New Zealand and the War.
Progress and Prospects of the Colony.—The recent Gold Discovery.—Increase of Population.—The New Zealand Constitution.—New Provinces.—The Church Constitution.—Synodical Action.—“Land Leagues.”—The Maori a “King Movement.”—Policy of Sir George Grey.
Various and valuable as are its known productions, the natural resources of New Zealand have as yet been very imperfectly developed; but the estimate which was formed of its advantages as a field for British colonization has been verified in almost every particular: and when the confidence of the Natives shall be restored, and when the measures now being taken, under the able administration of Sir George Grey, for page 2 establishing peace, order, and government amongst them, shall be completed, New Zealand will assuredly rank as the most attractive and important of our possessions in the Southern Hemisphere.
When the Colony was first founded, neither gold nor wool was counted amongst its probable productions: and the Southern Island was comparatively unknown. But the discovery of a valuable gold-field in the Province of Otago, commencing about thirty or forty miles southward of Dunedin, already promises the most important consequences. In the course of a few weeks 10,000 persons, chiefly from the Australian Colonies, were attracted to the Province, and were engaged in the search for gold. Gold to the value of more than 100,000l. has for some weeks been carried by escort from the ground; in proportion to the numbers employed, the yield largely exceeds the richest of the Victoria gold-fields, and within less than three months the population of the Province was more than doubled.
According to the Official Returns for the year 1860, the English population of New Zealand, amounting to upwards of eighty thousand, was page 3 distributed amongst the several Provinces as follows:—
|English Population.||Maori Population: 1857.|
|Province of Auckland||23,732||38,269|
|Province of Taranaki||1,239*||3,015|
|Province of Wellington||13,049||8,099|
|Province of Hawkes Bay||2,028||3,673|
|Province of Nelson (including Marlborough)||10,178||1,220|
|Province of Canterbury||12,784||638|
|Province of Otago (including Southland)||12,691||525|
* A large number of the wives and children of the Taranaki settlers had been temporarily removed from the province in consequence of the war.
Previous to the recent gold discovery, wool was the great staple product of New Zealand. In the course of seven years the quantity produced has increased sevenfold; and the value of the wool now annually exported from the Colony amounts to more than half a million sterling. It is grown chiefly on the grassy plains of the south; but wool of superior quality is also grown on the cultivated pastures of the Province of Auckland. Sheep-farming, even on the grassy plains and rich pastures of New Zealand, is not without its vicissitudes; but, under the eye of the master, and with ordinary care and attention, it is found to yield a profitable return for the capital employed in it. But nearly the whole of the crown-land available for pastoral purposes is already occupied by a few extensive run-holders, who have for some time been in the receipt of a very considerable income.
A gold-field has for some time been worked in the Province of Nelson which produces a yield of about 50,000l. a year. Gold has also been discovered in the Northern Island; and permis- page 5 sion has recently been obtained from the Natives to search over the gold-bearing district of the North; and the offer of a free grant of forty acres of land to each immigrant is again, since peace has been restored, attracting to the Province of Auckland a stream of valuable settlers. The other provinces, with the exception of Taranaki, are also making steady progress.
In both Islands the soil and climate have been proved to be adapted to the growth of every description of farm produce. Of the thirty millions of acres of land which have been acquired from the Natives, almost 150,000 acres have been brought into cultivation; and the colonists are already rich in live-stock of every description. More than 15,000 horses, 150,000 head of cattle, and upwards of two millions of sheep, are owned by the settlers alone. The country is liable neither to oppressive heat, severe frost, nor destructive drought; but the climate will disappoint those who expect perpetual sunshine and an atmosphere undisturbed by wind or rain. The weather is changeable, and the seasons are uncertain; but the climate is mild and healthy, and better suited to the English constitution than that page 6 of Canada, Australia, or the Cape of Good Hope. For those who are liable to pulmonary disease, there are districts in New Zealand which, as a place of residence, are hardly inferior to Madeira itself, and greatly superior to any part of Italy or the south of France. But in spite of all warning, numbers leave England for the Colonies who are utterly unfitted for a settler's life, not a few of whom find their way to New Zealand; with these exceptions, the settlers who have been steady and industrious have bettered their condition, and the greater number have laid the foundation of an early independence.
