History of New Zealand. Vol. II.
Chapter xi. — Governor Browne's Departure
Governor Browne's Departure.
Governor Browne gracefully accepted the despatch recalling him. He promised his successor loyal assistance, and declared that the appointment of Sir George Grey, “who has so much personal influence with the Maoris, and is so deservedly beloved by them, affords the best hope of a peaceful solution of the present difficulty.” He communicated the tidings by letter to Waka Nene. He received complimentary addresses from friendly Maoris and from public bodies. The Taranaki settlers thanked him almost unanimously for his proceedings in that province, though they were still cooped up in their fortified town. Amongst the Maori addresses was one from Tamati Ngapora, the uncle of the Maori king, known in after years as Manuhiri (or the guest). Ngapora declared that his heart was “relieved because the threats against Waikato had not been fulfilled.”
Sir George Grey arrived in Auckland on the 26th September, 1861, and his predecessor conferred with him before sailing away on the 2nd October. On the 3rd, Grey assumed office. His chief adviser was Fox, his bitter opponent during his previous term of office in New Zealand. His consultations with his Ministers were long and anxious. His relations with the men who formed it were changed since he had wielded the Governor's powers in a Crown colony. The Constitution Act of 1852 had in a mangled manner been brought into operation, and, contrary to British constitutional usage, the local responsible Ministers could assume office without resorting to their constituents for approval. Sir G. Grey had kept the office of Land Purchase Commissioner distinct from that of Native Secretary. Governor Browne by merging them had bred suspicions in the Maori mind, and the Ministry informed his page 73 successor that they lay at the root of existing troubles. The Government was looked upon as a gigantic land-broker. In May, 1861, McLean had resigned the Native Secretaryship, but the effect of the past combination was not effaced. The loss from the Taranaki war, so lightly entered upon and so fruitless, was thus furnished to Sir G. Grey:—The British extraordinary expenditure had been £500,000; colonial expenditure on military objects, £193,000; cost of removing and aiding women and children, £29,000; losses of settlers, £150,000;—total, £872,000. Colonel Browne had sent troops to the front to enter upon a war at Waikato; and Mr. Carter, a member of the House, had openly stated that on the outbreak of war the probable cost of removing and maintaining for one year women and children exiled from threatened positions of the Auckland, Wellington, and Hawke's Bay provinces, together with the destruction of property there, would be £1,312,000. General Cameron reported the expense of maintaining the 6000 troops in New Zealand to be £437,715 for the year 1861; —the increase on account of war being £337,715. To enter on a Waikato war would raise the military expenditure to nearly a million sterling in the year. The ordinary revenue of the colony was only £282,000 a year. The colonial war-liability already amounted to £350,000, and was increasing at the rate of £80,000 per annum. Sir George Grey in conveying this information urged as a reason for avoiding war, if possible, that not only on Europeans, but on Maoris, miseries would be entailed. He was already endeavouring to devise a policy with his Ministers. On the 2nd November he warned the English Government of the peculiar condition of the Waikato district. Throughout the Taranaki war, while the Waikato warriors were in the field afar, all Europeans, civil, military, or private persons in the district were unmolested. A Mr. Armitage resided in it, leasing land from a chief (contrary to the colonial law), warning pedestrians not to cross it, exacting a fine of one shilling for trespass, and notifying that he would personally levy it from Maori and European alike. Maori chiefs in other places administered for themselves a rough imitation of English law, levying distress in the immediate vicinity of the so-called Maori king. The king-maker had founded a school, and was seen page 74 on the 17th October engaged with his son in ploughing the school land, from the produce of which the children were to be supported. Mr. Gorst, a Fellow of St. John's, Cambridge, who had been previously in the district, had been recently sent by the Colonial Government to inspect certain schools there. Well might it occur to Sir George Grey that it would be better to endeavour to establish law and order by peaceful means than to carry slaughter into such a district.
Mr. Gorst in his book, ‘The Maori King,’ has given a remarkable picture of what he saw, and draws the sad conclusion that the quarrel with the Maoris might by prudence have been avoided. His narrative well deserves perusal. He knew the king-maker, heard him state his intentions before his peacemaking journey to Taranaki, and observed that they were punctually fulfilled in spite of misrepresentations by Europeans. After the arrival of Sir G. Grey, when Mr. Gorst was appointed Commissioner and magistrate at Waikato, he endured the condolences of the king-maker for becoming so mean a thing as an officer of the Government. On one subject Sir George Grey took the responsibility of “delaying the execution” of the Duke of Newcastle's commands; viz. to tell the Otaki natives that their professions of loyalty to the Queen would have “made a more favourable impression (in England) if they had not been accompanied by the disloyal ceremony of hoisting the so-called Maori king's flag, in which the greater part of the natives of Otaki appear to have taken part.” Sir G. Grey thought it needful to make “a fair inquiry as to whether the natives of Otaki,” who signed the petition to the Queen, “had been in any way concerned in hoisting the Maori king's flag.” He thought them loyally disposed. “If I were,” he said, “to communicate the answer I am directed to give them I should rouse a feeling of hopeless desperation in the minds of large numbers of natives who are still well-disposed.”1
1 Despatch; 10th October, 1861.
On the 4th of November the Governor, rapid as of old, was ready to start for the Bay of Islands to proffer his new institutions to the Ngapuhi, to whose great chief, Waka Nene, he had already presented a silver cup forwarded by the Queen in compliance with Colonel Browne's application for some mark of favour. The General, the Commodore, and the Prime Minister accompanied him. The reception of the Governor and of his new policy was enthusiastic. Many questions were asked about the salaries to be received by the native functionaries, and it was carried by acclamation that the scheme was excellent. With the Ngapuhi tribe, still swayed by Waka Nene, and ever faithful to the Qeeen under the Waitangi treaty, it was not difficult to maintain friendly relations. To them Sir George Grey was still their old friend, conversant with their traditions and commanding their affections. It was otherwise at Waikato. Te Whero Whero, his especial friend, had passed away; and the advisers of the king were poisoned against Europeans. The greed of the Taranaki settlers, which had culminated in the Waitara land quarrel, had aroused suspicions which even page 76 Sir George Grey's reputation could not lull. On that reputation also was the stain which made Te Waharoa say when invited to a conference at Auckland: “Shall I go and be treated like Rauparaha?” While from various quarters came loving congratulations upon his return to Maoria, from Waikato no sign of friendship was shown. The chieftains held aloof, and watched. When propositions were made for a deputation from Waikato to the Governor, in compliance with an invitation from Tamati Ngapora, a chief rose and said that he had been warned by a letter from Auckland that Sir George Grey was luring them to a trap:—that at the Cape of Good Hope he had invited Kaffir chiefs to a conference and had made them prisoners. It would be better for Sir George Grey to visit Waikato. The joint efforts of Bishop Selwyn and Tamati Ngapora were thus frustrated. Mr. Fox, who afterwards wrote a book called ‘The War in New Zealand,’ declares that when Tamati Ngapora returned from his visit to the king's people, he was reticent and formal, and it was “evident that his visit to Waikato had done him no good.” His interview with the Governor was protracted and nugatory. The king-maker wrote a letter in November. In a Maori vessel, forbidden by the runanga to carry spirits, had been found three kegs of spirits, put on board by a Frenchman. The runanga seized the spirits, and the king-maker reported and justified the fact. The spirits were retained untouched. Sir George Grey sent Mr. Gorst to explain that such misdeeds would be prevented under his new institutions. The king-maker's tribe assembled at Arikirua to discuss the matter, and thought that laws made by the runanga, confirmed by the king, and approved by the Governor, ought to be obeyed. But they could not give up their king or his flag. A second meeting at Tamahere was less docile, though the king-maker admirably expounded the Governor's plans. Mr. Gorst went to Ngaruwahia, where the king's counsellors discussed but postponed the subject till the 12th December, when a great meeting was to be held at Taupiri, and Sir George Grey's presence was expected. In these events the Governor saw further proof of the need of law.
On the 30th November he wrote that he did not deem it right to carry out his predecessor's determination to compel obedience to the manifesto of the 21st May, 1861. Such terms page 77 could not be enforced. The attempt to enforce them would supply a bond of union against British authority. There was no such paramount authority among the Maoris as to enable a chief to ensure obedience to conditions. The terms offered by Governor Browne at Waitara in April, 1861, had been accepted by certain chiefs; but when a Commissioner had gone thither to carry them out, the chief who had formerly agreed to them could not assist. It rested, he said, with the people. The collective title could not be dealt with except by the tribe. The Commissioner, amid threats of violence, was obliged to leave. Moreover, Governor Browne's Waikato terms were inapplicable to the district, and it was better to withdraw from than to enforce them. Sir George Grey also thought it unwise to call together a conference like that at Kohimarama in 1860, which Governor Browne and his advisers had made it a cardinal point to repeat in 1861. Many chiefs had formerly held aloof. Its decisions would not be binding. It was better for the Governor to propose institutions and to trust to their being adopted in detail by various tribes. He could not prophesy that war could thus be avoided, but no other course was equally promising. The difficulty was to induce confidence in the Government, and as yet it had not been secured. His Ministry had promptly supplied him with a memorandum on the subject of ministerial advice upon native affairs. Governor Browne's plan of receiving advice and reserving his discretion in adopting it had worked badly. To obtain responsible government it had been yielded to, but was not liked, by the Assembly. The Native Department, unsupported by the representatives, was incapable of good.
Sir George Grey, who had in former days been censured for imputed opposition to representative government, met his Ministers in their desire to do away with the double government, which had been so unprosperous in the hands of Colonel Browne. He resolved to consult them on native affairs as on other subjects. He had transmitted their memorandum on the 9th October, and on the 30th November he asked the assent of the Secretary of State to his proposal to treat all affairs alike. If serious differences should arise between himself and his Ministers, he could in all cases resort to other advisers, and appeal to the General Assembly. If local government could be page 78 introduced into native districts, few serious questions were likely to arise between the Maoris and the Legislature. It was also advisable to show confidence in the General Assembly. The responsibility thrown upon it would be a protection against rash dealings, which might involve it in war. Aid would not be expected from England to enforce injustice.
To commend his proposals to the English Government, Sir George Grey sent a memorandum, showing that if his native institutions should succeed, they would entail a special cost of about £50,000 a year, and would abolish an expenditure of £629,000, of which £129,000 fell upon the colony. His Ministers undertook to recommend the plan to the General Assembly, and to stake their own position upon it. They drew up a paper to be circulated among the Maoris. It embodied the Governor's proposals, pointed out the blessings of schools, and of resident physicians, and declared that the heart of the Queen would be glad when she heard that the two races were living like brothers in a prosperous land.
1 Crawford's ‘Recollections,’ &c. 1880.
But Sir George Grey was not misled as to the views of the Upper Waikato, or king-party. Writing on the 7th January, he told the Secretary of State that they “showed an entire distrust and want of confidence in the Government.” He page 80 had met, had questioned, and been questioned by prominent champions, and this was his verdict. Mr. Gorst details much of the colloquy. The Maori advocates wanted to extract from Sir G. Grey whether he was opposed to the king; Colonel Browne having declared it a duty to do away with him. Sir George wanted to know how far they wished to force their king upon other tribes. They first answered evasively, that they knew of no tribes which rejected him, but added, they would not attack them if there were any such. Tipene admitted also, that where the king's mana did not extend, land sales would not be prevented. If a man had pledged his land to the king, and altered his mind, “he will not be allowed to sell his land; but we shall not assail and kill him; we shall not do as you Pakehas do.” Of the property of which Colonel Browne had demanded restitution, Tipene said: “My name for that is ‘spoils,’ lawfully taken in war.” When the Governor asked about the land of the Europeans on which the Maoris had gone, Tipene replied: “Is there no Maori land at Waitara in possession of the Pakeha?” The Tataraimaka land and the Waitara land he spoke of in one category. The English held Waitara, the Maoris had a right to hold the land from which they had driven the settlers. The status quo post bellum seemed to him to satisfy the ends of peace; but he said it was well, when the Governor said the titles at Waitara would be investigated. As to Tataraimaka, the Governor shook his head. He had been ashamed of the deeds of the Ngatiruanui when he heard of them. Killing women and children was unworthy of Maoris. He had not inquired into the matter; but if he were, like Tipene, a friend, he would advise them to restore what they could, and make compensation. Tipene figuratively urged that the same terms of peace should extend to all who were allies in war, and asked if the Governor's questions were ended. “Gov.—Yes. Tipene.—Then I will ask a question. Are you opposed to my king? Gov.—I do not care about him; but I think it is a thing that will lead to trouble. It will be stopped by such means as I have adopted, and will die out. Tipene.—If the king is brought to nought by your plans, well and good. You say, What is the king to you? We say, It is a thing of importance to us, and we say so because we have seen the good of it. Quarrels of Maoris amongst them- page 81 selves have diminished.… So I ask you, Are you altogether opposed to my king?—that you may say whether you are so or not. Gov.—If you ask me as a friend, I tell you I think it a very bad thing.” Tipene was unable to extract more from Sir G. Grey, though specially sent to do so by his friends at Ngaruawahia. They wished to know whether the Governor intended to use his army to coerce them, as his predecessor had threatened. Tipene concluded by saying: “Proceed cautiously in working out your plans. The only thing that remains dark is the king. Your own plan is to unite us all.”
