declined to afford them any assistance, excepting on certain conditions, which the directors were not in a position to avail themselves of, and shortly afterwards were compelled to suspend their operations in consequence of their pecuniary difficulties.
The stoppage of the Company's works caused great depression in all their settlements, and in order to alleviate the state of affairs as much as possible, in the case of the labourers in the Nelson settlement, who had hitherto been employed in the works there, the resident agent, Mr. Fox, induced them to settle on the land, so that they might have some food of their own raising for subsistence; and, to afford them temporary relief while so employed, labour by piece-work was allotted them in forming roads near to such land. This description of employment however, soon ceased, and when that difficulty arose, a state of distress ensued almost impossible to describe. Food of every description became so scarce that seed potatoes which had been in the ground a fortnight were dug up to appease hunger. For months many never tasted bread, but were forced to eat wild greens, and in some instances rats to relieve the cravings of nature. Some of the emigrants found means of leaving the settllement, and many of those who remained were forced to abandon the land they had commenced cultivating, and go to work for these of the land purchasers who were able to employ them, at small wages, which, in many instances, had to be taken out in just such goods as the employers happened to possess, and at their own prices.
The complimentary addresses to the new Governor from the various settlements, all teemed with expressions of distress and dissatisfaction. The inhabitants of Auckland, after congratulating Governor FitzRoy on the safe arrival of himself and his family, gave a painful picture of the settlement, and adverted to "the bankruptcy of the local Government; the great amount of its debts in a community so small, with the vast amount of privation and misery necessarily occasioned; the suspension of the land sales, as well as of emigration; the total destruction of the once flourishing commerce of the country; the state of starvation in which many of the emigrants were existing, with the complete prostration of the energies of the settlers generally, and their desire to leave the Colony, unless an immediate change for the better could be brought about."
Among the causes for this state of things especially noticed, ware the non-settlement of the claims made by the old and original settlers, after the lapse of nearly four years, and the discontent widely spreading among the natives, with whom, the address goes on to state, "our relations, we believe, can never be placed upon a secure basis, until their full rights as British subjects are conceded to them; more particularly the power of solling their land to whom they please—a power which they ardently desire to possess, and which their intelligence, as well as their mutual rights gives them the strongest right to enjoy: "The restriction on trade by Custom-house regulations and duties, were bitterly complained of, and the want of punctuality in the payment of salaries and other pecuniary obligations due by the local Government, was adverted to as having occasioned much inconvenience and page 15loss of credit to individuals, and proved hurtful to the community generally. Another grievance was "the recent importation of juvenile delinquents from the penitentiary of Parkhurst."
The addresses from Wellington and New Plymouth, breathed the same sprit of depression, mingled with alarm at the tone and manner of the natives, in regard to the land claims.
In the Kororarika address, it is stated "the country has become beyond example one general scene of anxiety, distress, and rain, so that property has lost its value, personal security has been at stake, and happiness has almost ceased to exist." The causes named were, the unsettled state of the old claims, and the imposition of customs duties, which had driven away both native and European commerce, and destroyed all agricultural enterprise, together with the market for all sorts of produce.
Notwithstanding the pressure of business at Auckland, Governor FitzRoy felt the imperative necessity of hastening to the southern settlements to check the hostile feelings rapidly increasing between the two races, and effect if possible, an amicable adjustment of the New Zealand Company's claims to land in the neighborhood of Wellington. Amongst other things Governor FitzRoy was authorized to appoint some person to represent the Government in the neighborhood of Cook's Strait, with sufficient executive power to enable him to act upon any emergency, without the delay of a reference to the head of the local Government, and before leaving Wellington, the Governor in conformity with these instructions, appointed Major Richmond then Police Magistrate there, and formerly Government Resident at Paxo, in the Ionian Islands, to be Superintendent of the Southern Division, with a salary of £600 a year, the term division was chosen in preference to district as being more comprehensive, and included all the territory named in the Supreme Court Ordinance to which the appellation applied.
From Wellington, the Governor proceeded to Nelson to inquire into the Wairau conflict. His Excellency on reaching there publicly rebuked the magistrates who signed the warrant for Rauparaha and Rangihaeta's arrest, and stated that the warrant which led to the massacre was informal. This rebuke, coming from so high a functionary at a time when the colonists were mourning the death of their fellow-settlers, produced a deep sensation, and several magistrates immediately resigned their commissions.
Mr. George White, who had been appointed by Mr. Shortland to act provisionally at Nelson as Police Magistrate, after Mr. Thomson's death at the Wairau, having asked to be released from his duties, the appointment was conferred by the Governor on Mr. Donald Sinclair on the following day.
Governor FitzRoy called at Kapiti (Entry Island), on his way back from Nelson, and had an interview with Rauparaha concerning the Wairau conflict, at which his Excellency after hearing Rauparaha's statement of the causes that led to it, announced that there was no intention on the part of the local government to avenge the death of those who had fallen. Many opinions were expressed concerning the justice of this decision. But had the Governor yielded to the clamor of the settlers and proceeded to try the chiefs for the death of the unfortunate victims of this sad catastrophe, as was suggested, their apprehension— even supposing the English to have had the power to effect it—which they had not—would but have exasperated all parties yet more, and probably have led to most disastrous results.
The pacific and conciliatory policy adopted by the Governor to check the hostile feelings rapidly increasing between the two races in the Southern settlements, was, no doubt, the best course that could have been taken under circumstances, although the natives mistook if for cowardice. Not to avenge the dead according to their law, indicates the most craven spirit; and in all dealings with them it is necessary to take their own customs into consideration, when this can be accomplished without violating those of justice. This principle was unknown to Captain FitzRoy, otherwise be would have claimed the Wairau as compensation for the death of his countrymen.