* Hawkes Bay, Marlborough, and Southland.
The Natives of New Zealand, like ourselves, appreciate the advantage of law and order; but, like ourselves, they also prefer self-government to being governed by a stranger. They say that it is not just that the Maories should be placed entirely in the power of the white man; that salt water and fresh water do not mix well together; and that if their affairs are to be put into the hands of any assembly, they should be placed in the hands of an assembly consisting of their own race. No one would have desired to see the whole of the Natives at once placed on the electoral roll;—but in the first instance, it was generally understood that the Natives, as page 9 well as the Colonists, if they were the owners or the individual occupiers of lands or tenements of the value prescribed by the Constitution, would be qualified to vote at the election of Members of the Colonial Legislature; and several of them claimed to be placed upon the electoral roll, and gave their votes at the election, but their claims to vote as owners or occupiers of land held under native tenure was soon called in question. The late Governor's advisers declared the opinion that it is just in itself, and a political necessity, that no electoral qualification should be derived from the tenure or occupation of lands or tenements which are not held under a Crown title; and in pursuance of a Resolution of the House of Representatives, the question was submitted to the Attorney and Solictor-General, whether the Natives can have such possession of any land that is used or occupied by them in common as tribes or communities, and not held under title derived from the Crown, as would qualify them to become electors. The opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown brought to light the fact that the Natives have hitherto been left as entirely without law or tribunal for the determination of questions page 10 relating to territorial rights, as they were before the discovery of the country by Captain Cook. “Suppose,” say the Law Officers of the Crown, “in a district of Native land lying within the limits of an Electoral District, that one Native by consent of the rest is permitted to have exclusive possession of a piece of land, in which he builds a Native hut for his habitation, but is afterwards turned out or trespassed on by another Native: could he bring an action of ejectment or trespass in the Queen's Court in New Zealand? Does the Queen's Court ever exercise any jurisdiction over real property in a Native district? We presume,” they say, “this question must be answered in the negative; and it must of necessity therefore follow that the subjects of householding, occupancy and tenements, and their value in Native districts, are not matters capable of being recognized, ascertained, or regulated by English law.” And on the question submitted to them they gave their opinion in the negative. And it has since been admitted by the Colonial Department that the New Zealand Constitution was framed in forgetfulness of the large Native Tribes within the dominions in which it was intended to apply.page 11
If a separation shall take place between the Northern and Southern Islands, the Constitution must of necessity be revised, and an opportunity will be afforded of reconsidering its provisions. But whatever may be its defects, it has proved generally acceptable at least to the English Colonists, and largely instrumental in promoting the progress of the several principal settlements. On leaving the Colony, Governor Browne had the satisfaction of receiving an address from the House of Representatives, assuring him of their appreciation of his endeavours to facilitate the operation of responsible government in the Colony, and to fulfil the promises which he made prior to its introduction. So far also as relates to the Colonists themselves, the experiment of introducing the “responsible” system has been conducted with prudence and moderation. Able men have been found amongst the Colonists to undertake the management of public affairs. The fittest men have hitherto had no difficulty in finding seats in the House of Representatives; and the debates in the Assembly have been conducted with acknowledged ability.page 12
The measures which were prepared by the General Conference for organizing a system of government for the Church in New Zealand have been completed; and though based only on the principle of voluntary compact, they promise to be productive of useful results. If the subject of organizing a constitutional government for the Church of England shall ever become a question of practical importance, something may be learned from the New Zealand experiment. It must be interesting indeed, under any circumstances, to witness the difficulties which churchmen have to encounter when thrown upon their own resources in a new country, without law or organization, without endowments, and beyond the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical tribunals of the mother country.