Each side had misgivings. Those of the Maoris were strengthened by the formation of a road towards Waikato. The Auckland province had in former years commenced to cut a road through the Hunua forest to the Waikato river. It was almost impassable in winter, and the work was not carried to the proposed terminus. Two miles were untouched. Mr. Gorst declared that the Colonial Government stopped the work during the Taranaki war, in order to avoid giving offence to the Waikato tribes. Sir G. Grey announced his intention to resume it, and the soldiers, then idly quartered about Auckland, were employed in the work of cutting and metalling a military road. Mr. Gorst, an eye-witness, avers that this determination increased the respect which the Maoris entertained for the Governor, but convinced them that he, like his predecessor, though with more wisdom, contemplated war.
Mr. Fox had been with the Governor at Taupiri, and proceeded thence, with Mr. Gorst, in a canoe up the Waikato river towards Ngaruawahia. The Governor empowered him to offer to settle the Waitara dispute by means of a mixed commission, of one European and two Maoris chosen by the Governor, and the same number of like persons chosen by Te Rangitake and his friends. Before Mr. Fox reached Ngaruawahia, the chiefs had left it. Mr. Gorst is of opinion that they did so because the tidings of the military road to the Waikato river convinced them that negotiation was useless. As Mr. Fox could not see the king-maker at Ngaruawahia, he rode through the forest to Hangatiki, where the king was supposed to be visiting the chiefs of Ngatimaniapoto, of whom the redoubtable Rewi was leader. He was honourably received on Saturday, and Rewi appointed page 82 Monday for conference. The royal guard-house was close to Mr. Fox's lodging, and its commander (who had visited Europe in an Austrian frigate, the ‘Novara’) spoke English, French, German, and Italian by turns to the visitors, and spoke Maori to his soldiers. On Sunday he carried prayer-books in a bag, and distributed them to the men. Te Rangitake was a guest of Rewi. Mr. Fox met him, and, according to Mr. Gorst, Te Rangitake coolly denied his identity. Mr. Fox's diary is silent on the point. On Monday the great meeting-house was crowded with listeners. Rewi, Te Rangitake, Reihana, and other Ngatimaniapoto chiefs, were present. None of the king-maker's people, the Ngatihaua, were there. The king did not attend. Mr. Fox explained the new institutions, and proposed the settlement of the Waitara dispute by arbitration. An inferior chief, Aporo, replied. He asked whether Governor Browne had not been wrong, and Te Rangitake right, at Taranaki. Mr. Fox soliloquized in English: “Why, that is exactly what I always said in the Assembly.” A Maori understood and translated the remark to the assembly. The orator asked: “How then can a trial take place unless the guilty Colonel Browne be present?” Finally, it was said that the matters were too important to be rashly decided. Waikato would take time to consider. Mr. Fox was not permitted to see the king, but he informed the king-maker by letter of the proposed arbitration. The answer (dated 21st January) followed him to Auckland. It expressed regret that the writer had not seen Mr. Fox, but thought a meeting would have been of little use. Governor Grey's persistence in stationing soldiers at Te la excited suspicion, and the king-maker would not, under such circumstances, consent to an investigation at Waitara.
Before returning to Auckland, Mr. Fox went to Rewi's settlement at Kihikihi, where many chiefs had assembled to visit the king. That personage quitted Kihikihi as Mr. Fox entered it. By this time word had been brought that the soldiers were already at work on the military road to Maungatawhiri. Tribes were gathering at Rangiriri, eager to attack the troops. The king had sent a message ordering them to be patient, and, when he arrived at Rangiriri himself moderate counsels prevailed. As the road was on the Queen's land, it was held that page 83 Maoris could not justly interfere with it. If it should be extended to Maori territory, then there would be the requisite “tă-kĕ,” or ground for war, and all Waikato would rise. They made comparisons between the Governor and his predecessor. The latter blundered blindly, and all could see his purpose. Governor Grey made silent preparations, and only struck when he was ready. His promptitude was conspicuous. Two days after leaving Kohanga he wrote to General Cameron about the road to Waikato, and within a week more than 2000 soldiers were at work, with an advanced post at Pokeno, not far from the Waikato river. At Kihikihi, Rewi, meanwhile, was entertaining and arguing with Mr. Fox in what Mr. Gorst called a clever and unsparing manner. At an entertainment, Te Rangitake and Mr. Fox ate from the same basket, and discussed the Waitara dispute—the chief declaring that the troops ought to be removed from the place, so that the question might be left to the law. After dinner Te Heu Heu inveighed against the Pakehas in an oration which offended all who were inclined to accept the new institutions. Some Taupo chiefs on the following day asked for a separate interview, and expressed their contentment with the Governor's propositions. Mr. Fox had often desired a “face to face” interview with the Maori leaders. As regarded the king-maker and the king he had been foiled. With Rewi and Te Rangitake he had made no progress.
Sir George Grey knew the expediency of seeming to be bent on justice. The old disputes about Crown grants to natives furnished an occasion to him. The law officers had contended that after the coming into operation of the New Constitution (1852) there was a legal obstruction to fulfilment of promises to the natives. Sir George Grey had urged, in 1851, that power should be vested in the Governor to grant lands to Maoris. It had not been so vested. He now urged that, if needful, the Constitution Act should be amended. He sent voluminous papers on the subject, amongst which was this characteristic minute by himself: “My advice to Ministers would be to have all these Crown grants issued without delay. I do not doubt that they would be valid, but if any doubts were hereafter raised as to their validity, then I would have an Act passed confirming and making good these grants. I think it of the page 84 utmost importance that they should be issued at once.” He urged in two despatches that Parliament should be asked to apply an immediate remedy for so dangerous an evil; and his Ministers who saw his despatches did not dissent, though they preferred local legislation. The Duke of Newcastle replied that he learned with extreme regret “that for no better reason than a supposed legal difficulty, which, if it exist at all, ought in common fairness to have been removed long ago, a large number of natives have failed to obtain the fulfilment of explicit promises by which they had been induced to surrender their lands to the Colonial Government.” He would not shrink from asking Parliament for redress, but as it appeared that the Colonial Government were willing, on the Governor's advice, to grant it, he thought it better to rely upon their dealings than to submit to Parliament a measure indicating a suspicion that the colonial authorities were indisposed “to deal honestly with their Maori creditors.”
Mr. Gorst, in February, was busy as a magistrate at Otawhao in the Upper Waikato district; and at Taupiri the new institutions were accepted to the extent of electing the village runangas, though the district runanga was not called into existence. At Te Kohekohe another runanga was formed and Wiremu Te Wheoro was made head magistrate. Intelligent, loyal, and respected even by the king's adherents, he was unable to overcome the reluctance of his tribe to oppose the national party. A hot-headed Ngatimaniapoto chief, Patene, marched to Otawhao to expel Mr. Gorst from the mission station. The king's runanga had passed an abstract resolution to forbid Queen's magistrates in the king's territory, but they had not appointed Patene to enforce it. He arrived with thirty armed men. The children of the mission school perched themselves upon a fence to watch. Europeans, including ladies, stood by. Patene read an address signed by more than 2000 partisans of the king, and ordered Mr. Gorst to leave. Mr. Gorst refused. Mr. Morgan, the missionary, was not told to go. Finding Mr. Gorst obstinate, and not knowing how far the king would abet his proceedings, Patene drew off his army. The king's council not only did not abet him, but wrote to Rewi enjoining him to keep better order and prevent violence. page 85 They passed a law, however, forbidding, under heavy penalties, any resort to Mr. Gorst's Court, and it was so loyally obeyed, that, during six months, only one native suitor appeared there, and he was fined for doing so. Patene, indignant because the king's advisers had not abetted him in the expulsion of Mr. Gorst, declared that he would not permit others to maltreat him. The conflict between native and European jurisdictions resulted, as might have been expected, in favour of the former. Hona, a chief of a small “hapu,” or section of the Waikato tribe, had been an unpaid assessor under Mr. Fenton. Subsequently he attached himself to the king. His tribe had a dispute with a neighbouring tribe about an eel-weir. His more powerful antagonists secured their blood-relations, the Ngatimaniapoto, as judges, and won their cause. Hona renounced his allegiance, and sought and obtained the protection of the Government. He received a salary. When, to eke out the native revenue, the king's runanga ordered a poll-tax of £1 yearly on all Europeans living in native territory, and it was about to be levied on a trader under Hona's protection, Hona threatened to resist, but when an armed party appeared to levy it under a chief who said he would take either the money or its value in goods from the trader, Hona recommended payment. In later time, when war broke out, Hona went over to the king. But submission to the king was not undeviating. The village runangas made laws for themselves, and their administration depended much on the character of the principal chief and the respect shown to him. The king-maker was a conspicuous example. Mr. Gorst never heard a complaint of injustice from any European residing amongst the Ngatihaua. But the counsel of the wise was not accepted everywhere. When the king's runanga, at the king-maker's suggestion, passed an ordinance displeasing to Rewi, he would not obey it, and the king's council sorrowfully admitted that it could not enforce its decrees. It was suspicion of Europeans that furnished the bond of union, and but for the injustice at Waitara, the king movement would perhaps have died of inanition. For his king, as the Maori champion against the Pakeha, Rewi was ever ready to run risk. The king-maker, who sought to provide a paternal government and shrunk from war, lost influence as page 86 Rewi gained it, when the hot spirits of the tribes thirsted to be led against the common foe. Fines, fees, and donations scantily supplied the king's exchequer. A strange instance of the medley of affairs was shown in carrying the mails. The king would not allow the Queen's subjects to carry it through his territory; but two of his followers bore it, and were paid by the Colonial Government. The king in church, said Amen to the prayer for the Queen, and when, during the Taranaki war, it was proposed to pray for the king instead of the Queen (the Waikato being in the field), it was resolved not to alter the Prayer-book; in spite of the murmurers who objected to a prayer that she might vanquish her enemies.
On both sides there were provokers of violence. Sir George Grey more than once reported that the Maoris bitterly resented the insults cast upon them. “In the attacks thus made in some newspapers upon the natives, and upon all acts of fairness performed towards them, consists at present the greatest difficulty in this country.” The Duke of Newcastle could only suggest counter-statements by the Governor, and “reminding the editors of the dangerous consequences of their language.” Power to suspend an offending organ was in such case absolutely necessary to prove to the Maori the justice of the Queen, and to the printer the power of the Government. But the Duke of Newcastle was neither wise enough to forecast the future, nor resolute enough to meet a danger if he could have foreseen it. Part of Sir George Grey's policy was the acquisition of friends amongst the tribes. On the 25th January, 1862, Mr. T. H. Smith, Commissioner for the Rotorua district, reported the acceptance by the Arawa tribes of the new institutions. In after years their warlike devotion attested the value of their adhesion. The resident magistrate at Taupo adopted the new system in March. For a time it seemed that its acceptance was about to destroy confidence in the king movement. Mr. Armstrong, the resident magistrate at Lower Waikato, reported the palpable decay of the king's influence, and the probability of a complete organization of the district.
At Hawke's Bay and at Wellington the Governor in person received loyal assurances from the Maoris. At the former place a real or supposed plot was made known to him. A battle-axe, page 87 sent round to chiefs by the Ngatiraukawa tribe during the Tarauaki war, as a symbol, on appeal to which they were to rise and destroy the Europeans, was handed to the Governor as a public proof of renunciation of all hostility. Soon afterwards, at Otaki, symbols of similar import were given up to him. Till then he had not known that Rewi's hostility had taken so matured a form. Its public exposure and abandonment by the recipients of the symbols was deemed a proof that Grey's return had rallied the loyalty of his old acquaintances. He had no sooner reported these things, and the gratifying progress made by the troops under General Cameron in forming the military road to the Waikato river, than he was warned of a new difficulty. The Duke of Newcastle was dissatisfied. He wanted to know why the colony was not heavily taxed to meet its requirements. He was willing to sanction the surrender of native affairs to the General Assembly. All militia and volunteer expenses must, however, be locally borne. The contribution of £5 per man for cost of troops must be continued, and a large Imperial force was not to be maintained in the colony. The Duke would sanction Sir G. Grey's new scheme for governing New Zealand with limitations. The Colonial Government must furnish not less than £26,000 towards it. The Imperial Government would not supply more than the amount due from the colonists as military contribution —calculated at the rate of £5 a head for every soldier employed. The arrangement was to expire in December, 1864, and was to be subject to any general measure which the Home Government might adopt with regard to maintaining Imperial troops in the colonies. Sir George Grey replied that the General Assembly was about to meet in July (1862), when the Duke's objections would be brought before it, and suggested that affairs might be favourably influenced if his proposals should be approved at an early date, it being unlikely that the Maoris would abandon their confederacy while a possibility existed that the proposals might at any moment be countermanded from England. Meantime the language used in the newspapers irritated and was complained of by friendly natives. The Governor told General Cameron that it had great effect in strengthening the suspicions of the king's followers that the page 88 English were bent on their extermination. Sir George Grey himself made peace, in June, between two tribes friendly to the English, which were fighting about a piece of land at the north of Auckland. The foes were entrenched about 200 yards apart. He persuaded them to strike their colours simultaneously. Each leader was to choose two persons, Maori or European. The four chosen were to name a fifth, Maori or European. If they could not agree to do so, the Governor was to name him. The decision of a majority of the five was to be final. Each pah was to be allowed to fall to ruin, so that neither side might boast of destroying the pah of the other. The arbitration was to be held at Auckland. Sir George Grey was within the entrenchments of Tirirau, one of the disputants, when his “flag was hauled down,” and his “assembled chiefs and followers went down upon their knees, and, in the form prescribed in the native Church of England Prayer-book, went through a service of thanksgiving for the mercy of God in protecting them from the perils of war, and in restoring the blessings of peace to them,—their whole demeanour evincing the most devout thankfulness.”