The Imperial Government subsequently approved of the action taken by Governor FitzRoy to settle this unhappy affair, and Lord Stanley in a despatch, dated November, 1844, says in regard to the matter:—"I am of opinion, that in declining to make the Wairau conflict a subject of criminal proceedings, you took a wise, though undoubtedly a bold decision."
In this emergency, Governor FitzRoy, with the consent of the Legislative Council, in order to relieve the depression, issued promissory notes or debentures, payable in two years or sooner. The debentures were issued for sums as low as half-a-crown, and were declared a legal tender, an Act to that effect having been passed by the Legislative Council authorizing the Governor to issue debentures to the extent of £15,000.page 16
The Colonial Treasurer was also instructed, in order to afford temporary relief, to negotiate a loan for £5,000, the amount then due for arrears of salaries and tradesmen's bills. It was found however, that the Treasurer could only effect an arrangement with the Bank for £2,000, at 12½ per-cents; and probably that £2,000 might be forthcoming at some future period, at the same rate, in anticipation of a sum of £7,545, to be voted by Parliament in aid of the revenue.
Shortly after this, the Governor on discovering the impossibility of levying Customs duties generally, and with the view also of pacifying the natives in the neighborhood of the seat of Government, abolished all Customs duties throughout the Islands, and substituted a graduated property and income-tax, as a means of replenishing the revenue.
These changes in the law had been effected with such haste, as to render impossible any remonstrance from the remote districts, and the Legislature had been closely divided respecting these enactments, and had been opposed to a large portion of the annual estimate. In consequence of the Cook Straits' settlers having been precluded from having a voice in the passing of these measures, they refused to pay the property tax. His Excellency therefore considered it advisable to repeal the Act, and re-enact the Customs Ordinance. The Custom-houses and their officers were therefore re-established; but on a much reduced scale, not exceeding one half of their expense in 1843. Further reductions in the estimated annual expenditure of the Colony were proposed by the Governor, and adopted by the Legislative Council. The estimated expenditure for 1845-6, was £26,000. The estimate for 1844-5 had been £36,000; that for 1842 in Governor Hobson's time, was £56,000. These reductions were partly effected by reducing salaries, and partly by the alterations in the establishment for the collection of Customs.
In March, 1844, the Governor with a view to conciliate the natives, consented to waive the Queen's right of pre-emption over certain portions of the country in the neighborhood of Auckland, and issued a proclamation permitting private individuals to purchase direct from the natives on payment of ten shillings an acre to the Crown, and subsequently, to further allay their dissatisfaction; on the payment of one penny an acre, these arrangements which were in direct opposition to Acts of Parliament, which forbade the waste lands of the Crown in the Colony being alienated at a lower price than twenty shillings an acre, although tacitly assented to in the first place by the Imperial Government, for fear of alienating the natives at the then critical state of the Colony; were afterwards disallowed.
In the month of August, 1814, Heke assembled a party of armed men, and proceeded to Kororarika, where he spent Saturday and Sunday in alarming the inhabitants, and early on Monday morning mounted the hill, and cut down the staff.
On intelligence of Heke's proceedings being received by Governor FitzRoy, he immediately made application to the Government of New South Wales for troops, and sent thirty men from the small detachment stationed at the capital to Russell, with directions to the Police Magistrate to replace the flagstaff, and to persevere in temperate and conciliatory measures until self defence should render hostility unavoidable.
The Governor, after the troops arrived from Sydney, visited the district and explained to the natives, the intention of the British Government, and assured them that he had no desire to take any violent means to vindicate the honor of the Crown, but should demand their guns to be given up as an acknowledgement of the insult. Upon this, some of the chiefs delivered up their guns, but Heke however stood aloof and would not take part in the proceedings.
On the 6th of March, 1845, the news arrived at Auckland of a collision between the natives and the Hazard's pinnace. The flagstaff had been replaced on the hill over Kororarika, and again cut down by John Heke. Hostilities began by an attack of a plundering party upon the house of a settler. On the 11th March, John Hake and a party of natives again got possession of the flagstaff which was the key to the position, and afterwards made an attack on the town, which resulted in its destruction with the loss of many lives. During the Attack the magazine in the town exploded, and wounded a number of persons, besides causing the destruction of much valuable property, and the loss of all the ammunition.
The town had ultimately to be evacuated, and the settlers were compelled to seek refuge in Auckland.
When the three ships which conveyed the refugees from Kororarika were seen in the offing, the Auckland people welcomed the arrival most joyfully, supposing they brought troops from England. Their hopes were changed to deep forebodings when the truth became known, but the disappointment did not check their endeavours for the benefit of the unfortunates thus thrown upon their charity, and every exertion was made to succor the wounded, and provide for the pressing wants of the destitute refugees, about 400 in number.
It was now thought advisable at once to raise a militia, a measure which the Imperial Government bad from the first enjoined upon Governor FitzRoy, but though proposed in the previous year, (1844), his Excellency had agreed with the Legislative Council in the propriety of deferring the enactment of a militia ordinance, as highly objectionable on the page 17grounds of its being calculated to raise the suspicions of the natives, and quite inadequate to overawe them; as likely to prove most inconvenient to the widely scattered settlers, and moreover, as being barely practicable, because there were not 400 stand of serviceable arms in the Colony, and very little ammunition, while the local Government had not the means of buying either arms, ammunition, clothes, or accoutrements, or even of paying adjutants or drill sergeants. These and other considerations had therefore made the Council unanimous in postponing the Militia Bill; but the following year, when one settlement had been destroyed, and the attack of others was threatened, the case was totally changed, and it became imperative to resort to every possible expedient in self defence. Accordingly an ordinance was passed to that effect in March, 1845.