Regulations had already been made by the General Conference, prescribing the number of members of which the first General Synod should consist; but no provision was made for the constitution of future General Synods; so the first business of the first General Synod, held at Wellington on the 8th of March, 1854, was to prepare a measure for the purpose. And it was provided that in future the General Synod page 13 should consist of the several Bishops for the time being; of eighteen Clerical Representatives, to be elected by the clergy; and of twenty-nine Lay Representatives, to be elected by the laity: that every layman of the age of twenty-one years, or upwards, who shall sign a declaration that he is a member of the United Church of England and Ireland, shall be entitled to vote at the election of Lay Representatives for the district in which he may reside; and that every layman, being a communicant and qualified as an elector, shall be qualified to be elected as a Lay Representative.
In addition to a General Synod for the whole Colony, it was provided by the Constitution that a Synod should be established in each diocese; but it remained to be determined what should be the number of the members, their qualification, and the mode of their election; and statutes were passed for the organization of Diocesan Synods and of Archdeaconry Boards; for regulating the formation of parishes; for the appointment of pastors of parishes; for delegating certain of the powers of the General Synod to a standing commission or executive body to act when the Synod itself shall not be in session; and for deciding page 14 doubts in the interpretation of the statutes to be passed by the General and the several Diocesan Synods. A measure was also prepared, but left for final consideration at a future session, on the subject of Church discipline;—and after a session extending over a period of twenty-eight days, the first General Synod brought their proceedings to a close. Within less than a year afterwards Synods were also called together in the several dioceses (excepting Waiapu), whose members devoted themselves with considerable zeal and interest to the task of completing the work of organization which the General Synod had begun.
One of the most important of the measures of the first General Synod was the statute to provide for the appointment of pastors to parishes. When it was first mooted, the subject was entirely new to most of the members. As might be expected, opinions were various; and, in the first instance, there was little prospect of unanimity. No readymade plan was brought forward either by the Bishops, Clergy, or Lay Members. As the discussion proceeded, points of agreement were gradually arrived at. The feeling was unanimous that rights of private patronage should not be page 15 admitted. No one proposed that the Bishop of the diocese should be the sole and absolute patron; nor, on the other hand, that pastors should be appointed by the parishioners at large. By degrees, the opinion gained ground, that it is important, not to the parish only, but to the Church at large, that a proper appointment should be made to every vacant cure; and that every cure should, if possible, be filled by a clergyman acceptable to the congregation, yet without being directly chosen by themselves, and without being removed from a more extended sphere of usefulness. To secure these objects, it was finally determined that the trust of selecting a clergyman and nominating him to the Bishop of the diocese for institution to a vacant cure, should be vested in a Board of Nominators, to be appointed annually by the Diocesan Synod, and by the Vestry of each parish. But of what number the Board should consist, and in what proportion they should be elected respectively by the Synod and by the Vestry, was left to be determined by the Synod of each diocese.