A dispute about digging for gold was auspiciously put an end to by Sir George Grey in the same month. Numbers of Europeans were crowding to search for gold on lands the property of Maoris at Coromandel, and threatening to seize the land by force. The Maori king was called upon to take charge of it. Collisions were expected. The Governor travelled rapidly from the south of the island, and persuaded the chiefs to receive an annual payment for the right to search within defined boundaries. The war-party of the Maori king was foiled, and retired from Hauraki whither it had marched. The Governor found fault with Tawhiao for alarming the country by his movements, and the king's runanga published his letter with a reply, saying that no harm had been done, and there could therefore be nothing to punish.
Before the General Assembly met, the military road was completed to Pokeno, and cordial thanks were given to the General and the soldiers for their skill and alacrity. It would be an imputation on Grey's intelligence to suppose that he was unconscious that the work had aroused the just suspicions of page 89 the Maoris. To the Assembly which he convened at Wellington in July, 1862, the Governor commended the consideration of the new institutions for Maori government, and the better organization of militia and volunteer forces. He said: “I have hitherto had no occasion, and hope that I shall have none hereafter, to employ the military forces in any active field operations.” The first cloud which threatened his relations to the General now darkened the horizon. General Cameron, without warning to the Colonial Government, had reported that the annual training of the militia was neglected. The discontinuance had occurred under Governor Browne, in 1861, and was attributed by Mr. Fox and his colleagues to the impossibility of enforcing the training without driving away the population to the gold-fields of Australia, and those recently discovered in the Middle Island. They hoped to legislate on the subject. Appreciating their difficulties, and shrinking from the risk of a war of races, the Governor wrote that he was endeavouring to persuade the local government to create a permanent armed police force of Europeans and Maoris, who would ultimately take a principal part of the colonial military duty; a plan of which in due time the Secretary of State approved.
1 The facility with which these and previous changes were made without any ratification by constituencies furnishes an expressive commentary upon the indecent manner in which the Secretary of State launched local government into existence in New Zealand, without legal or constitutional sanction, and without the usual safeguard which attends responsibility.
Sir George Grey reported that he had consented to act in the spirit of these resolutions until further instructions might reach him. He did so, because he was satisfied that, whatever the theoretical relations might be, practically, while he was in New Zealand, the result would be the same. He hoped that when existing difficulties were brought to a close the Assembly would assume responsibility for native affairs, at the desire of the Secretary of State. The House having thus crystallized its intentions, proved its carelessness about the men whose duty it might be to obey them, by acquiescing in the remodelling of the page 91 Ministry. Mr. Gillies immediately vacated and Mr Sewell occupied the post of Attorney-General. Mr. Mantell similarly gave way to Mr. Crosbie Ward in the Post Office, but remained in the Executive Council. Mr. Bell vacated the Treasury for the returning Mr. Reader Wood: and the chief result was that Mr. Domett succeeded Mr. Fox, and Mr. F. Dillon Bell held office as Secretary for Native Affairs. The Fox Ministry was in office without. Mr. Fox. When Mr. Fox retired, the Governor expressly recorded his high sense of the cordial and generous support invariably afforded by his old accuser; and on the remodelling of the Ministry by Mr. Domett, the Governor told the Secretary of State that the “policy of the Government in all its main features closely resembled that of the previous Government.” The House passed a measure for raising a loan to meet past liabilities, and future exigencies in native affairs; and while it was yet in session, peremptory instructions from the Imperial Treasury commanded the Deputy Commissary-General to make no more payments by loan or otherwise for any colonial need whatever. The working pay of military parties on the road to Waikato was stopped. Taranaki militia pay, and rations, as previously provided by the Imperial Exchequer, were thenceforth to cease. Immediate re-imbursement of past payments was temporarily waived by the Treasury, and the waiver was to constitute “the aid to be afforded from Imperial resources.” Sir George Grey deplored the unexpected suddenness of the decision, which was the more unfortunate as the Assembly had just voted a sum to defray all advances from the military chest, previously made for militia and similar charges.
The Legislative Council addressed the Queen. On the plea that the colonists had not exercised real control they urged that the expense of war ought to fall on the Home Government. The government of the Maoris could not justly be handed over to the colonists at such a crisis. After establishment of peace they would be willing to undertake it. The address was lengthy. The representatives sent similar remonstrances. They declared also that the step taken by Sir George Grey of demitting Maori control to the Assembly was taken without their concurrence, and that the condition of the colony forbade them to close with the Duke of Newcastle's offer of acceptance of such a policy. page 92 They, too, thought themselves justified in asserting that the Imperial Government had originated the war. They took upon themselves to criticize the conduct of it “by inefficient and incompetent commanders,” whom there was no local authority to remove. They prayed for material aid, and would, as far as their “means would allow,” bear burdens. They would relieve the English Government of the anxiety of Maori management, “if the power is given and the help continued to us that will make our efforts hopeful.” They “respectfully declined” the Duke of Newcastle's proposal, not as shrinking unworthily from proper burdens, “but because we seem to discover in the despatches an intention to withdraw from engagements to which the British nation is honourably bound, and to transfer to the colony liabilities and burdens which belong properly to the Empire.” It was fit that such equivocating words should be addressed to the Minister who had disgraced the English name in 1860, by approving the rape of the Waitara. It would have been too galling for another man to defend so base a position. The culprit himself could not express his meaning without writing a despatch as long as an evening lecture. He approved of Sir George Grey's conduct, and added: “I congratulate myself on the circumstance that the Government of New Zealand is in the hands of an officer whose personal character will secure him a due influence in the affairs of the colony, independently of the terms in which the General Assembly may recognize his authority.” He was able to refer to the constant jealousy and encroachment by the Colonial Government upon the Governor's powers relating to the native race, and, as far as he could without condemning his own conduct in 1860, he strove to throw the onus of causing the war upon the local Ministry. “I need hardly inform the framers of these memorials that the slow progress of land sales under the auspices of the Native Department, and therefore under the control of the Imperial Government, was an object of complaint to the settlers, and that these complaints were particularly urgent in New Plymouth, and referred especially to the land in the neighbourhood of the Waitara. The decision to complete, by force if necessary, the purchase of that land was adopted at the advice not of the Native Department, but of the Executive Council, and the proclamation of martial page 93 law was transmitted to the officer in command under the signature of the chief responsible Minister. It was under this pressure, with this advice and through this agency, that Governor Browne took the steps that led to the war—steps which, although I thought it my duty to sanction them, were in a direction opposite to that which a purely Imperial policy would have dictated. It is in this state of facts that the two legislative bodies of New Zealand, without alleging that Colonel Browne's acts were unwise, or that they were dictated by any Imperial policy or instructions, without denying that they arose, on the contrary, from a desire to promote colonial interests in a way which the colonists themselves demanded, and by proceedings which the responsible Ministers formally advised, do not hesitate to repudiate all responsibility in the matter, and to charge the Home Government with the authorship of their sufferings.”
In accusing the colonists justly, the Duke was convicting himself. He, knowing that justice and good faith, towards the treaty of Waitangi as well as to Imperial interests, were opposed to the dealings at Waitara, had nevertheless sanctioned them. The brave and true advice of Sir Robert Peel and Lord Stanley of old time was discarded; and now, when evil had resulted, the accomplices in crime vented diplomatic recriminations against each other. The Duke animadverted on the reluctance of the militia to serve beyond their own districts, and the desire of the colonists to throw on the Imperial Exchequer the cost of constructing roads. He declared that England would not, as seemed to be desired, “recognize the obligation of supporting the burden to which Great Britain is now subject until the authority of the law is re-established.” He pointed out that it was notorious, and admitted by the representatives, that the allegiance of the natives had never been more than nominal. He urged that a New Zealand legislator (Mr. Fitzgerald) had stated that he knew of “no race at any period of the world's history which had made in so short a period so great a stride,”— and he claimed some credit for the Imperial Trusteeship, which before the year 1856 was real and effective in producing such a result, though it was mainly brought about by ministers of religion. He did not expect the colonists to exact more thorough page 94 allegiance from the Maoris than had hitherto been rendered, but would recognize no indefinite obligation on the Imperial Government to coerce the natives. In conclusion, he told the Governor that the consent of the colonists was not needed to make effectual the resignation by the Home Government of control. It was complete by the act of the Home Government. If the Governor should resume or retain control of the Native Department it would not be in obedience to instructions, but “at request of his responsible Ministers or under some pressing necessity occasioned by their action or inaction, for the consequences of which therefore the Home Government would not be responsible.” Of course the Governor would exercise negative power if Imperial rights should be invaded, or the faith of the Crown under the Waitangi treaty were jeopardized, or injustice were attempted. He might have to appeal from his advisers to the Assembly, or from the Assembly to the constituencies, and he would, as to employment of the Queen's forces, be responsible, with the officer in command. The maintenance of those troops in New Zealand entitled the Home Government to a potential voice in requiring justice and liberality to the Maoris. The control of the army would ensure attention to the words of a Governor who had been selected as the fittest adviser and administrator for the colony. The idle compliments with which the despatch concluded were swept into insignificance by the whirlwind which occurred in New Zealand. The Home Government had not been able to comprehend the gravity of the situation. They had sent Sir George Grey as the worthiest man for a particular office, and they gave him a half-hearted support. He was to walk as the Duke of Newcastle desired, although, as shown by his own despatches, the Duke himself was incapable of walking in the road which he knew to be right.
In the scheme proposed by the Governor soon after his arrival, military men were specially asked for as Civil Commissioners. Strong reasons were given, and some others ought to have been patent to a functionary who perceived that many colonists lusted lawlessly for the lands of the Maoris. But the Duke allowed the request to slumber for more than three months in Downing Street, before he replied: “I doubt whether under present military regulations, an officer can be detached from his regi- page 95 ment to serve as Commissioner in a native district; but in case this should prove practicable, Her Majesty's Government can only assent on the understanding that the whole pay of the officer shall be defrayed by the colony.” Sir George Grey urged that serious consequences might arise from inability to do what he wished, and that the desired arrangement had been allowed ever since he had been in the service of the Crown. “I assure your Grace,” he added, “that a most serious crisis is impending here, and that I require all the aid and support, physical and moral, that can be given me.” Thus adjured, the Duke consulted the War Office, and, fifteen months after Grey had made his request, the Commander-in-Chief forwarded to General Cameron a discretionary power to allow the employment of officers. Such tardy compliance, at such a crisis, was of course too late. Had the Lord Derby of 1845 been at Downing Street, no such provocation of evil would have increased the Governor's troubles.
1 P. P. 1863; vol. xxxviii. p. 109.
1 P. P. 1863; vol. xxxviii. p. 145.
The receipt of Mr. Whitaker's opinion only caused the Duke to say (May, 1863) that his despatch in March had explained his views fully. It is a pleasure to extract from musty folios something creditable to the Duke of Newcastle; but the pleasure is alloyed by the reflection that if he had been as firm in 1859 and 1860, he might have prevented war. Perhaps apprehension rather than wisdom had changed him. In June, 1861, he had told Sir George Grey not to waver. “It would be better to prolong the war with all its evils than to end it without producing in the native mind such a conviction of our strength as may render peace not temporary and precarious but well grounded and lasting.” In May, 1862, he could “hold out no hopes of the continuance of a large body of troops in New Zealand;” and his words became harder by degrees. In August, 1862, he was stirred by the War Office (on complaint by General Cameron) to express surprise at the shortcomings of the Colonial Government in maintaining militia. He grumbled at the Governor for his reluctance to part with the soldiers sent from New South Wales and Victoria. The apathy of the colonists was inexcusable. “I must plainly tell you that unless all cause of complaint is speedily removed, a large portion of the troops now stationed in New Zealand will be recalled without delay. It is my duty to call for an immediate report.” Like the offended servant in the comedy, the Duke when rated by his colleagues vented his spleen on his subordinate. Sir George Grey at once asked for copies of the letters which caused the rebuke and that the Duke would support an officer serving under him by insisting that in future all such documents should be supplied. He had furnished reports, had reduced expenditure, and could only regret that it was thought necessary to censure himself and his Government so severely and so frequently. Events, he hoped, would modify the opinions in England. For himself he was sure that to make roads and encourage peace was wiser than to force one race to take up arms against the other. He still hoped Her Majesty's Government would see reason to approve of what he had done.page 98
The Assembly had conferred upon the Governor power to deal with native reserves, and issue grants. The Civil List grant for native purposes had been raised from £7000 to £26,000. The grant of £5 for each soldier in the colony had been secured by law; and the yearly grant of £7000 for native schools was retained. A Loan Act for half a million sterling had been passed. A special colonial defence force had been authorized by enactment. The Militia Act of 1858 had been amended, and a penalty of £5 for failure of attendance had been enacted. An amended Native Districts Regulation Act enabled the Governor to cause seizure of spirits removed to certain districts, and thus one complaint made by the king-maker was obviated. The Native Circuit Courts Act of 1858 was amended. A Native Lands Act had been passed, not exactly in the form desired by the Governor, but accepted by him as the soundest which the Assembly would pass. He had desired to introduce, gradually, direct dealings in land between European and Maori, to an extent not exceeding one farm for one European, such transactions being dependent on personal occupation by the European under penalties enforced by the Government. The native runanga was to concur in the sale to make it valid.