John Heke, or Hone Heke Pokai, who had made himself so conspicuous daring the disturbances at Kororarika, was not merely a disaffected man, but was influenced by an insatiable ambition and thirst for distinction, which he was not able to conceal from the watchful eyes of his countrymen. This induced the chief Tamati Waka Nene to take up arms against the rebel although related to him, being satisfied himself of the integrity of the British Government, and discerning amidst the alleged cause of Heke's disaffection a lurking ambition which if gratified would undermine his own and other chiefs' position and authority. He rallied his adherents round the British flag, and by his prudence and conduct interposed an effectual barrier to the accomplishment of those schemes of distinction which were contemplated by Heke. Waka's example soon influenced others, and his hands were strengthened by Tainui, Rangitira, Tawhai and others, who with their respective adherents declared themselves the loyal supporters of the British Government.
The united forces of the these chiefs pressed hard upon the rebels, and were of the most essential service, for they alone arrested Heke in the devastating career he had planned, and gave him ample employment in providing for his own safety, until the regular force of the Colony was increased by reinforcements from New South Wales, and even after the arrival of the troops, their aid and co-operation were indispensable; but for their assistance offensive operations could not have been commenced without great risk, and the transporting ammunition and supplies from the sea coast to the interior through many tribes having more or less sympathy with the rebels could not have been effected without their aid.
Subsequent to the destruction of Kororarika in March, 1845, when Heke, emboldened by his successes, was threatening to commence further depredations in the North, and to march upon Auckland, which was then in a very unprotected state, Waka and other chiefs rose, any created a diversion in favor of the Europeans, by falling upon Heke's rear. Their first skirmish with him took place early in April, when they were completely successful thus not only creating a diversion in favor of the Europeans, but greatly diminishing Heke's influence by injuring his reputation as a commander.
When the British troops reached the scene of operation at the Bay of Islands in the month of May, these friendly chiefs joined them with their followers. They had at one time 900 men on the field, and the average number of their followers under arms throughout the disturbances in the north, maybe estimated at between three and four hundred men.
Walker Nene received a pension of £100 for life, for the service rendered by him to the Government, and several other chiefs had smaller sums.
Patuone, Nene's brother, received forty acres of land on the north shore, near Auckland.
On the withdrawal of the troops from the Bay of Islands in 1840, the Ngapubi tribe, as if to remove every vestige of defeat, erected the flagstaff at Kororarika, which had been cut down by Heke in 1845.
The announcement of Governor FitzRoy's recal, although, as before stated it bore the date of the 30th of April, was not despatched until the 30th May, his explanations of the extreme and pressing emergencies which had induced him to infringe his instructions arrived at the Colonial Office only a few days later.
When the report first reached the Colony that Governor FitzRoy was recalled, it was rumored that "her Majesty would send a very different kind of man to govern New Zealand, one who would soon teach the natives to know their proper place." Official intimation of his recall was not received by the Governor until September, 1845.
Great excitement prevailed among the Maori population on hearing of the supercession of Governor FitzRoy, and its reputed cause, and considerable number of friendly and influential chiefs proceeded to Auckland, to learn from his own lips the true state of the cause. He used his utmost influence to dispel their apprehensions and assured them, with a generosity which under the circumstances, it would be difficult to praise too highly, that if he had been permitted to choose a successor, whose administration he thought would be just and equitable towards the natives, his choice would have fallen upon Captain Grey, than whom, judging from what was publicly known of him, no one could be better qualified for the government of New Zealaand.
This state of things was at once changed, by the declaration of the Governor, that he would not recognize neutrality on the part of any chief, but that whoever failed to come and see him, and refused to afford him any assistance he might require, or information on the state of the country, would be considered and treated by him as one of the rebels. Upon this intimation, all the neutral chiefs, with two exceptions, waited upon him and gave assurances of their loyalty. Heke and Kawiti however returned unsatisfactory replies to the communications made to them, and military operations were recommenced.
In the beginning of December the Governor returned to Auckland. His first measures were to refuse to permit the sale of land, by waiving the Crown's right of preemption, as his predecessor had done in special cases, and to introduce an Ordinance to prohibit the importation, and regulate the sale of arms and warlike stores in the Colony. He then enrolled a native corps under the direction of British officers, consisting of sixty men, each of whom was to receive rations and ten shillings a month as pay. He also appointed some of the chiefs native Magistrates, with a salary of about £20 a year paid monthly; chiefs serving as non-commissioned officers to receive additional remuneration.
Having made these arrangements the Governor proceeded to the Bay of Islands, to join the troops who were making active preparations against the rebels under Heke and Kawiti, who were finally shut up after some skirmishing in a pah, belonging to the latter chief at Ruapekapeka.
On the 11th January, 1846, the troops and naval forces under Colonel Despard, assisted by the native allies, attacked this stronghold, and carried the place by assault after three hours hard fighting, with a loss of twelve killed and twenty-nine wounded; the enemy being defeated and dispersed in different directions. The rebels, after wandering about in the woods for some time destitute of food, induced Tamati Waka, and other friendly chiefs, to tender their submission to the Government, and to intercede for their pardon. This it was considered advisable to extend to them, as the effect upon the whole island of a generous and liberal line of policy towards the rebels after the severe defeat and punishment they had received was likely to be very beneficial. The result was the final submission of all the page 19rebels and the consequent restoration of tranquility in the northern district of New Zealand. Heke after making peace with the English ceased from physical strife but kept up agitation by talking and writing up to the time of his death in 1850.
Kawiti fell a victim to measles in 1854.