When the subject afterwards came to be considered by the Synod of the Northern Diocese, page 16 the question as to the proportion in which the members of the Board of Nominators should be elected by the Synod and by the parish was debated at considerable length;—a majority of the Lay Members inclining to the opinion that the members of the Board to be elected by the Vestry should exceed the number of members to be elected by the Synod; and it was ultimately determined that the Board of Nominators should consist of five members, two of whom should be elected each year by the Synod, and three by the Vestry of each parish. As not less than two-thirds of the members of the Board must concur in every nomination, no nomination can be made without the concurrence of four out of the five, and consequently no nomination can be made in opposition to the opinion of a majority of the members elected by the Vestry, nor, on the other hand, without the concurrence of one at least of the two members elected by the Synod. As a further safeguard against an improper nomination, the Bishop of the diocese, if not satisfied of the fitness of the party presented by the Board, may reject him; and as a security against the exercise by the Bishop of his power page 17 of rejection on arbitrary, frivolous, or vexatious grounds, the rejected nominee may appeal to the House of Bishops, who, if they think the Bishop's alleged grounds of objection insufficient, may over-rule them, and may direct institution to be given. The members are changed every year, so as always to represent the Synod and the Vestry for the time being; but the Board is always in existence, and ready to act whenever a vacancy may occur, special care having been taken that the members of it shall not be elected for the purpose of nominating in any particular case. By means of the members elected by the Vestry, it is expected that the Board will be made acquainted with the condition and circumstances of the parish, and with the views and wishes of the parishioners; and by means of its diocesan members, that the Board will be made acquainted with the character, ability, and antecedents of the several candidates; and that possessing this united knowledge, the Board of Nominators will be qualified to act in the character of a valuable council of advice to the Bishop in appointing the fittest person to the vacant cure. Experience alone can deter- page 18 mine the value of the system which has been devised for securing this important object; but the statute passed by the General Synod, supplemented by the Statute of the Diocesan Synod of Auckland for the appointment of a Board of Nominators, may be regarded as affording some test of the fitness of the Colonists for the work they have undertaken of organizing an ecclesiastical system for the Church of England in New Zealand. A Synod is about to be established in the Native Diocese of Waiapu, under the presidency of Bishop Williams; several of the Clerical Members will be Native deacons; the whole of the Lay Representatives will be Natives, and the proceedings will be conducted in the Maori language. Considering the time, the place, and the circumstances, the first meetings of the Synod of the Diocese of Waiapu will be one of the most remarkable events in the history of the Church.
The recent disturbances in the Colony have compelled general attention to the necessity for reconsidering our relations with the Native race. page 19 The Land Leagues which have been formed amongst them, and their connection with the “Maori King Movement,” have been frequently misunderstood. In some instances the Natives, in forming a Land League, and in connecting themselves with the King movement, neither intended disloyalty to the Crown, nor wholly to put a veto on the sale of Maori land; their object in placing the land of the Tribe under the care of the King being to make him the arbitrator in case of disputes amongst themselves; to constitute him their mouthpiece as to the land which the tribe as a whole were or were not disposed to sell, so as to prevent the tribal property from being dealt with by individuals, or a fraction only of the Tribe, and thus spare themselves from incessant and destructive feuds. In some cases no doubt the object of the Land League was to maintain their own power and influence by preventing any further alienation of territory; and it can hardly be surprising that a high-spirited people should look with suspicion and misgiving at the increasing numbers and the growing influence of the colonizing race, or that some of their leading Chiefs, seeing a considerable portion page 20 of the country already in the hands of the settlers, should have formed an agreement amongst themselves to hold fast to the land which still remains to them.
* “And with regard to the alienation of land, might there not exist a well-founded distrust of a Government which, while it did not permit the sale of land to individuals, does, by holding out inducements which few savages are able to resist, acquire the article which the Maori has to sell at a very low rate (sixpence or a shilling an acre), which article is instantly retailed to the white man at ten shillings an acre!”—Sir William Denison to Governor Browne.
* “It might not be generally known that a vast extent of the lands in the Middle Island was obtained from the Natives on certain conditions. The whole of the land commencing at Kaiapoi, and extending south to Molyneux, amounting to about twenty two million of acres, was acquired from the Natives by a payment of 2,000l., and an assurance given by the Commissioner (himself Mr. Mantel), on behalf of the Government, that they must not regard the 2,000l. as the principal payment, but the benefits they would acquire from schools erected for their education, from medical attendance, and the general hospitable care of the Government. Those lands passed to the Government, but the promises made had never to this day been properly fulfilled.”—Speech of the Native Minister (Mr. Mantel), House of Representatives.
Nearly the whole of the land in the Province of Canterbury was purchased from the Natives for little more than a nominal sum; but the land reserved for them (not more than 7,000 acres), is now valued at upwards of 60,000l.
* “There is no question that the common and ordinary mode of dealing with the differences between the white man and the Maori would be to treat the latter as a rebel, to pour in troops, regardless of expense, and eventually to sweep away a race which occupies land of which the white man professes to be in want, though he has millions of acres of which he can or does make no use. This, however, is a very costly mode of dealing with such a matter; to say nothing of its immorality and injustice.