Unfortunately the Fox Ministry shrunk from what they called the stringency of these terms upon the European. The Domett Ministry shared the objections of their predecessors, and the Bill was introduced in a form which recognized the right of a Maori to deal with his land after the native ownership had been ascertained by Courts to be established for the purpose. The resolutions of the House (19th August) as to the relations between the Governor and his advisers having left the decision in matters of native policy to the Governor, the Ministry felt that it was unfair to proceed with the Bill without his approval. On the 24th August they said they would withdraw it if he could not approve it, but were willing to introduce modifications at his request. He replied (25 August), that understanding from them that the principle of the measure was that natives should be allowed to have as good a title to their lands as Europeans, and to obtain the value by sale or letting, he agreed to it. Again, in September, he was urged to allow it to be said in the Council that the measure was acceptable to him, in order page 99 to ensure its passing. He answered: “I have always thought and still think that the plan I proposed for the recognition of the title of the natives to their lands, and for the gradual occupation of the country, by European proprietors agreeable to the natives of the district, was best adapted to the circumstances of the country, and most likely to produce permanently beneficial results. At the same time, as there appears no hope of my succeeding in convincing a majority of the Assembly that my views are the soundest and best, I think the recognition of the title of the natives to their lands a matter of such importance, that I will, as I have before stated, accept the Bill in the form in which it passed the House of Representatives for transmission to the Imperial Government; and I think, upon the whole, it can be so worked as to produce beneficial results at this crisis.”
Mr. Sewell, the Attorney-General, objected so strongly to the recognition of Maori title, that he remonstrated against the Bill while it was before the Legislative Council of which he was a member. The reply of his colleagues may be seen, by the curious, in blue-books. The Native Minister, Mr. F. D. Bell, drew up a commentary on the Bill and its progress, in which he took credit for the moderation of the Governor's advisers, who could command a majority of three to one in favour of their original measure. Thus the Governor, while rebuked by the Secretary of State for not doing more, was congratulated by his advisers upon being allowed to do so much. It was a great advance towards justice to provide a Court to “ascertain and declare who according to native custom are the proprietors of any native lands, and the estate or interest held by them therein.”
By slow degrees the prayers of Sir William Martin, Bishop Selwyn, and Te Waharoa, had prevailed in a measure. But the nature of the Court was peculiar. “It shall be lawful for the Governor from time to time by Commission or Order in Council to constitute a Court or Courts for the purpose of ascertaining, &c.” Under such a provision, a wise Governor bent upon doing good might do it. But an unwise one could commit any act of folly or injustice. No enduring Court was created. An upright Judge in one case might never be re-employed. A pliant tool might calculate upon being re-hired. The Courts were to be occasional, and the judiciary the mere creature of the Executive page 100 at pleasure. Under such an Act, Colonel Browne, when once moved to conspire with the land-lusters of Taranaki, might have concocted a Court which would have dealt with Te Rangitake as Parris stirred byC. W. Richmond's private letters had dealt.
The lands south of Taranaki were still void of the settlers driven from them by the Ngatiruanui and Taranaki tribes during the war of 1860, and were ostensibly held by the natives in right of reconquest, which was considered in itself a sufficient reason for giving vitality to the Native Lands Act only by authority of the Governor. Whether the Bill would have been beneficial if no war had broken out in 1863, it is impossible to say. In fact its provisions were not largely used. Nominally trusted by all, the Governor was nevertheless suspected. The nominee Legislative Council feared that he or his advisers sought to impair their independence by creation of new members. An address was sent to the Queen praying that their number might be limited to three-fourths of that of the other House. The Councillors had reason for their fears. Mr. Fox had presented, and Sir G. Grey had transmitted, a memorandum urging that power ought to be given to add to the number of the Council before the next Session. In his opinion the Governor ought to have power to increase the Council from time to time by an additional number of ten members. The Duke of Newcastle's reply was inconsequential (26th March, 1862): “Having fully considered the recommendation and the grounds upon which it is made, I think it best, while withdrawing the limitation of the number of the Council, to refrain from imposing any restriction when none has been imposed by the Legislature. I shall therefore advise Her Majesty simply to repeal by an additional Instruction the limit which is now placed on the extension of the Legislative Council, and that Instruction will be transmitted to you as soon as the necessary forms will admit of its completion.” On the pretence of reluctance to impose restrictions the Duke was willing by the removal of a restriction upon the Governor to subject a whole branch of the Legislature to the caprice of the local Executive.
Other difficulties existed at the time. The General reported secretly to England what he ought, if he touched it at all, to have brought before the New Zealand Government. The Maoris page 101 after the wrong done at Waitara, were slow to trust the local government. The seizure of Rauparaha by Grey in old time was now deservedly a stumbling-block in his way. The Assembly, while resolving that the Governor must be responsible for native affairs, would not legislate in the manner which seemed to him fittest to inspire the natives with confidence about their lands. The Duke of Newcastle, though he had in 1846 contested Nottingham against the active opposition of his own father, would give no blank charter to a Governor who was under his authority.
Emboldened by success in arms, the proud Maori race had learned rashness; while greed and obstinacy prevented many colonists from becoming just, generous, or wise. Confessedly critical, the position presented hideous possibilities. While admiring the noble qualities of the Maoris, Sir George Grey knew the atrocious savagery of their modes of warfare, to which they might recur in sudden raids on the settlers if a national rising should be provoked. Torture, mutilation, and cannibalism were the ancient demons of war; and women and children were their victims. It is just to those who supported Mr. Fitzgerald to record the gallant attempt made by him to procure for the Maori race some representation in the Legislature. He carried a resolution recognizing the right of all Her Majesty's subjects, of whatever race, to a full and equal enjoyment of civil and political privileges. He moved that such recognition “necessitated the personal aid of one or more native chiefs in the administration of the government of the colony,—the presence of members of the Maori nobility in the Legislative Council,— and a fair representation in this House of a race which constitutes one-third of the population of the colony.” There were seventeen Ayes and twenty Noes. Supporting Mr. Fitzgerald were Mr. Atkinson, Mr. Dillon Bell, Mr. Brandon, Mr. Carter, Mr. Fitzherbert, Mr. Fox, Mr. Gillies, Mr. G. Graham, Mr. Mantell, Mr. Moorhouse, Mr. Renall, Mr. C. J. Taylor, Mr. Waring Taylor, Mr. Watt, Mr. John Williamson, and Mr. Wood. There were two Richmonds (not Mr.C. W. Richmond), and Mr. Weld, among the victorious twenty, who thus rendered impossible what seemed to them a wild experiment, but was in a few years to be accepted as a plain necessity. It is more page 102 grateful to record the names of Mr. Fitzgerald's supporters than those which were enrolled against him.
Suspicions at Waikato were meanwhile strengthened. It was foreseen that a road to Waikato would enable the English to throw troops into the district and endanger Ngaruawahia. Rewi and the war faction began to predominate. The king-maker vainly urged the runanga to accept the proposal of the Government to investigate fairly the Waitara dispute. Rewi commanded a majority. When the military road to Te Ia on the Waikato was completed, and the Queen's Redoubt at the terminus made capable of holding 1000 men, Sir George Grey caused a branch road to be made to the bank of the Maungatawhiri, and timber was conveyed thither to form a landing-stage. Dreading the construction of a bridge, the Maoris were scarcely appeased by being told that the Governor did not mean to build a bridge till the next year, when he hoped their opposition would be withdrawn. Another proposed road excited them more violently. Wiremu Nera and his people had agreed to make a road from Raglan, on the west coast, near Whaingaroa harbour, to Watawata on the Waipa river, not many miles above its junction with the Waikato at Ngaruawahia. Troops landed at Raglan could by such a road take the Maori capital in rear while it was assailed in front by forces arriving by the military road to Te Ia, and by steamers on the Waikato river. Maori claims to land were put forward, and Maori eloquence was vainly used, to deter Wiremu Nera from his project.
War meetings were held, and when a day was fixed for cutting down trees upon the line an armed band went from Rewi's settlement at Kihikihi to stop the work by force. They received a stern message from the king-maker. Wiremu Nera had been his father's comrade, and whoever assailed him must fight the Ngatihaua and their chief. The road question must be settled by Wiremu Nera's tribe and his own. The interlopers retired. The king-maker appealed to Wiremu Nera to desist from a scheme which would place Waikato at the Governor's mercy. The king's sister, Te Paea, who was said to have more of Te Whero Whero's disposition than had descended to her royal brother, with her own hands pulled up the stakes with which the road had been marked out. Thus adjured, and page 103 confronted by the opposition of nearly all Waikato, Wiremu Nera agreed to begin his road-making at Raglan, on Queen's territory. His men were satisfied with payment by the Government, and the uproar ceased. Mr. Gorst meantime was troubled at Te Awamutu. Bishop Selwyn and the Church Missionary Society had 200 acres of land at Otawhao, close to the spot. They gave it up to the Government. There were 800 other acres which the Maoris had granted for an industrial school and hospital during Sir George Grey's former government. They were less trustful now, and said that the grant had lapsed by ten years' neglect to use it. The war-party failed to induce the king to take violent measures. It was decided not to drive Mr. Gorst away; but as his magisterial functions had been foiled by preventing a resort to them, so now it was resolved to prevent the erection of the school-buildings by forbidding sales of timber. When in spite of the prohibition two trees were sold, Rewi's friends wished to take them back, but the majority declined to commit an act which might be called theft. More timber was obtained, and the school prospered. The Government provided a teacher of reading, writing, and arithmetic. The trades of the carpenter, blacksmith, wheelwright, shoemaker, tailor, and printer were taught. Agriculture and pastoral pursuits were not neglected. Te Oriori, a leading chief, patronized the school. The king-maker, and even Rewi, visited the institution so strangely established in the heart of the king's territory.
1 In 1861 the Bishop was hooted by the settlers at Taranaki. As the crowd followed him he turned round to speak. They began to turn away. He called out: “It is more English-like to look me in the face and tell me your grievances.” Colloquy ensued, in which the Bishop's biographer declares that he was good-humoured and triumphant. Amongst the hooting mob were three Provincial Councillors. He went amongst the Ngatiruanui, and was told by a Maori that he ought not to travel through their country. He would be looked upon as a spy. He answered: “I am like wheat. The Pakeha at Taranaki were the upper-stone grinding me there, and now you grind me here.” He paused till a deputation invited him to proceed, and he marvelled at the kindness he experienced in the district so recently ravaged by the soldiery and settlers.
In the ensuing discussion the king-maker acknowledged a change of opinion, caused by the deceitfulness of the Ministers, the occupation of Te Ia, and the Governor's letter to Matutaera (on the occasion of the march towards Coromandel) threatening that the king would be punished by-and-by. The Bishop repudiated all intention of deceit. Voters came forward for the Bishop. Kihirini, an old chief of Middle Waikato, sat by the Bishop, and said he would have voted for him but for the occupation of Te Ia. The Ngatikahungunu tribe began to speak, and their chief, a friend of the Bishop, advised him that as he had opened the subject, the Maoris would get on better by themselves. The Bishop (called Pihopa Herewini) left with the conviction—That the king's friends were more friendly than before. That their tenacity for their king was unabated. That the east coast tribes were most vigorous in opposition to the Pakeha. That all acknowledged the necessity of one law. That the difficulty was to reconcile unity of law with duality of “mana.” That it would not be impossible to bring about a compromise, on the basis approved by the Secretary of State, that Matutaera and his Council might make laws to be presented to the Governor for confirmation, like the laws of the New Zealand provinces. That there was absolutely no trace of hostility of race, and no unanimity even on the subject of page 106 division of races. But though the Bishop obtained no vote of approval, he had won friends, and persuaded the king-maker to make a final effort for peace. After the Peria meeting the king-maker went to Kihikihi and formally asked Rewi and Te Rangitake to agree to the investigation of the Waitara title as proposed by the Governor. Rangitake refused, and the Ngatimaniapoto supported him. The king-maker asked that Tataraimaka should be restored to its European owners. The Ngatimaniapoto refused even this. In sorrow the king-maker retired. To quarrel with his countrymen could not promote the Maori nationality, which he had at heart, and he saw no alternative but submission. The times were out of joint, and would not be set right by him. Yet he ever rebuked the violent by his example. Mr. Gorst reported in March, 1862, that when the king's military guard, established by Rewi's influence, had to be supplied in turn by the Ngatihaua, the king-maker took down men and ploughs, broke up and planted land with potatoes, and said that was the soldiering his tribe could do.