During the northern war an insurrection smouldered in the south. The great bone of contention was the occupation of the Hutt Valley, in the neighborhood of Wellington, by the natives, and their refusal to permit tile settlers to take peaceable possession although the alleged cause of the opposition had already been adjusted by Governor FitzRoy.
In the meantime the Governor arrived at Wellington, followed by several vessels bearing troops for the purpose of suppressing the disturbance. Several influential chiefs of the Middle Island at once expressed their intention of maintaining the cause of the Government. Te Rauparaha likewise waited on the Governor, both he and Rangihaeata expressed their willingness to assist in expelling the natives from the Valley of the Hutt which the Governor—considering the claims of the New Zealand Company fairly established —had given the natives notice to evacuate by a certain day. They agreed to that, but demanded payment for the huts and crops which they must leave on the land. The Governor however refused to enter into this question until the Europeans should have been suffered to take peaceable possession.
Intimidated by the unexpected presence of so large a force, the majority of the natives gave way, and of the three hundred fighting men who had occupied the disputed territory, all but about twenty speedily removed from it with their families and properties.
In the beginning of April, (1846), a barbarous murder was committed by some of the natives under the protection of Rangihaeata, who refused to give them up, and began to evince open hostility to the Government.
Rauperaha continued to profess friendship, but there were circumstances in his conduct which inspired doubts of his sincerity.
The Governor had desired to delay the commencement of field operations until summer weather, but the repeated outrages of the natives defeated this intention; he therefore sent round troops to occupy and fortify a position at Porirua, close to Rangihaeata's stronghold. The rebels though still in arms, at first offered no interruption to the formation of the roads (on which a large number of the friendly natives were engaged), and ceased to molest the settlers; but this calm was of very brief duration.
On the 16th of May, the natives attacked one of the outposts in the Hutt, under Lieutenant Page, and a detachment of fifty men of the 50th regiment, which resulted in the loss of six killed and four wounded. Another affray took place in the following month, the natives who had been hovering about in the neighborhood of Boulcotts farm in the Hutt, attacked a reconnoitering party who were out to ascertain the position of the enemy, and wounded several of the party.
Encouraged by these successes, the rebels assumed a most contemptuous tone, and the parties of natives from the interior who were proceeding to join them, as well as those from other parts of the island, were so elated that the necessity for decided and speedy measures became urgent, not only to discourage the disaffected, but to inspire the native allies more fully with that confidence which they were rapidly losing. The vigorous steps adopted were successful, and were happily attended with comparatively little bloodshed.
The ships of war hovered upon the coast, the soldiers and marines were stationed at favorable points, while the friendly natives pursued Rangihaeata into the fastnesses whither Europeans could not penetrate.
By this time Rauparaha's treachery was indisputably manifested, and whilst he and other chiefs of the Ngatitoa tribe were professing the warmest friendship for the Europeans, they were secretly assisting Rangihaeata.
The Governor, on learning the deceitful manner in which Rauparaha was acting, determined to secure him by stratagem, and measures were taken to carry out the plan which resulted in the capture of Te Ruaparaha, Te Kanae, and Hohepa Tamaihengia, together with two inferior chiefs, the whole of whom were conveyed on board a ship of war, and detained as prisoners.
The unexpected capture of Rauparaha appears to have struck terror into the natives; and the Ngatitoa, his own tribe, to prove their fidelity, volunteered to assist in attacking Rangihaeta, and actually did take the field, though, it was a matter of great doubt which side received most benefit from the services.
Shortly after Rauparaha's capture, Rangihaeata abandoned his pah at Pahautanui, and accompanied by a considerable number of his followers whose number were also augmented by a reinforcement of disaffected natives from the neighborhood of Wanganui, took up a position at the head of the Horokiwi Valley, from where they were finally dialodged by the British forces in conjunction with friendly natives, who, after pursuing them from place to place, terminated the proceedings by totally dispersing the enemy.
The enemy were now routed. Rauparaha, their thinking man was a prisoner; Rangibaeata, their fighting warrior a fugitive; Te Heu Heu, the only chief of note who refused to acknowledge the Queen's authority, and who sheltered the enemy in his page 20inaccessible dominions around Taupo, was at this critical juncture buried alive with fifty-four followers by an immense land ship.
During the skirmishes with the rebel natives in the Valley of the Hutt, and the neighbouring country, the chief Honiana te Puni of the Ngatiawa tribe aided by his followers, rendered most valuable assistance to the British forces, as well by honest and judicious advice, as by active and courageous co-operation.
E. Puni bad previously attained considerable distinction amongst the colonists as having been a very rare instance of a native steadfastly adhering to a bargain respecting land. Throughout numerous disagreements between the Company's agents and settlers and Government officials, he resolutely maintained the integrity of the contract into which he had entered, and the friendship of the colonists to whom he had promised his assistance in colonizing the country.
Mr. Alexander Currie, one of the directors of the New Zealand Company, sent E. Puni a handsome silver vase, bearing an appropriate inscription in the native language, from England, as the present of a private individual accompanied by a letter, begging him to hand it down as an heir-loom to his posterity, in order to encourage them to follow his example. A festival was held at Wellington in June, 1847, on the occasion of the presentation of the vase by Mr. Petre, and the chief afterwards acknowledged the well timed testimonial in a letter which did equal credit to himself and to the donor.
The Government also in recognition of his services, gave him a pension of £50 per annum.
The old chief closed his earthly career at Pitone, about eight miles from Wellington, on the 5th December, 1870, and was buried on the 9th in the cemetery near his late residence, in the presence of a large assemblage both, Europeans and natives. As a staunch friend of the early settlers, the General Government gave him a public funeral, at which the Hon. Mr. M'Lean, the Native Minister, addressed the assembled natives with great effect.