The Imperial Government will have to pay a high price for the land which, after having purchased it with its blood and treasure, it hands over to the Colonists to sell for their benefit.”—Sir William Denison to Governor Browne.
The nature of the territorial rights guaranteed to the Natives by treaty, has been officially defined by the Under Secretary of the Colonial Department (Mr. Merivale), who, in his evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons, declared “that it was considered that the New Zealand Tribes had a right of proprietorship over their lands; not simply a general right of dominion, but a right of proprietorship like landlords of estates, for which the Crown was bound to pay them.”
* When the name of King was afterwards regarded almost as a public offence, the Committee appointed to report upon the finance accounts of the Colony appear to have been surprised to find that the founder of the dynasty, King Potatou, had been in receipt of a pension from the Government almost to the day of his death, and that he had been buried at the cost of the Colonial Treasury. “The Committee observe,” says their Report, “that the pension to Te Whero Whero was paid up to the 31st of March, 1860.” They are informed that this is the Chief who was proclaimed Maori King under the name of Potatou I., and that he died on the 25th of June, 1860. Out of the item, “Presents and Entertainments to Natives,” amounting to 416l. 9s. 6d., the Committee discovered that the sum of 1l. 17s. was paid on the 11th of November, 1860, for coffin furniture for Potatou. “The facts and dates,” adds the Report, “appeared to the Committee to be very remarkable.”
According to the Report of the Waikato Committee, the object of a large section of the Natives was distinctly expressed at a great meeting in the Waikato, in April, 1857, at which the Governor was present, and at which it was understood by them that his Excellency promised to introduce amongst them institutions of law, founded on the principle of self-government, analogous to British institutions, and presided over by the British Government. “I was present,” says the Rev. Mr.Ashwell, referring to that meeting, “when Te Wharepu, Paehia, with Potatou, asked the Governor for a Magistrate, Laws, and Runangas, which he assented to; and some of the Natives took off their hats and cried, “Hurrah!” “I want order and laws,” were, in fact, the first words of the leading member of the movement for page 28 establishing a Maori King. “The King would give us these better than the Governor, for the Governor has never done anything, except when a Pakeha was killed; he lets us kill each other and fight. A King would stop these evils.”
The two most active leaders of the movement may be taken as representative men of the new generation of Maori Chiefs. William Thompson is remarkably silent and reserved; he listens patiently to what is said, but thinks and decides for himself. He spends a great part of his time in writing; noting down everything remarkable he sees, hears, or reads; and he is engaged in constant correspondence with all parts of the country. He is well versed in Scripture History;—a fluent speaker and a formidable antagonist in debate. Though he is the son of a celebrated warrior, he prides himself on his character as a peacemaker. When several hundred armed Natives descended the Waikato River, in a state of dangerous excitement, to inquire into the violent death of one of their countrymen in the neighbourhood of Auckland, he himself formed one of the party for the purpose of restraining them, and he was largely influential in keeping them page 29 from mischief. Several unruly and headstrong members of his Tribe went to Taranaki to the support of William King, but it was without his sanction or authority; and he himself afterwards proceeded to the seat of war, and succeeded, though not without great difficulty, in withdrawing them, and in bringing about a general cessation of hostilities.