In November, General Cameron represented to Sir George Grey the smallness of his force. It was diminishing in number by reason of drafts of invalids. He had only 2681 effective men to guard Auckland and the long line of communication with the advanced posts. There were more than 700 soldiers at Taranaki, 352 at Wanganui, 274 at Wellington, 271 at Napier, 91 at Otago. This representation was forwarded to England by Sir George Grey on the 27th November, simultaneously with a despatch in reply to the Secretary of State's censure, founded upon General Cameron's complaints that the militia were not duly trained. The Duke of Newcastle had said: “With such a fact before me, I have a right to assume that there are more soldiers in the colony than are required.” Grey deprecated so severe a reprimand, published before he had seen General Cameron's complaint. By such a course a man's “character might be irretrievably ruined, even before he has been accused.” In February, 1863, the Duke ineptly replied, that he wished to blame not Grey but his advisers, and considered that he was thereby strengthening Grey in dealing with his Ministers and the Legislature.
1 In January, 1863. Grey, in writing about the want of naval assistance in New Zealand, and the necessity for a steamer at the control of the Governor, said: “My own health has completely broken down from the fatigue and exposure I was subjected to last winter, owing to its having been rendered necessary for me to make overland journeys at an unfavourable season—the use of an efficient steamer not having been accorded to me. So thoroughly is this the case, that I doubt if I shall ever again be able to undergo the fatigues which are necessarily incident to my position here. It is impossible, especially when in ill-health, to repress a sort of feeling of hopelessness at being thus left in a position of great difficulty whilst powerful steamers have been and are found for all the ordinary duties of visiting the ports of Australia and Van Diemen's Land, where no difficulties exist or have existed.”
On the 3rd February, 1863, Mr. Parris wrote from Taranaki: “I am of opinion that Tataraimaka ought to be taken possession of without a renewal of hostilities if carefully managed, by stationing not less than 100 troops there.” The blunders of 1859 ought to have prevented the Ministry from putting any faith in this statement, which was accompanied by another to the effect that the Ngatiruanui tribe kept their district closed, not only against Europeans but against natives serving the Queen. The Governor himself could hardly be deceived, for on the 9th and 14th February he forwarded to England hostile Maori letters which were sent to him by friendly chiefs, to warn him of danger. One, dated in December, 1862 (sent to Tauranga from Taranaki), urged immediate war if the steamer should be placed on the Waikato river. “Fire upon her at once…. If we see that the Governor takes forcible possession of Waireka and Tataraimaka we will slay him at once.”1
1 About this time H.M.S. ‘Orpheus’ was wrecked at the Manukau, and three Maoris were conspicuous for their daring gallantry in saving the lives of the English.
Mr. Fitzgerald, in a letter to Mr. Adderley, charged Sir George Grey with wrongly striving to build a bullet-proof redoubt at Kohe-kohe under the name of a court-house. Sir George Grey's denial of the charge as untrue contained ample proof that it was reasonable. The despatch (April, 1865) to Mr. Cardwell, introduced his responsible advisers upon the scene. In May, 1862 (Fox, Premier), they recommended that a court-house page 111 should be built. Tawhiao forbade it. In June, 1862, the same advisers advised that “a barrack for the accommodation of a native police force should be added to the court-house about to be built.” Sir George Grey thought that Te Wheoro the friend of the English “ought to be allowed to protect himself from violence in his own village, and that preparations should be made to resist the rebellion which I feared was about to break out, and I therefore acquiesced in the advice tendered to me.” All this might be true, and yet Mr. Fitzgerald's1 charge might be irrefutable. As it was perfectly well known to Sir George Grey and his advisers that the erection of any stronghold within the king's territory was tantamount to an act of war, the explanation to the Secretary of State did not convey the whole truth. When Kumete re-erected the boundary-mark pulled down by Mr. Gorst he showed the significance attached by the Maoris to the proceedings of the Government. The expulsion of Mr. Gorst was undertaken by the pertinacious Rewi; and though the narrative somewhat overlaps the course of events at Taranaki, it may be told in connection with the contest at Kohe-kohe.
In addition to the school at Te Awamutu there was an official newspaper2 devoted to countervail a Maori newspaper published by the king party at Ngaruawahia. The latter bore the evil name, ‘The Hokioi,’ a mythical invisible bird known only by its scream; the omen of war or other scourge. Patara, cousin of the king, was the editor. The Governor's paper was called “The Pihoihoi Mokemoke,” the solitary lark.3 An article on the evils of the king's government gave great offence by alluding to a gross but unpunished crime. If Matutaera had power to punish he was to blame for neglect. If he had not power, but pretended to have it, he was guilty of false pretences.
1 Mr. Fitzgerald erred in attributing to Mr. Domett the advice to erect a police station at Kohe-kohe, and Sir G. Grey took occasion in a separate despatch (No. 60; 7th May, 1865) to correct the error which was undeniable though not important.
3 Pihoihoi is rendered as the “ground lark” in Bishop Williams' ‘Maori Dictionary.’ I know not why the title of the paper has been translated as “the sparrow sitting on the house-top”—in some narratives.
One effect produced by the article was to cause suggestions that the ‘Pihoihoi’ should be destroyed and Mr. Gorst be driven away. At a time when the Maori mind was seething with apprehensions about the great river, Rewi sent eighty armed Ngatimaniapoto under Aporo, the orator who had confronted Mr. Fox, to destroy the Pakeha newspaper. He himself, with Te Rangitake, held aloof, about 300 yards from the school-buildings. Mr. Gorst was absent when the band arrived on the 24th March. Within the enclosure they had prayers, were stirred by a speech from Aporo, and then broke open the building in spite of the resistance of Pineaha, the Maori native teacher. Everything belonging to the printing-office was seized, and placed on two drays brought for the purpose. Taati and Te Oriori hearing of the outrage, hurried to the spot from Rangiaohia, and asked if Te Whero Whero's words, “Be kind to the Pakeha,” were forgotten. Matutaera's were the same. Hone Ropeha replied that he would trample on the king's words. Taati called for writing materials and took down the words. At dusk Taati returned to Rangiaohia, telling the schoolboys to inform him if further violence should be offered. The invaders camped in the printing-house and on the road, and set a guard. Mr. Gorst returned at eight o'clock in the evening. The late fellow of St. John's was in a situation which might curdle the blood of some men. Mrs. Gorst was at this remote dwelling, already in the power of a man whom Mr.C. W. Richmond had called “an essential savage, varnished over with the thinnest coating of Scripture phrases,”—for Te Rangitake, whose pah had been ravaged by the English, was on the spot with the fierce Rewi. But Mr. Gorst was bold in his bearing. In the morning chiefs arrived from Rangiaohia, and all day discussion lasted. Rewi was blamed for his conduct. Mr. Gorst was sent for, and Aporo told him to leave Awamutu. He declined. Rewi was unyielding, and all that the Rangiaohia friends could procure was a respite for Mr. Gorst until orders from Sir George Grey might arrive. Taati and Te Oriori entered the house to ensure the safety of Mr. Gorst and his family, while Rewi's guards surrounded it. Then through the intervention of a missionary, it was agreed that Mr. Gorst should ask the Governor's permission to leave Te Awamutu, Rewi surlily saying that if the page 113 Governor allowed Mr. Gorst to remain he should die. Mr. Gorst agreed in writing to ask for leave to go, and Rewi wrote to Sir George Grey: “If you say that he is to stay he shall die. Enough. Write speedily to remove him in three weeks.” The Maori schoolboys heightened the effect of the picture by asking Te Oriori to give them guns with which they said they could protect themselves against the Ngatimaniapoto. On the 26th March, Mr. Gorst was officially instructed by Mr. F. Dillon Bell, the Native Minister, to remove with his family and other Europeans, if he should be of opinion that remaining at Te Awamutu would be attended with any danger to life. Mr. Bell went to Taranaki, and sent thence instructions of a similar nature from the Governor. The king-maker arrived at Rangiaohia. His tribe disapproved of Rewi's proceedings. He told Mr. Gorst, nevertheless, that Rewi was obdurate, and the Europeans had better leave. The king-maker personally approved of the school, but Sir George Grey had said he would dig round the king, and when the king-maker looked to see where the digging was going on, he thought Mr. Gorst and the school were some of the spades. Yet he would not abet violence. Rather he warned Mr. Gorst about Rewi. Mr. Gorst said if the king could not control Rewi, the Governor's words were true, and the king had already fallen. “I think,” he wrote, “the chiefs winced a little at this, but Te Waharoa does not lose his temper in argument. It was pitiable to see a man of so noble a character with so base a part to play.” Having obtained permission to leave, if needful, Mr. Gorst endeavoured to maintain himself in his post. The Governor renewed the Native Minister's instructions, but took no notice of Rewi's letter to himself. Rewi was told that the Governor could not understand his proceedings, but did not wish Mr. Gorst to fall by his blade. He had no more to say. Rewi replied it was well that the Governor had said Mr. Gorst should go. But he was unwilling to abandon his post. He went to Ngaruawahia on the 13th April. He wrote his narrative from the printing-office of the ‘Hokioi,’ the Maori newspaper. On the 14th there was a meeting at which he remonstrated with the runanga. He was told that the Governor's words about digging round the king, the Kohe-kohe building plans, the pulling up of the boundary-post page 114 at Te Ia, the court-house at Awamutu, and the articles of the ‘Pihoihoi,’ were reasons why he should leave Waikato. He retorted that nothing could justify expulsion from his own land, and asked who would drive him away. “Who join in the deed?” he said. “All Waikato.” “Who are all Waikato? “Herewini pointed down the river, waved his wand round the horizon, and said, “From Tongariro to the sea all have agreed.” Mr. Gorst denied that Matutaera or Waharoa had consented. On the 15th, Matutaera wrote his decision as follows: “I said to Rewi,—O Rewi! leave these days to me; bring back all the property; let none be lost. I do not say that Mr. Gorst shall stay. He must go.” On the 17th, the printing-press was returned, and Mr. Gorst was at Auckland a few days afterwards, some of the scholars following him. The Rev. A. Purchas, medical commissioner, superintended the despatch of the school property, the premises being left in the care of two native teachers, one of whom, Pineaha, had risked his life in resisting the assault on the printing-office. The king-maker wrote a sorrowful letter, regretting Mr. Gorst's expulsion without a cause The king's sister, Te Paea, undertook to guard the premises against intrusion, and Rewi promised to respect her pledge. As to general policy Rewi was now in the ascendant; and the king and king-maker vainly deplored the rage for war which coursed through the violent Ngatimaniapoto. An armed band of 200 of them marched to the Taranaki district on the 18th April. A letter from Patara (editor of the ‘Hokioi’) to Tamati Ngapora (27th April), lamented the expulsion of Mr. Gorst and the contempt of the Ngatimaniapoto for the king's authority. Rewi even demanded that Te Ia should be given over to him to work his will upon, but this the runanga had successfully opposed. Strife was at the doors of all dwellers in the Northern Island. Until the day on which Governor Browne's seizure of the Waitara was approved by the Duke of Newcastle the Maori race venerated the justice of the Queen. Not even Sir George Grey could restore their confidence. His own seizure of Rauparaha by night was never forgotten, and bred distrust in spite of his general popularity. He went to Taranaki on the 4th March to deal with the difficulties arising from the recent war. He had waited until his military road to Waikato was completed, page 115 because if there were war, Auckland without that road was deemed indefensible. He professed to labour for peace while preparing for war. He resumed without opposition the Omata (12th March) and Tataraimaka (4th April) blocks at Taranaki. He instituted inquiries about Waitara which should have preceded the occupation of Tataraimaka.
1 Mr. Bell assisted Mr. Richmond in his fruitless endeavour to confute Sir W. Martin's arguments, and framed Colonel Browne's elaborate despatch of 4th December, 1860, in justification of the seizure of the Waitara block.
A heavier indictment could hardly have been framed against the Government of 1860. The facts now called new were urged by the king-maker in reply to the manifesto of the Governor in May, 1861; and in 1860 Mr.C. W. Richmond, acknowledging that there were some of Rangitake's people on the land, had called them encroachers.