Rauparaha and the other chiefs who were arrested at Porirua, after being detained prisoners for ten months on board H.M.S. Calliope, at considerable inconvenience were released from confinement at the urgent solicitations of their relations, as also of Waka Nene and Te Where Whero, who pledged their words for their future good conduct.
Rauparaha who survived his release from confinement eighteen months, was born between Maungatautari and Kawhia, in the Auckland Province, about the year 1769, and fled to the south in terror of Hongi in 1822. Here he conquered and drove the scattered native population away from both sides of Cook's Strait, and took possession of their land. His death took place on the 27th November, 1849.
Rangihaeata died in 1856, aged seventy; this chief bore animosity to the English in his gloomy mind until his followers rose up against him. In 1848, at an assemblage of his countrymen at Otaki, Rangihaeata met Governor Grey on which occasion he wore a dog skin mat, and feathers in his hair, every part of his dress was studiously native, a circumstance characteristic of his position, as he was surrounded by men having little sympathy with him, who had given in their adherence to the Queen, and were all distinguished by some article of European dress.
Rawiri Puaha (who played so conspicuous a part in his efforts to prevent bloodshed at the unfortunate Wairau massacre, and whose anxiety to effect a peaceable settlement of the disputed question which originated the affray, as also his interference on subsequent occasions to maintain peace between the two races, are well known matters of history) died at his own village Takapuahia, Porirua Harbour, on the 6th September, 1858. His health had been declining for many years previous to his death, and for the most part although appearing to take little interest in passing events, when any important question had to be discussed, the fire of the decaying warrior brightened up, and his powers of oratory, and the influence he possessed, combined with the prestige of his reputation gave almost irresistible weight to his opinion. He always acted in a calm, decided, yet impartial manner in settling quarrels and disputes amongst his own people, and maintained a high character as a consistent and conscientious christian.
Rawiri Puaha was born at Kawhia on the West Coast of the North Island, and was descended in a direct line from the principal family that migrated from Hawaiki many years ago in the famous canoe Tainui. The voyagers first sighted land at Whangaparoa, near the East Cape, and coasting along northwards till they entered the Tamaki river, dragged their canoe across the Otahuhu portage, once more embarked on the waters of Manukan, and sailing onwards touched at Kawhia where they settled down, and their descendants have dwelt there ever since. Little is known of his early history, but when the Waikato tribe under Te Hiakai invaded the Kawhia territory and compelled Te Rauparaha to retreat southwards, Puaha though related to the Ngatiteurn tribe, who being protected by the Ngatimaniapoto were safe from aggression, joined the retiring party of Ngatitoa, and fell back to Taranaki. Being hard pressed by their elated pursuers, the Ngatitoa resolved to await them at Mimi, and a desperate battle ensued which ended in the defeat of the Waikato. They were repulsed with great slaughter; many chiefs of note fell, including Hiakai the leader of the expedition, and Rauparaha was permitted to retire unmolested with his followers to Kapiti.
Rawiri Puaha took to wife Waitohi, the daughter of Te Pehi, a chief of the Ngatitoa tribe, who was treacherously slain about the year 1830, by the Ngaitahu tribe at Kaiapoi, who were afterwards attacked in revenge by a combined force under Te Rauparaha, and almost annihilated.
A considerable number of Rawiri's European friends attended his funeral. About fire page 21hundred natives were also present, who after the funeral service had been read, fired a farewell volley over the grave of their chief.
This proposition was rejected by her Majesty's Ministers, who, however, intimated that if the New Zealand Company had any other offer, founded upon wholly different principles for relieving themselves, the Colony, and the Government from the embarrassment consequent upon the then unsatisfactory state of their affairs, the discussion of it would be entered upon with an earnest desire to find a satisfactory solution of existing difficulties. Here the matter ended for the time, the Company not choosing to offer any proposal calculated to confer on them a diminished monopoly.
In the following July, the Company again solicited from the Government an arrangement of their land claims, and a fresh loan of £150,000, to enable them to resume their colonizing operations.
The application for the loan was founded on the expenses and losses of the Company which were adduced as forming a valid claim on her Majesty's Government. Lord Stanley, in his reply of the 30th August, 1845, refused in the most unequivocal manner to admit or recognise any such claim. But on consideration of general policy, and principally on account of the large body of her Majesty's subjects, who had expended much of their own capital in forming settlements in full reliance on the continuance of the Company's operations, her Majesty's Ministers agreed to recommend Parliament in the ensuing session to grant a loan of £100,000, for seven years to the New Zealand Company, to be applied solely to satisfying and purchasing native claims, and for surveys and surveying staff. The lands of the New Zealand Company were to be mortgaged to the Crown, which mortgage might be foreclored at the end of seven years; interest to be paid at the rate of three per cent per annum.
The extra £50,000 asked by the Company for the "completion of the engagements entered into with the settlers at Nelson, for expenditure on religious and educational purposes, and for steam navigation," was refused for the very sufficient reason that the Company was bound to satisfy those claims from their own resources.
The proffered loan of £100,000 was accepted by the Company, and an Act to authorize it, and promote colonization in New Zealand, was passed by the Imperial Parliament in 1846.
A letter of instructions issued under the royal signet, and sign manual, appended to the charter, gave copious and detailed explanations of its provisions, and of the manner in which they were to be carried out. The course of policy to be adopted with regard to the land question, was very different from that horetofore followed, and fresh regulations were issued in place of the Australian Land Sales Act, under which the Waste Lands had been previously managed.