“I thought,” he said, describing his own share in the movement, “about building a large house as a house of meeting for the Tribes who were living at variance in New Zealand, and who would not become united. That house was erected, and was called Babel. I then sent my thoughts to seek some plan by which the Maori Tribes should become united, that they should assemble together and the people become one, like the Pakehas. * * * Evil still manifested itself; the river of blood was not yet stopped. The ministers acted bravely, and so did I, but the flow of blood did not cease. When you came, the river of blood was still open, and I therefore sought for some thought to cause it to cease, as the ministers had long persevered. I considered how this blood could be made to diminish in this Island. I looked into your books page 30 where Israel cried to have a King for themselves, to be a judge over them, and I looked at the words of Moses in Deuteronomy xvii. 15, and in 1 Samuel viii. 4, and I kept these words in my memory through all the years;—the land feuds continuing all the time, and blood still being spilt, I still meditating upon the matters, when we arrived at the year 1857. Te Heuheu called a meeting at Taupo. Twice 800 were assembled there, when the news of that meeting reached me. I said, I will consent to this, to assist my work, that the religion of those Tribes that had not yet united might have time to breathe. I commenced at those words in the Book of Samuel viii. 5 : ‘Give us a King to judge us.’ This was why I set up Potatau in the year 1857. On his being set up, the blood at once ceased, and has so remained up to the present year. The reason why I set up Potatau as a King for me was, he was a man of extended influence, and one who was respected by the Tribes of this Island. That, O friend! was why I set him up; to put down my troubles, to hold the land of the slave, and to judge the offences of the chiefs. The King was set up; the Runangas page 31 were set up; the Kai-whakawas were set up, and religion was set up. The works of my ancestors have ceased, they are diminishing at the present time; what I say is, that the blood of the Maories has ceased to flow. I don't allude to this blood (lately shed). It was your hasty work caused that blood. I do not desire to cast the Queen from this Island, but from my piece of land. I am to be the person to overlook my piece.”
A similar account of the origin of the movement was given by Renata, another of its earliest and most influential supporters. After passing sometime in captivity in the North, where he received (in 1842–3) some teaching at the Waimate school, Renata returned to his own people in the Hawkes Bay district, where both with the settlers and the Natives he has established a high character for his ability and integrity. For several years he has been engaged in promoting the building of Native churches, schools, and flour-mills; for some time he employed at his own cost an English teacher to instruct the Native children. “It was my wrongs unredressed by you,” he said, “that induced me to set about to work out an idea of my own; that is, Waikato, the tribe who set it page 32 going. They were in doubt whether to term Chief or Governor, and neither suited, and they established him as ‘the Maori King;’ it was tried experimentally, and proved as a means of redress for wrongs not settled by you, by the Government. The only wrongs you redressed were those against yourselves; but as for those all over the breadth of the country, you left them unnoticed. Sir, the enemies he (the Maori King) had to fight with were the crimes of the Maori; his murders, his thefts, his adulteries, his drunkenness, his selling land by stealth. These were what he had to deal with. * * * Did I set up any King in secret? As I view it, Waikato wished that his authority should emanate from the Governor. And then it was that we tried to do the best we could for ourselves. When it was seen that evil was partly put down by the Runanga, and the stupid drunkards became men once more, then the work (the King movement) became general.
“But is this (King movement) indeed to cause a division between us? No, it will be caused by secret purchases of land, the thing which has been going on for years.” And Renata was page 33 careful to make it clear that the promoters of the movement had no intention to subvert the Queen's authority. “You say, ‘The Maories are not able to fight against the Queen of England, and kill (prevail against) her.’ This is my answer. Sir, you know perfectly well that the Maori will be beaten; though it be said that this war is for sovereignty, the fault of the Governor can never be concealed by that. Who is the Maori that is such a fool as to be mistaken about the sovereignty or supremacy of the Queen of England? Or who will throw himself away in fighting for such a cause? No, it is for land; for land has been the prime cause of war amongst the Maories from time immemorial down to the arrival of Pakehas in this island of ours. The Maori will not be daunted by his weakness, by his inferiority, or the smallness of his Tribe; he sees his land going, and will he sit still? No; but he will take himself off (to resist). The Queen's sovereignty has been acknowledged long ago: had it been to fight for supremacy, probably every man in this island would have been up in arms; but in the present case the fighting is confined to the land which is being taken page 34 possession