Sir George Grey (22nd April) thanked his Ministers for their acquiescence as to the reserves. He prepared a summary of the existing condition of affairs, and recommended that the purchase should be abandoned, and a notice at once issued in the following terms: “The Governor directs it to be notified, that from facts now come to light, and not before known to him, he does not think that the purchase of the block of land at Waitara is either a desirable one, or such as the Government should make; that his Excellency therefore abandons the intention of making this purchase, and forfeits the deposit of £100 which the Government has made on this land.” He told his Ministers, in conclusion: “That the country was in such a state that he felt by no means confident that this act would quiet the minds of many of page 117 the Maoris. On the contrary, he thinks it may now be impossible to avoid some collision with them; but he believes it would at once win many over to the side of the Government; that it is a proper act, and that, if a contest must come, the closest scrutiny either in England or in the colony would result in an admission that every possible precaution had been taken to prevent the horrors of war.” Unhappily his contemplated restitution of the Waitara had been deferred until he had given offence at Tataraimaka. Nevertheless, if his Ministers had been prompt, the restitution might have averted war if they and the Governor honestly desired to avert it. But at this crisis they consumed more than a week in drawing up objections to the Governor's proposal. The facts appeared indisputable, having been voluntarily communicated to the Native Minister by Teira himself. “Ministers conclude with his Excellency that the (Stafford) Government was not aware of them.” They would not, with the facts before them, recommend a similar purchase; but they reflected on the support given to Mr.C. W. Richmond in the House, and they shrunk from doing justice. They feared to damage Teira's position, and dreaded lest an act of right should seem like concession to intimidation. The rod of the Assembly was over them. They consented to renounce the pahs and reserves around them, but shrunk from abandoning the remainder of the land. “Nevertheless, considering the great complexity of the whole case, the difficulty of the Governor's position, the critical state of the colony, and the aggravation of all these evils which might be produced by the opposition of the Ministry to any course which the Governor might feel compelled to adopt,” they would leave the decision with his Excellency, and assist him in carrying it out. On the evening of the 30th April they handed their tardy reply to the Governor. He answered on the 2nd May. The Ministry had said that the Native Minister was of opinion that the proprietary right of the sellers to the greater part of the block would be found valid. Sir George Grey anxious (he said) to make no mistake, asked at once for the evidence taken by Mr. Parris. The Native Minister replied that there was none except in the published letters and reports. “I ask in vain for evidence,” said the Governor, “and none can be produced.” On the 4th May, he again urged page 118 the open abandonment of the block. Precious time was lost in conferences. Mr. Bell went to consult with Teira and some of Te Rangitake's friends on the 24th May, and while doing so heard, by express message from the Governor, of murders committed on that day by Maoris at the south of Taranaki, where the Governor had already taken possession of the Tataraimaka block. At a later date (April, 1864) there was found in a captured pah1 a letter from Te Rangitake to other chiefs, saying: “If what the Governor says about Waitara is satisfactory there will be no difficulty about Tataraimaka. The sufficiency of what the Governor says must be this,—the giving back of Waitara into our hands, and then it will be right about Tataraimaka.” The letter was dated 1st February, 1863. How far the writer could have influenced his countrymen may be a matter of conjecture. It is not certain that if the Ministry had joined in the manly giving up of the Waitara the reclamation of Tataraimaka could have occurred without provoking war. It is certain that their obstructions tended to make war unavoidable. One Ministry directly brought about the war of 1860.2 Another indirectly ensured that of 1863. Sir George Grey cannot be acquitted of a blunder, for although the Ministry delayed the notification of the abandonment of the Waitara block, it can scarcely be contended that it was out of his power to postpone the resumption of the land at Tataraimaka. To follow the negotiations is a melancholy task, like that of tracing the body of a wounded friend by his blood.
1 ‘History of Taranaki,’ p. 239. B. Wells. 1878.
2 Mr. Weld, sensitive as to imputations against his absent friend, Governor Browne, wrote to a newspaper (18th May, 1863) denying strongly that in the negotiations between Governor Browne and Hapurona, in 1861 (after the king-maker had withdrawn the Waikato forces from Taranaki), any promise was given that if the Maoris were withdrawn the soldiers should be withdrawn also from the Waitara. Mr. Weld averred that he with Mr. Whitaker was present during the negotiations, and that the promise was only that a claim put forward peacefully should be investigated. But the investigation asked for by the Maoris, by Bishop Selwyn, and Sir William Martin, was a legal one, and an inquiry by Parris or a similar functionary could not adequately satisfy their demand. The vigour with which honourable men vindicated the proceedings at Waitara only furnished proof that judgment is blinded when feelings are roused. The value of Parris as an investigator was shown by Lieutenant Bates' easy discoveries.
1 Mr. Fox disingenuously concealed the delays caused by the Ministry. Fresh from the post of Premier in New Zealand, he said in his book, ‘The War in New Zealand’ (1866): “By one of those unfortunate errors which are apt to befall those who are too much given to diplomacy, Sir George Grey, for some unexplained reason” (having decided to give up Waitara and retake Tataraimaka) “reversed the process; without even giving a hint of his intention to surrender Waitara, he sent soldiers to occupy Tataraimaka.” Yet Mr. Fox had before him (when he wrote these words containing something more than “an unfortunate error”) the Parliamentary Papers, English and Colonial, quoted in the text, and cited in 1864 by Mr. Gorst in his book ‘The Maori King.’
On the evening of the 5th May, the Ministers earnestly consulted with Sir George Grey. Then, too late, they agreed to withdraw the troops from Waitara; to hold a meeting of the Ngatiawa at the place, and proclaim the abandonment of the block, and an amnesty for all offences connected with it. On the 6th, Sir George Grey had an interview with native chiefs (amongst whom was Horiana the daughter of Te Rangitake), and paved the way for their reconciliation with the friends of Ihaia. On the 7th, Lieutenant Bates met other chiefs, including Teira. He was told by Ihaia that the recent murders were “the act of the whole island for Waitara.” For seven long hours Lieutenant Bates prolonged his conference, and reported it to the Governor. On the 8th, the Governor in a brief minute declared his “decided opinion that the Government should forthwith announce in terms which the natives cannot misunderstand—that from facts recently come to their knowledge, they will not proceed further in the purchase of the land at the Waitara—that the Government does not claim that block of land, or assert any right of property in it.” Teira ought to be liberally treated. “The Governor would earnestly press that no time should be lost in taking positive steps in these matters.”
The Ministry had learned the value of promptitude. They replied on the 8th in a minute, concluding thus:—” It is evident from the despatch of the Duke of Newcastle, received yesterday, that the Imperial Government still maintain the opinion that the Waitara was ‘a settlers' war.’ It is in vain for Ministers any longer (in the midst of difficulties which require instant action) to contend against this view: it only remains for them to avoid the possibility of any war being renewed on any grounds that would admit of that assumption as to its character and origin, which would be the case were war to be renewed at Waitara. Independently of this consideration, the imminent danger of a general insurrection, if any fighting whatever takes place at the Waitara; the exposed position of the other settlements of the North Island, to which Ministers must mainly look; and the necessity of now employing a large body of troops to the south of New Plymouth, make it absolutely necessary to withdraw from any risk of a collision at the Waitara. This can only be done (notwithstanding the risk mentioned by Lieutenant page 121 Bates of the land being placed under the Maori king's authority) by the adoption of the Governor's proposal in his minute of to-day, and Ministers therefore concur in that proposal.” He hardly gives at all who gives too late. Had they, on the 22nd April, agreed to the immediate issue of the notice put before them by the Governor all might have been well. It was almost impossible that, in face of so dramatic and unforced an act, the Maoris would have directed an outbreak without previous and protracted discussions. In their cry of distress the Ministers revealed the motives of their final concession. The need of English forces to wage war, and the imminent danger to other settlements, extorted from them what no appeal to their sense of justice could procure. Their consent was hardly in his hands, when on the same day Sir G. Grey met a number of chiefs, of whom Ihaia was one. They had agreed to a re-union of the tribe at Waitara. The Governor announced the abandonment of all claim to the block. He renounced the purchase, as he believed Governor Browne would have renounced it, had the fact been before him, that to complete it more than 200 residents would have to be evicted. Nevertheless, in order to keep faith with Teira, the money promised would be paid, though not for the land. The land would revert to whatever its former ownership had been. The chiefs declared his words to be good. One wanted to know whether judgment in favour of Te Rangitake was implied. The Governor said he gave judgment for neither party. The invariable rule was not to turn off any residents in buying land. “Let all who lived there come back in peace if they choose.” Ihaia said: “We will receive the laws from your mouth. We fought for the Governor when he told us to fight, and we yield when the Governor tells us to yield.” He and Mahau declared they would never join the Maori king. The Governor said: “Come to me when any danger threatens, and I will take care of you.” The conference turned upon the important question of a general rising, in case the recent murders at Oakura should be punished. The Governor said retribution would overtake the murderers, and if the Waitara natives were disturbed they should see what measures he would take for their safety. The chiefs said: “We are now saved,” and despatched a messenger with the Governor's page 122 words to Mataitawa, where the Maoris, interested in the Tataraimaka block, were assembled. There were more discussions between the Governor and his Ministers, and nocturnal meetings with them and the General, before the troops were withdrawn on the 13th May. On the 11th May, by proclamation, the claim of the Government to the Waitara block was renounced, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council.
1 The statement in the text about his letter was made by Rewi in public in the author's hearing.
1 He succeeded in part. In the ‘Life of Bishop Selwyn’ (London: 1879) the author says that Sir George Grey, “when he heard of the murder, said: “Now I must give up the Waitara.” The accepted untruth has made it necessary to record the dates in the text with minuteness.
The reader will remember that Mr. Gorst's life was supposed to be in danger at the hands of Rewi in April, and that the Governor and his advisers had before them the erection of the Maori boundary-post at Maungatawhiri, the casting of timber into the river at Kohe-kohe, the expulsion of Mr. Gorst, the resumption of Tataraimaka, and the abandonment of Waitara. On the 4th May, a small party of men were escorting a military prisoner to Taranaki for trial. Lieutenant Trajett and Assistant-Surgeon Hope of the 57th, going to town on private business, travelled with them, making the party eight in number. At Oakura, between the Tataraimaka and Omata blocks they were fired on from an ambush, and at the first volley all but one or two were dead or mortally wounded. Then their heads were brutally cut with tomahawks. When resuming the Tataraimaka block the Governor had found, on consulting the General, that it would cost nearly £20,000 a year to hold it against hostile Maoris. As there were only twenty English owners of the 4000 acres composing it, he persuaded his Ministry to agree to purchase their rights. Mr. Brown, the Superintendent of the province, undertook (21st April) to propose, but not to support, a Bill to authorize the purchase. Taranaki maintained its impracticable character, and the Provincial Council rejected the Bill. At a time of such imminent public danger Mr. Brown argued that no coercion ought to be attempted “till it was shown that the owners either refuse to sell by arbitration, or ask a price for their land greater than it would be worth if it could be occupied in security.” In other words, the wrongs done by Governor Browne, and imputed by Mr. Fox to the instigation of Mr.C. W. Richmond and the Taranaki settlers, were to be maintained, and the sufferings they entailed were to be redressed by the General Government; and the Provincial Council was to withhold reasonable assistance. A petition to the Queen from the inhabitants at Taranaki declaring the compensation voted for them inadequate, was drawn up in March. Sir George Grey transmitted it to England on the 16th May, with a minute by his Ministers which showed that out of £200,000 voted for the general good at Taranaki, £120,000 were apportioned for compensation, £80,000 were retained for purposes of reinstatement of the province, and the province was enabled by page 125 local enactment, assented to by the Governor, to raise £50,000 by loan to meet claims for losses which the apportioned sum of £120,000 might be insufficient to meet. In a minute by the Governor at Taranaki (March, 1863), consenting to the arrangement of the loan, he said: “The great difficulty in my way is that the language of some few of the settlers has been such, in their efforts to force on a war, and in my opinion still continues to be such, that I fear it may be thought if the Government adopts the course I recommend that it will be believed by the persons I have alluded to that we have conceded this point of compensation in consequence of the system of intimidation pursued towards myself and the Government, and that this fancied success may lead to increased efforts to force me into a war with the natives. Still I would do what is right, and meet firmly the evil I anticipate.” It will have been observed that in consenting to Grey's policy about Waitara the Ministry referred to a despatch from the Duke of Newcastle as the turning-point which made it hopeless for them to contend any longer against the view that the Taranaki war had been a settlers' war. In the turmoil of events, while yet at Taranaki they found time to deal with the subject of colonial responsibility, discussed at great length by the Duke of Newcastle, as already related. “The Imperial Government acknowledged no indefinite obligation” to pacify the country, as seemed to be locally demanded. A diminution of the Imperial forces was to be expected, and the important step of placing the management of native affairs under the control of the General Assembly was sanctioned. The Treasurer, Mr. Reader Wood, was with a colleague at Auckland, and shrunk from paying over the large unpaid portion of the £120,000. In view of the additional forces asked for, and the probability of war, they thought they would not please the Assembly, nor comply with the Loan Act, “nor with financial prudence, if they were to assent to the distribution of any portion of the fund at the present time, by way of compensation to the Taranaki settlers.” Though Mr. Domett and Mr. Bell agreed with the Governor, they would not take the responsibility of over-ruling their colleagues, and the sum in question, £90,000, was not paid. It was agreed in June to pay interest upon it to the distressed Taranaki settlers until the page 126 Assembly could consider the subject. The Taranaki Provincial Council had in the mean time passed their own Loan Act for the sum of £50,000.