The time for promulgating and carrying out the charter was left to Governor Grey, who availed himself of the discretionary power granted him by delaying its introduction, and lost no time in representing to the Government his reasons for doing so. In several of his page 22despatches, but especially in one, dated the 3rd of May, 1847, the chief objections to the proposed constitution are clearly shown, especially the injustice of giving to a small fraction of one race the power of governing a large majority of another, and of appropriating as they may think proper a large revenue, raised chiefly by taxation from the latter. On the receipt of this intelligence by the Imperial Government, the introduction of the Act was delayed, owing to the unsettled condition of the Colony, and the numerical disproportion of the two races inhabiting it; but in order to secure to the Colony the indispensable functions of a legislative body during the period for which it might be necessary to postpone the introduction of representative institutions, the aid of Parliament was invoked, and an Act passed to empower her Majesty to suspend for the period of five years the execution of so much of the Letters Patent of the 23rd December, 1846, as relates to the establishment of a separate Assembly in each of the two Provinces into which the Colony was then divided, and to the establishment of a General Assembly of New Zealand, and so much of the instructions issued therewith as relates to the constitution of separate Legislature for each Province, and of a General Legislature for the whole Colony, and in lieu thereof her Majesty was empowered to re-constitute, for the same limited period, the Legislative Council established by the Letters Patent of December, 1840, with the same powers it possessed before its abolition, and with certain additional powers. The re-constituted Council to consist of the persons to whom seats were originally assigned, with power to the Governer to add to their number.
In furtherance of this arrangement a Legislative Council was formed at Wellington, for the Province of New Munster, under the administration of Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, (who arrived in the Colony in 1847); Governor Grey superintending the affairs of the Province of New Ulster with a Legislative Council at Auckland, and at the same time fulfilling the functions of Governor-in-Chief.
The first meeting of the Legislative Council of New Munster was opened at Wellington, by the Governor-in-Chief on the 21st December, 1848.
In November, 1847, on the arrival of the Lieutenant-Governor of New Munster, Major Richmond, the Superintendent of the Southern Division, who had hitherto managed the affairs of the portion of the Colony comprised within the new Province, was removed to Nelson, with instructions to limit his jurisdiction to the District of Nelson on the southern shores of Cook's Strait, in which capacity he acted until the office terminated, on the election of Mr. E. W. Stafford as Superintendent under the new Constitution Act in May, 1853.
In December, 1847, the Governor appointed Major General Pitt, the officer in command of H.M. forces in New Zealand, to be Lieutenant-Governor of New Ulster, and to assist in the administration of the Government of New Zealand as provided by the 22nd section of the charter of 1846, in case of the Governor's absence.
At noon, on the 19th May, the natives attacked the settlement of Wanganui. The inhabitants retreated to several fortified houses in the rear of the military position, and for five hours the enemy kept up a fire on the stockades from the shelter of the deserted town houses. From the stockades, and a gunboat on the river, a constant fire of shot and shell was maintained, without dislodging the enemy; and in the night the latter plundered the town stole and killed cattle, and decamped. After this the natives resumed their ordinary guerilla style of warfare, stealing the cattle and sheep, and burning down the dwellings vacated by the out-settlers, until, at the expiration of about a fortnight, Governor Grey arrived from Auckland, accompanied by Waka Nene, Te Whero Whero, and other natives, and bringing with him reinforcements, both military and naval. An encounter took place on the 19th July, in which the loss on the side of the Europeans was two killed and twelve wounded; that of the natives was supposed to be considerably more, an unusual circumstance, the British having on previous occasions been the greatest sufferers, even in respect of the amount of bloodshed, and in all other points incomparably so; the impracticable nature of the country, leaving them no resource, but to remain in fortified positions, until the enemy should see fit to come and attack them; their opponents, meanwhile, sustaining no injury but what might result from contests provoked by themselves, or from the temporary deprivation of such articles of convenience, or luxury, as their advance in civilization had rendered customary and valuable to them.
After several conflicts hostilities ceased, but peace was not proclaimed, as the natives would not humiliate themselves by asking directly for it. The blockade up and down the river was consequently continued, and the natives became heartily sick of war conducted upon a system to which they could offer no effectual resistance. At the end of the year (1847), they wrote to the Governor begging for peace. On the 21st of February, 1848, the principal chiefs met his Excellency at Wanganui, and in the presence of Major-General Pitt, commanding the troops in New Zealand, peace was ratified, and a general pardon granted.
How little interruption to the ordinary pursuits of the natives had been occasioned by the warfare which had well high completed the ruin of the remnant of the unfortunate settlers, (consisting at first of about 600 persons, but at the commencement of these hostilities reduced to less than 200), who had been induced to locate themselves at Wanganui, may be understood from the following facts. No sooner had peace been page 23proclaimed, and intercourse resumed between the natives and the colonists on a friendly footing, than the former poured in supplies of potatoes for sale, and that very year it is stated, on trustworthy authority, they reaped nearly 2000 acres of wheat, all of which must have been planted during the most active part of the war.
The settlement of Taranaki contained a population of 1,200 Europeans and 800 natives, besides a numerous native population in its vicinity; its revenue was nominally insignificant from the fact of it having no port, the whole of the Customs duties being paid at Wellington and Auckland; about 1,600 acres were under cultivation by the settlers, and the chief impediment to the future progress of the place was the unsettled state of the land question.
A block of land of 400,000 acres was purchased from the natives in July, 1844, through the instrumentality of Mr. John Jermyn Symonds, Assistant Police Magistrate at Wellington, under instructions from the local Government, out of which the New Zealand Company's Agent engaged to select 150,000 acres, and to reconvey the remainder to the Crown. An unconditional grant of the whole block subject to certain conditions was subsequently executed to the New Zealand Company in April, 1846, excluding the land reserved to the natives.