The Duke of Newcastle in a separate despatch expressed confidence in the vigour, ability, and public spirit of Sir George Grey, and explained that he had not meant in any past censures to impair his power of usefulness. It was with the Colonial Government and Legislature that he found fault. On the 14th May, with almost a certainty of a great war before them, the Ministry drew up a paper on the conduct of the Native Department. They referred to the resolutions of the representatives in August, 1862, on administration of native affairs. They declared that the most important business was the personal communication between the natives and the Governor, that to it the natives looked for guidance, and that while Sir George Grey was in the country the system must continue. Responsibility must thus be divided, the Governor being answerable to the Crown, and the Ministers to the Assembly. The position was admittedly anomalous, and practicable only where confidence was mutual between Governor and Ministers. Sir George Grey, on the 16th May, highly complimented his Ministers, especially Mr. Bell, on their ability, zeal, and cordiality. He reminded them, however, that when, in order to meet the supposed wish of the General Assembly, he had handed over responsibility for native affairs, the Assembly repudiated the arrangement, which had not been made by their desire. Nevertheless the Native Department had remained under the control of the Ministers; and “he had consequently never been able to act in native matters with that vigour and promptitude which he believed essential to successful administration.” If such had been the case under Mr. Bell, what might have been the result with a Native Minister less able and less acquainted with native affairs? Feeling strongly “the great evils resulting to both races from the present system, in which all power rests really in the hands of his Ministers, whilst responsibility rests upon himself, and that there can consequently be no rapidity of decision or vigour of action in native affairs in this most important crisis of the history of the colony, the Governor begs Ministers to accede to the advice of Her Majesty's Government by acting page 127 on the principle that the administration of native affairs should remain as it now is with them, and that the Governor will be generally bound to give effect to the policy which they recommend for his adoption and for which they will be responsible.” The plan would “simply give Ministers who have now all the real power the means of using that power vigorously and promptly, whilst their rapidity of decision and action must necessarily be quickened by the sense of the great responsibility that will rest upon them.” He would assist them to the best of his power. The Ministers admitted the accuracy of the Governor's reference to the resolutions of the House, and, learning that in his opinion the system worked badly, expressed their readiness to concur until the next session with any agreement whatever to remedy the evils of the crisis. But they considered themselves precluded by the resolutions from accepting the position in which the Duke of Newcastle wished to place them. If in peace the Assembly refused to take the direction of affairs it could not be supposed they would do so when war was imminent. Sir George Grey (20th May) did not think the resolutions precluded the Ministry from assuming responsibility. The Assembly would treat with generosity all assuming responsibility at such a crisis. “Ministers must allow some latitude of expression to the Governor at the present moment when life, property, wives, children—all that men hold dear—are in imminent peril over a large extent of country.” He had hoped that the Ministers would have suggested some plea. As they had thrown the task upon him, and as he believed not a moment was to be lost, he would urge that to the administration of native affairs should be added the “control of militia and volunteers, of the local forces of every kind, of the funds voted for public purposes, of the Post Office; in fact of nearly every Government establishment in the country. At the present instant, which he believes to be one of as great public peril as he has ever known, the Governor thinks that whoever is to govern the country should be armed with every power which the State confers on those who rule it.” In such a crisis those powers should be increased. Men must rise equal to emergencies. “The Ministry can in a moment assume these powers; they virtually have them now. They are the con- page 128 stitutional depositories of them, and the Colonial Secretary (Mr. Domett) is the person upon whom properly the chief direction and responsibility should rest. If Ministers will not assume what the Governor believes to be their duty, and exercise these powers, and take that responsibility which goes hand in hand with power, then the Governor thinks they should under present circumstances relinquish them to him until the Assembly meets. The Governor thinks that Ministers will excuse him for pressing this advice upon them; but his doing so at this critical time is a necessity of the position of responsibility in which the General Assembly and Ministers have, against his will, placed him.” The Ministers then at Taranaki postponed till a more convenient season their reply to this appeal. They had to consult their colleagues in Auckland. It was impossible, Domett wrote, “to convey to his Excellency at that moment any expression of the opinion of Ministers as a body.” But while avoiding what he called “the theoretical question of responsibility,” he submitted to his colleagues a long minute (23rd May) on the crisis. It did not rise to the height of the argument; and contains so little pith that hardly a passage can be quoted as significant. He recommended that a proper proportion of militia should be called into active service in the Northern Island. The Taranaki militia, 500 in number, cost £36,500 a year; and while the Otago gold-fields courted labourers, the militia pay (2s. 6d. per day with rations), could not be reduced, but perhaps would require augmentation: but the House of Representatives “had not voted one penny to meet the expenses attending a state of war.” Active operations by the military were required to convince the Maoris that it was their interest to be at peace, but everybody said that many more troops than were in the colony would be required to secure “chance of success.” It would be a bad example to abandon the Tataraimaka block, but if preservation of other settlements required the sacrifice, a bad example could not be helped. In such a manner did Mr. Domett rise to the emergency. Mr. Bell thought the force in the country insufficient for offensive operations, and the calling out of the militia useless. The Governor replied on the following day. Ministers appeared to think that the necessity to call out the militia and volunteers page 129 depended on whether aggressive movements were to be made or a defensive position maintained. He could not concur in his opinion as regarded Auckland. An aggressive movement would probably create a general rising, and certain settlements ought to be made secure before making any aggressive movement. He submitted that it was needful, not to determine what should be done for the defence of the colony in event of a general rising, but forthwith to take such active measures as might probably prevent such rising, and place the colony in a thorough state of preparation, thus encouraging friends, disheartening enemies, and placing Europeans in security. He was bound to express this opinion, for he had asked for large reinforcements, and would find it difficult to justify his having done so unless the colony by corresponding efforts showed its sense of the impending danger.
At a later date, in Auckland, after numerous conferences, the Ministry addressed themselves to the question which the rejection by the Duke of Newcastle of the resolutions of the General Assembly had created. In ordinary times there would be but one course open, viz. to convene the Assembly. But imminent war gave no time for debates. Ministers could not attend to departmental duties and prepare measures for the Assembly in such a crisis. Waiving the permanent settlement of the principle of responsibility, Ministers would temporarily accept the following position. The Governor had recently told the Executive Council—that the Taranaki question could not be settled while Waikato was the centre of disaffection, and Auckland was in danger of invasion; that, by concert with the General, the Governor's attempt to arrange affairs at Taranaki was tentative; and that, in case of interference by the Waikatos at Taranaki, Auckland was not to be jeopardized, but the forces were to return thither, and, after the Waikato tribes had been brought to terms, affairs at Taranaki were to be put in order. The Governor's plan was to make the southern bend of the Waikato river a line of defence, with military posts on the north bank and armed steamers on the water; to guard the line between the bend of the river and the Hauraki Gulf with fortified posts, and the Gulf by a steamer; afterwards to throw forward military posts and occupy Paetai and Ngaruawahia, where another page 130 steamer was to be stationed. Hostile natives residing within the line of defence were to be banished, lands of hostile Waikatos were to be confiscated, portions being given to military settlers, and the remainder sold to defray the expenses of the war. Militia and volunteers were everywhere to be called out, and confiscation was to follow hostility at other settlements.
The minute (24th June, 1863) declared—Ministers cordially concur in these plans of his Excellency, and they are willing to take upon themselves the responsibility for their adoption, on the understanding that they will be carried out as a whole, the colonial funds bearing all the expense of militia and volunteers. They thought notice should at once be given, that lands of natives taking arms against the Queen would be forfeited, and they anticipated the approval of the Assembly of the whole scheme. Sir George Grey pointed out that the Ministers had left untouched the general question of responsibility, and the relations of the Governor to his advisers. He forbore to press it at such a time, thanked them for their hearty co-operation, and hoped that the General Assembly would be called together as early as the public good permitted, in order that he might be legally invested with powers which he was temporarily forced to assume under heavy responsibility. These documents were laid before the Assembly on the 19th October, and, if translated for the Maoris, must have shown them that, while professing peaceful desires, the Governor and his advisers were intent upon war.
1 Such a conclusion was natural in the mind of any one ignorant of the correspondence between the Governor and his Ministers. Mr. Fitzgerald in the end of 1864, in published letters, upbraided Sir G. Grey for having taken no steps for eighteen months to redeem his promise to inquire into the affairs of the Waitara purchase. Sir G. Grey replied that from “the moment of my arrival in the colony I did my best … to persuade the natives… but no persuasion on my part or that of others could induce them to agree to such an inquiry.” But the inquiry on the spot, made by Lieutenant Bates, might have been made in 1861 as easily as in 1863, and a timely abandonment of a false position might have averted further trouble. As to the resumption of Tataraimaka, Sir George Grey said he would under like circumstances “do it again,”—that Mr. Fitzgerald neither understood Englishmen nor barbarous men; and that to have done otherwise would have encouraged barbarians to attempt the conquest of new homesteads— the capture of more booty (Despatch, April, 1865). Sir George Grey is entitled to his explanation for what it is worth, but it entirely disregards the important element of time.
At four o'clock on the morning of the 4th of June, the Governor left Taranaki in H.M.S. ‘Eclipse.’ At nine o'clock on the night of the 3rd, General Cameron had marched by land to a concerted attack on the rebels at the Katikara river. The ‘Eclipse,’ on her voyage, took part in the action. Protected by the fire from the ‘Eclipse,’ and of Armstrong guns served by the Royal Artillery, the men of the 57th, 65th, and 70th Regiments (the land force being 771 in number) crossed the river gallantly in spite of heavy fire from rifle-pits and redoubt. The General witnessed the desperate resistance of the enemy, and the rush of the soldiers as they entered the work and shot or bayoneted all the Maoris left within. Twenty-eight were found dead in the redoubt. The English loss was three killed and eight wounded. The flight was precipitate, and the ‘Eclipse’ threw shells on the fugitives as they ran. The General praised all the officers and civilians engaged, and could not refrain from mentioning Major Whitmore, his former Assistant Military Secretary, who had settled in the colony, but, happening to arrive at Taranaki the day before the action, insisted on accompanying the troops into the field.
It was essential to ascertain how the Oakura massacre was regarded by the Maori king. Mr. Rogan, an officer of the Native Department, essayed the dangerous task of carrying a letter. After repeated stoppages he reached Ngaruawahia, where, though he did not see the king, he ascertained the opinions of others. The king-maker boldly declared that the Tataraimaka murders were wrong. Rewi said the deed was not murder, but the re-establishment of a righteous war. It was rumoured that there was vehement altercation between them. It was said that Rewi wished to attack the villages near Auckland—nay Auckland itself—while the Governor and General Cameron were at Taranaki. But Rewi has averred that his advice was, that Sir George Grey should be met fairly if he respected the boundary at Maungatawhiri, and that if he crossed it he “should be met roughly.” Mr. Gorst declares that the king-maker went down the river to visit Waata Kukutai, the page 133 Queen's magistrate, thinking the time had arrived for all who loved peace to combine to ensure it. “The members of the Government, however, in Auckland, did not like Te Waharoa. Few Europeans knew him personally, and it was the fashion to believe him insincere. No encouragement was on this occasion held out to him, nor were any negotiations entered into. He was left to struggle unaided against the flood of confusion which the acts of Government had let loose.” Such was the verdict of an intelligent eye-witness, himself recently expelled by Rewi from Te Awamutu, and consequently free from unreasonable bias towards the Maoris. But amongst the colonists the rumours of a contemplated attack upon Auckland were revived. At Auckland there was such a sense of impending danger as is felt in the lull which precedes the bursting of a storm. The plans of the Governor and his advisers were not calculated to dispel alarm. With them, indeed, was the choice of good or evil. The Maori king was unpledged to violence, and Rewi was too astute to commit himself to war without support. Moreover, it was always the desire of a Maori to evade the responsibility of a quarrel until his antagonist had put himself in the wrong by some act which could be construed as a ta-ke, or just cause of war.