Some time, however, elapsed before the Otago Association took active measures to colonize the settlement in consequence of the disturbed state of the Colony, but on public confidence being restored in 1847, an influential meeting was held at Glasgow, to give publicity to the principles on which it was to be founded, at which it was announced that the proposed settlement was to comprise 144,600 acres of land divided into 2,400 properties, each property to consist of sixty acres and a quarter, to be divided into three allotments, namely, a town allotment of a quarter acre, a suburban allotment of ten acres, and a rural allotment of fifty acres. The price of the land to be fixed in the first instance at forty shillings an acre, or £120 10s. a property. Priority of selection to be determined by priority of claim. The money realized was to be appropriated as follows:—three-eighths for emigration, two-eighths for roads, one-eighth for religious and educational purposes and two-eighths to the New Zealand Company for land.
The necessary surveys were completed by the Company's officers in April, 1847, and the preliminary expedition under the direction of Captain Cargill, the Agent of the Association, sailed for Otago in December, 1847, arriving there in March, 1848.
The original plan was made in 1843, and Governor FitzRoy selected the Wairarapa Valley as a site for it. The native disturbances in the North Island, however, laid the scheme at rest for four years, and it was only again revived in 1847 by a religious commotion in the Church of England. This event was taken advantage of by Mr. E. G. Wakefield, and with the aid of Mr. John Robert Godley, the plan of establishing a Church of England settlement in New Zealand was again revived; and for this purpose, a ten years' Charter of Incorporation was subsequently obtained, in November, 1849, from her Majesty's Government.
To enable the directors to carry out the scheme, land was to be sold in the proposed settlement at £3 per acre to be applied as follows:—two-sixths to ecclesiastical and educational purposes, two-sixths to immigration, one-sixth to surveys and other miscellaneous expenses of the Association, and one-sixth to the New Zealand Company for the land, and to cover the outlay and risk of loss incurred in opening New Zealand to colonization.
In July, 1848, the Association dispatched Mr. Thomas, a gentleman who had had page 24previous experience of New Zealand, as their agent and chief surveyor, to select on his arrival in the Colony, in concert with the Governor and Bishop of New Zealand; the best site to be obtained for the new settlement; this ultimately led to the selection of the country in the neighborhood of Bank's Peninsula, as a suitable locality.
The preliminary expedition of surveyors, accompanied by the resident chief-agent of the settlement, J. R. Godley, Esq., reached Port Cooper in April, 1850; and in the month of December of the same year, the first body of colonists arrived, and before the end of 1851, two thousand six hundred colonists had disembarked.
An Act empowering the Canterbury Association to dispose of certain lands in New Zealand, was passed in the 13th and 14th years of the reign of her Majesty Queen Victoria, the management of which they retained up to the year 1852, at which date they lost their Charter, in consequence of their inability to pay the New Zealand Company the proportion of the land fund originally agreed on. The directors of the Association attributed their failure to the insufficient quantity of land sold, a source from which millions were expected and only thousands realised, and to overrating the ability of the party to which they belonged to form a perfect ecclesiastical organization.
The earthquake was also felt in other places; in the Wairau Valley a fissure opened, and masses of rock detached from the sides and summits of mountains rolled with thundering crashes into the neighbouring valleys. At Nelson the shocks were less severe than at Wellington; at Porirua and Wanganui they injured the stone barracks; at New Plymouth they were severe, but did no damage; at Kawhia one shock was felt; at Auckland the shock was not felt, but on the 19th of October a westerly gale blew, three and a half inches of rain fell, and the barometer sank to 28 96. On the East Coast, the shock was felt at Hawke's Bay, slightly at Akaroa, but not at Otago. The earthquake was therefore confined to a space of upwards of three hundred miles, or between Bank's Peninsula and White Island.
The discovery of gold in Australia in 1851, was the means of attracting a large number of the settlers as well as natives to the gold regions. Those who prophesied ruin to New Zealand from the discovery of gold in California, now prophesied destruction from a similar event in Australia. But it was observed that many of the gold diggers came back; that they went to Australia as Englishmen go to India, to get rich and return home.
The Act required that the Council should consist of not less than nine members; members of the Executive to be ex officie members; other members to be appointed by the Governor or Lieutenant-Governor; the number of non-official members to exceed the number holding office; all appointments to be made by letters patent, and to be provisional only, and subject to her Majesty's confirmation or disallowance; the Council to meet once during each year for the dispatch of business, and to have the power of making laws and ordinances required for the good government of the Province, excepting in certain cases; six thousand pounds of the revenue to be appropriated by way of Civil List for the public service of the Colony, the surplus to be divided between the Provinces of New Ulster and New Munster.
In 1848-49, in compliance with the provisions of the Ordinance, ten gentlemen, residents of New Munster; were nominated provisionally by the Governor to be members of the new Legislature for that Province, and their appointment was subsequently ratified by her Majesty in January, 1850. The first meeting of the Council was opened at Wellington by the Lieutenant-Governor on the 1st May, 1849.
It would seem however that this measure had a very brief existence, as six out of ten of the non-official members resigned their seats during the following year for various reasons, the chief one assigned being that the Lieutenant-Governor had infringed the provisions of the Ordinance by omitting to call the Council together within the time appointed by law; and one member left for England; the Council therefore got broken up, as the remaining members did not constitute the number required by law to make the Legislature a legal one.
The form of Council by this time had become so unpopular, and distasteful to the public generally, that a difficulty was found to induce any other gentlemen of sufficient standing and ability to join it, this led to the total abandonment of the system.
The next measure of the kind that was proposed, was the Provincial Council Ordinance, which made provisions for the election of two thirds of the members by the inhabitants of a Province, and one-third to be appointed by the Governor, the Council to consist of not less than nine members. This Act however was never submitted to her Majesty for confirmation, in consequence of it containing an innovation of a serious character.
The repayment of this sum was ultimately charged against the Provinces of Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago, on condition that their revenue was not taken to purchase native land in the North Island. An apportionment of the debt between these Provinces was made by the General Assembly in 1856; but as the arrangement did not give entire satisfaction, a second adjustment was made in 1858, by which it was arranged that Nelson should contribute towards the debt the capital sum of £45,000; Canterbury, £77,500; and Otago, £77,500; subject to adjustment between Canterbury and Otago in case it should be found, that in computing the area of these Provinces, that a larger acreage had been allotted to Canterbury than it absolutely contained.
By a re-adjustment made by the General Assembly in 1861, on the passing of the Canterbury and Otago Boundary Act, it was arranged that out of the sum £155,000, then page 26borne by the two Provinces in equal shares, the sum of £81,000 ought to be borne by the Province of Otago, and the sum of £74,000 by the Province of Canterbury.
By the Act the Colony was divided into six Provinces, and for every Province there shall be a Superintendent and a Provincial Council composed of no less than nine members, to be elected by the inhabitants as provided, The Provincial Councils to continue for four years, unless previously dissolved by the Governor.
That part of the Constitution Act of 1846, which made it an obligation on the aboriginal native voter to read and write English was expunged, and subject to the necessary qualification as provided by the Act of 1852, the Maoris could register and exercise their votes as freely as the colonists.
The Act further provides that the natives should be under the laws of the Colony, but the Sovereign to have the power of appointing native districts to be exempt from these laws, and the Sovereign only to have the power of purchasing land from the natives,—£7,000 of the £16,000 on the civil list to be spent in native purposes, and the remainder in paying the salaries of the Governor and Judges.
In March, 1853, Governor Grey issued regulations reducing the price of Crown lands from £1 to 10s. and 5s. an acre. This change was hailed with satisfaction at Auckland, but at Canterbury, Otago, and Wellington, it was considered to be a serious innovation. Cheap land was a blow to the high price scheme of Canterbury, as few would pay 60s. per acre for what they could get equally as good for 10s., and large quantities were purchased there under these terms. It was also injurious to the squatter system; as all who leased lands were uncomfortable until they bought them, and those not sufficiently rich to do so, bought portions to diminish the value of the remainder to any but themselves.
With regard to these regulations, it would seem that the Governor was not empowered to issue them, and an Act had to be passed by the General Assembly in the following year, entitled "the Waste Lands Act, 1854," to ratify all purchases made under them.
Towards the close of the year 1853, Governor Grey after ruling New Zealand for eight years, obtained permission from the Secretary of State to return to England. On the institution of a Civil Order of the Bath in 1848, his Excellency was made a Knight Commander, and when invested with the Star of the Order at Auckland, the native chiefs Waka Nene of the Bay of Islands, and Te Puni of Wellington were the chosen esquires of the new made Knight. To Sir George Grey the people of New Zealand are much indebted for the liberal Constitution of 1852. His departure was viewed with different feelings at the several settlements, the aborigines looked upon it with regret. The Governor sailed for England on the 31 December, and on arriving there he was made a D.C.L. by the University of Oxford.
After Sir George Grey's departure Colonel Wynyard C.B., senior military officer in the Colony, who had previously been appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Ulster, in April 1851, in the place of Lieutenant Governor Pitt deceased, assumed the administration of the Government in 1854, in which capacity he acted until the arrival of Colonel Gore Browne in September 1855, as successor to Sir George Grey.
In conformity with the resolution, a provisional arrangement was made by the officer administering the Government summoning to the Executive Council, three members of the Legislative Assembly, and shortly afterwards, one member of the Legislative Council to hold their seats, "so long as they could command the assent of the majority of the Legislative bodies," and he declared that he would "repose in them his entire confidence, while carrying on the Legislative business of the Government through the Assembly."
The arrangement not proving satisfactory, the question was referred to her Majesty's Ministers for complete adjustment, and at the close of the session of 1854, the officer administering the Government transmitted to England the proceedings which had taken place relative to the establishment of responsible Government, and by a despatch of the 8th December, 1854, the approval of her Majesty's Government was transmitted to the Governor.
During the session of 1855, Colonel Gore Browne the successor to Sir George Grey arrived in the Colony, and in proroguing the House, his Excellency said: He was prepared to carry out in its integrity the principles of Representative Government, and to give his confidence to such ministers as should possess the confidence of the Legislature.
In his speech upon opening the General Assembly of 1856, the Governor invited the attention of the Legislature to the establishment of the system of responsible Government, and arrangements were thereupon made for the retirement of the officers of the Government holding seats in the Executive Council, and the appointment of such members of the General Assembly to fill those situations as possessed the confidence of the Legislature.
The foregoing arrangement included the management of every political interest except native affairs. These wore reserved in the hands of the Governor, and though he might consult his ministers upon them, he was not bound to take their advice. In 1862, the Imperial Government accepted an arrangement, made between the Governor and the Colonial Ministers to the effect that the management of native affairs should be transferred to the Colonial Government; but afterwards, in the course of the same year, the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives (who had not been previously consulted in the matter), declined to accept such unconditional transfer, and in April, 1863, intimation was received by the Governor that her Majesty's Government had finally decided to relinquish absolutely the control of native affairs to the Colonial Government. In November, 1863, the General Assembly passed resolutions accepting the responsibility thus placed upon the colonists, and at the same time recorded their firm determination to use their best endeavors to secure a sound and lasting peace, to do justice to both races of her Majesty's subjects, and to promote the civilization and welfare of all classes of the inhabitants of these Islands.