Neri went to Auckland and talked to the Governor about the Maori king. The Governor told him that if he remained an hour in Auckland he should be put to gaol. Aporo, the ring-leader of the attack on the printing-press, went to Auckland on private business. He was arrested in the Native Office and committed on a charge of felony. Mr. Gorst, his former victim, tells the tale with shame. There was never, he says, any animus furandi, yet the Auckland jury, enemies of his tribe, hating him for his political opinions, found the undefended prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for theft. Mr. Gorst says: “It was expected, and I am sorry to say hoped, by many that either the dismissal of Neri or the seizure of Aporo would so enrage the Waikatos that they would attack us; but they remained steady to their original resolution that the Pakeha should begin the war.” He who was called savage did not allow himself to be provoked by the lawless acts of him who was called civilized. Many in Waikato had never approved the attack on page 134 Te Awamutu, and they declined to seem to justify it by making common cause with Aporo. But, prophetic in their thoughts, the Maoris removed to a more distant resting-place the bones of their ancestors, buried at Onehunga, near Auckland. Nevertheless, on the 16th June, the wise and well-informed Archdeacon Maunsell, while sending Maori letters written in alarm, told the Governor that he had received indisputable information that at that date the Maori king and Te Waharoa were desirous of peace. On the 9th July the Governor called on all Maoris living in the Manukau district and thence to the Waikato frontier to swear allegiance to the Queen and to surrender their arms. Those obeying would be protected, those refusing were warned to retire beyond Maungatawhiri under pain of ejection if they did not comply with the Governor's orders. He justified this step by saying it was impossible to leave a disaffected population in rear of the General's forces. Mr. Gorst, Major Speedy, Mr. Armitage, and Mr. Halse were among the persons directed to seize fire-arms and to administer the oath of allegiance in all the Maori villages from Auckland to the Queen's Redoubt on the borders of the Waikato territory, where the Maori boundary existed. On the way to Mangere Mr. Halse met Tamati Ngapora, the king's councillor. After a friendly meal at a missionary's house, the Governor's hostile notice was read to the chief. He listened gravely and asked that it might be read a second time. After a short silence he said to the missionary: “Is the day of harvest close at hand?” Yes. “Why were not the wrongs of Waikato first discussed?” Mr. Halse said he could not discuss that question. Ngapora said: “If I have any influence there will be no fighting. I have dear friends amongst the Pakeha and amongst the Maoris. Why are they to be slain? I will not cease to urge that there be investigation.” He crossed the Manukau waters to his abode at Mangere. On the morning Mr. Halse followed him and read the Governor's notice to the Maoris assembled. One by one, after intervals of significant silence, they intimated that they chose exile rather than submission to the Governor's demands. Ngapora reclined upon the ground. When the views of all the others had been made known he sat up and said: “Last night I made known the notice without attempting to influence the decision of the page 135 people. You have now heard their words. I have nothing to add to what I said last night. We are one tribe and cannot be separated.” He reclined again and there was general silence. Almost without exception the Maoris abandoned their homes in distrust. In the surprise which overwhelmed them they took some thought for the places which they held in veneration. When Mr. Halse, after distributing notices on his way, reached Pukahi, the chief Mohi had just gone with Bishop Selwyn to point out a burial-ground, and entrust it, with the native church, to the Bishop's care. When Mohi returned, Mr. Halse announced the object of his visit. “He asked for a copy of the notice. I gave him one and he read it aloud to the people present. Repeating the decision of his people to go to the Waikato he went into his house, where Bishop Selwyn was seated.” Another chief, Ihaka, was ill, and the exiles paused at Kirikiri. Mr. Gorst considered that the decree of banishment was harshly enforced, and that much property was seized by the colonial forces and by the settlers. Bishop Selwyn, as usual, was active in doing good and restraining evil. At Kirikiri Mr. Gorst, in company with Bell, saw Mohi and the ailing Ihaka. Mohi declared that he had ever been opposed to Rewi's warlike projects, but that as the Governor had passed the Rubicon (Maungatawhiri), he must join his people and live or die with them. That night peremptory instructions arrived from Auckland, under which Ihaka and the infirm, with women and children, were seized. In some manner, never explained, Mohi with the able-bodied joined his brethren in arms. Sir George Grey informed the Assembly that he believed Ihaka to be deeply involved in a scheme to attack Auckland.
Tamati Ngapora's retirement was dramatic. He was conducting the service at Mangere in his Maori church when word was brought that left no doubt as to the danger of remaining within the Governor's reach. Gravely and silently he put down his book, and when he gained the outer air swiftly shook the dust of Mangere from his feet and with his people flitted to Waikato. He was too wary to remain within reach of the captor of Rauparaha. His Maori book was found in the church where he left it, and a thoughtful Pakeha secured it with the hope that it might in happier days revert to its owner. The page 136 hope was gratified after many years. mr. Armitage, who went to Tuakau to serve the notices, was an old resident at Waikato. One chief professed willingness to take the oath of allegiance, but another by threats prevented Armitage from administering it. Armitage wrote: “I have sent notices to several king natives at the Onewhero and Takihakahi to leave that part of the river. I have done so for my own personal safety in passing to and fro between the Ia and Cameron.”
On the 15th July another notification, under the Governor's hand, appeared at Auckland, after the General had entered upon active war by crossing the recognized boundary. It imputed a desire for war to the Maoris. It declared that “for the protection of all” military posts will be established at Waikato. “I now call on all well-disposed natives to aid the Lieutenant-General to establish and maintain these posts and to preserve peace and order. Those who remain peaceably at their own villages in Waikato, or move into such districts as may be pointed out by the Government, will be protected in their persons, property, and land. Those who wage war against Her Majesty, or remain in arms, threatening the lives of her peaceable subjects, must take the consequences of their acts, and they must understand that they will forfeit the right to the possession of their lands guaranteed to them by the treaty of Waitangi, which lands will be occupied by a population capable of protecting for the future the quiet and unoffending from the violence with which they are now so constantly threatened.” Dated the 11th July, and carried in Maori language to various places, the notification emanated from the Colonial Secretary's Office on the 15th. The Governor's averments could not disguise the fact that he and not the Maoris had committed acts of violence. The threat of confiscation of land supplied the reason. The king-maker wrote to ask the Governor why he had not followed the Maori example. All the Europeans in Waikato had been sent away in safety with all their property. “Why has the property of the Maoris been plundered?—and why have Ihaka and the women and children been taken prisoners?” Before his letter was received blood had been shed.
After the known decisions of the Maori king's council about the Waikato district, the crossing of the Maungatawhiri and the page 137 notification of the Governor were accepted as a declaration of war. On the 12th July, General Cameron crossed the Maungatawhiri with 380 men; encamped at Koheroa, and commenced building a redoubt to command the river and secure his communications. The cutter of H.M.S. ‘Harrier’ and other boats had been carried overland to assist in descending the Maungatawhiri from the termination of the new road. About 30 Maori canoes were destroyed on the assumption that war had begun. The Bishop and the good Archdeacon Maunsell volunteered to minister the offices of religion to the army, and were permitted to do so. They hoped to mitigate the horrors of war, and to extend their ministrations to the Maoris. Mr. Meredith and his son, settlers near Drury, were found dead, and no one doubted that the Maoris had killed them on the 15th July. Gloom if not panic overshadowed Auckland and the rural settlers. On the 16th, Colonel Murray proceeded at daylight to arrest as many Maoris as he could. He captured thirteen men, seven women, and eight children near Drury, but the main body of the villagers escaped. The conduct of the troops under heavy rain elicited the admiration of the Colonel commanding. On the 17th the officer in command at Koheroa observed the Maoris collecting on hills in front. Detachments of the 12th, 14th, and 70th, in all 500 men, at once proceeded in skirmishing order to the attack. Firing on both sides ensued, and from recently-constructed rifle-pits the natives were driven in spite of great obstinacy, until finally they escaped across the Maramarua river by swimming or in canoes. General Cameron, who was in front, thought the Maoris engaged to be 300. More than twenty were found dead. About twelve of the 14th Regiment were wounded, half of them dangerously. On the same day Captain Ring, marching with a convoy from the Queen's Redoubt at Maungatawhiri to Drury, was fired upon. Four soldiers were killed and ten wounded before the remnant of the party could find shelter at the house of one Mr. Martyn, till reinforcements arrived. Some of the enemy were seen to fall. The simultaneous movements in front and rear of the General were received as proof that a raid upon Auckland had been maturely planned by the Maoris. They also showed that ambush and sudden surprise were tactics relied upon. There was more skirmishing on the 22nd. Captain Ring reported: “I lost one page 138 man killed, whose rifle and bayonet were taken possession of by the natives, though not without serious loss to them. … I remained in the entrenched position till close on sunset, keeping a steady fire on the enemy, who were endeavouring to obtain the body and ammunition of the private who was killed.” Reinforcements arrived, the Maoris drew off, and the body of their dead comrade was recovered by the English.
Wisely had the Maori king's friends decided that no steamer should ply on the waters of the Waikato. With equal wisdom had Governor Grey determined otherwise. Captain J. C. Mayne, of H.M.S. ‘Eclipse,’ took the ‘Avon’ steamer in tow at Onehunga, on the 16th July, and after some days' detention at the Manukau bar crossed the Waikato bar with the ‘Avon’ on the 25th; and on the 27th, after various groundings, anchored her at the Bluff, near the junction of the Waikato and Maungatawhiri. Everything had thus been done which the Waikato tribes had opposed. Maoris had been driven from their pillaged homes. The Waikato frontier had been crossed. A war-steamer had been placed on the river. Not to fight would have been an abject acceptance of slavery, if not of reputation as cowards. The genius of the Maori race was abhorrent of both conditions. Better death with honour than peace with shame. It was reported and believed that among the Maoris who fell at Koheroa were many who were loyal to the Queen until her forces passed the Maungatawhiri. They then said: “Injustice is being done, and we must cast in our lot with our countrymen.” Again, therefore, as at Taranaki, an overt act of violence in the name of the Queen provoked war, and Sir George Grey and his advisers deserve the credit or the shame. And now the long-suffering of the king-maker was exhausted. He, too, yielded to the national feeling, and announced his intentions to his old friend, Archdeacon Brown, on the 25th July:
“Salutations. Friend, hearken. The reasons were many that induced me to consent to view the work between the Waikato and the Governor. This is a word of mine to let you know my views. I shall spare neither unarmed people nor property. Do not suppose that the Waikatos are wrong and the Governor right. No; I consider that he is wrong. The faults that I have seen are—1st, I said to him, Leave these years to me, do not go to page 139 Tataraimaka; leave me to talk to the Ngatiruanui; do not persist, that tribe is still hostile. It was Governor Browne who taught them. That hot-tempered Governor said that all the land over which he had trod should be his, i. e. Waitara. The Taranakis then said with regard to Tataraimaka, Very good; and we also will hold the land over which our feet have trod. Governor Grey, however, did not agree to my proposal. 2nd, The Governor persisting in Mr. Gorst staying as a magistrate in the midst of the Maoris. I said to Mr. Gorst, Go back, the Maoris do not want you. But the Governor still persisted in sending Mr. Gorst. Now it appears that it was for the purpose of provoking a war that he persisted. 3rd, The taking up of the post at Maungatawhiri. 4th, The unwarrantable conduct of the soldiers in driving the Maoris off their own land at Pokeno. 5th, The ‘ma-te’ (defeat or) death of the Waikatos you have heard and know. The law discriminates in cases of crime and does not include the many. These are the wrongs that I have seen. Father, listen. I have consented to attack the whole of the town. If they prove the strongest well and good. If the Maoris prove the strongest this is how it will be—the unarmed people will not be left. Enough,—you hear what I say.
“From your son,“
Wiremu Tamihana te Waharoa.”
The Governor transmitted this warning to the Duke of Newcastle, who was “shocked and disappointed” by it. Had he been sufficiently shocked at the crime of his own countrymen at Waitara he would not have needed to blush for Te Waharoa. Archdeacon Browne explained that the threat of sparing neither unarmed people nor property was not to be taken literally, and Te Waharoa's subsequent career justified the explanation. The officer in command at Wanganui forwarded letters to show that on the 17th July the Waikato had provided for simultaneous attacks on Taranaki and Te Kahakaha, and that onslaughts on Wellington and Napier had been ordered. Rumour was multiplied upon rumour. Under these dangers the inhabitants at Auckland bestirred themselves to the Governor's satisfaction. On the 1st August he reported that about 3000 were under arms and in active service.
1 Mr. Gillies, the first Attorney in the Domett Ministry, was succeeded by Mr. Sewell after a few days. Sewell held office from August, 1863, to the end of the year, and then Whitaker, not in the Cabinet, becaine Attorney-General.
While the English were invading, and preparing for confiscation of, the land of the Maoris, the latter were not idle. The tocsin sent to the tribes was an ancient war-song; the same with which the Waikato chiefs had urged the Taranaki natives to action.
“Red plume, red plume,
Plume of the kaka!
Rehearse it a Kawhia.
Cartridge, one, three, four, O Matamata!
Lay hold, and bring the strong
That cannot be unfastened.
Grasp firm your weapons!
Transmitting it to England on the 31st August, the Governor said there was proof that it had been widely circulated from Wellington northwards throughout the tribes. With it a letter urged them, now that “The law of God was completed and the law of man to be done, to clear out their yard and the Waikatos would clear out theirs (i. e. you clear off the Pakehas from your part, and we will clear them from ours”).
At Waikanae and at Otaki, Dr. Featherston, Superintendent of the province of Wellington, met the Maoris at their request. He was notable for having opposed in the Assembly the grasping policy of Mr.C. W. Richmond at Waitara, and could claim to be heard as a well-wisher to the natives. He dissuaded them from making common cause with Rewi, whom he accused of instigating the Tataraimaka murders. They admitted having received a letter from the Maori king urging them to take up arms. They condemned the Tataraimaka murders, but would not repudiate their king. If the militia were kept away from their districts there would be no disturbance. But they looked with suspicion on the Governor's movements as a prelude to page 143 confiscation of lands. Let troops be kept away. They thanked Dr. Featherston for his visit, and some of them supplied him with reports of their speeches. Heremia said: “If the Governor attacks our king, we shall be evil; don't say this is a murder.”
1 “The act is a disgrace to our cause… if it be not publicly censured by the authorities the Government of New Zealand will be irretrievably disgraced. If the natives had thus desecrated one of our burial-grounds! The bodies were not even the bodies of enemies” (MS. by Swainson, the first Attorney-General).
1 As an instance he quoted a document, printed for the General Assembly and sent to England, in which the natives were made to speak of their desire “to retain possession of the law handed down to them from their ancestors and father.” On referring to the Maori original Sir George Grey found that the word “land,” not “law,” had been used.