of. There is a letter of William King's lying. here, in which he says that if his land is evacuated, he will put a stop to the fighting. * * * * It was proposed to leave it to the Queen to judge between the Governor and William King: you witnessed the general assent of all to that proposal that the Queen should be the judge. Well, does this look in your opinion like a rebellious word in regard to the Queen, that you have left it out of sight, and taken up that word of your own inventions about the Maori making war against the Queen? Sir, the Maori does not consider that he is fighting against the Queen; I beg therefore that you will cease to pervert words, and rather consent to our proposal that we should all join in writing a letter to the Governor (to propose) that the war may be stopped, and that it may be left for the Queen to decide in this quarrel; and then let us write a letter to the Queen (to pray) that she will send a Commissioner (Kainhakawa) to stand between us, and let us all join together in inquiring into this dispute. Cease (arbitration) by guns, and now let it be left to inquiry, that a remnant of men be left.”page 35
After a careful inquiry into the subject, a Committee of the House of Representatives, comprising several of its leading members, reported their opinion (1860) that a great movement had been going on amongst the Native people, having for its main object the establishment of some settled authority amongst themselves; that such movement need not have been the subject of alarm; that its objects were not necessarily inconsistent with the recognition of the Queen's supreme authority, or with the progress of colonization; and that it would have been from the first, and would then be, unwise to contradict it by positive resistance—an opinion which has been confirmed by the leader of the present Ministry. “The great national movement,” said Mr. Fox, “which has been seething in the Native mind for years past, is not, as the Duke of Newcastle has been taught to think it, based on a desire to get rid of British rule and British civilization; but we recognize in it the desire of the Native race for self-elevation: we see in it an earnest longing for law and order, and an attempt (not feeble or ill-directed had it only been encouraged and guided,) to rise to page 36 a social equality with ourselves; and there is no doubt that if judiciously dealt with, this remarkable movement might have been turned to valuable account, and that few of the Chiefs who ever formally acknowledged the sovereignty of the Crown would ever have desired to establish a national independence.”
* The Duke of Newcastle.
* “You have, now, as a fact, the establishment of something analogous to a general government among the Maories; a recognition on their part of the necessity of some paramount authority; this is a step in the right direction—do not ignore it—do not, on the ground that some evil may possibly spring from it, make the Natives suspicious of your motive by opposing it, but avail yourself of the opportunity to introduce some more of the elements of good government among them. Suggest to them the necessity of defining and limiting the power of the person who has been elected as the Chief or King (I should not quarrel with the name); of establishing some system of legislation, siple, of course, at first, but capable of being modified and improved; but do not attempt to introduce the complicated arrangements suited to a civilized and educated people, recognizing publicly and openly the Maories not merely as individual subjects of the Queen, but as a race—a body whose interests you are bound to respect and promote, and then give to that body the means of deciding what their interests are, and of submitting them in a proper form for your consideration.”—Sir William Denison to Governor Browne.
Any fusion of the two races, however, into one system of government, it has been said, is not at present possible. The establishment of separate institutions for the Native race is the only alternative; and this is the very thing which they crave at our hands. And the measures which Sir George Grey is now engaged in bringing into operation are based upon the principle that the Maories themselves should, as far as practicable, make and enforce regulations suited to their own requirements, and have a share in the administration of the government of their own country. It is proposed that the Native territory shall be divided into convenient districts, for the purpose of local self-government, that in each district there shall be an English Civil Commissioner, a Runanga or Native Council, consisting of the leading men of the district, who are to be paid, and to act also as Magistrates or Assessors; a small body of Native Police, an English medical man, and a Native clergyman, to act also as schoolmaster. The District Council is to be presided over by the Civil Commissioner, and to have the power of preparing page 41 bye-laws, to be brought into operation with the approval of the Governor in Council, on the subjects of fencing, cattle trespassing, the suppression of nuisances, for regulating the sale of spirits, &c., and other subjects prescribed by an Act passed some time ago by the General Assembly. It is intended that the Council shall also have the power of inspecting schools, erecting gaols and hospitals, and constructing roads (not being main lines of road) within the districts; of deciding who may be the true owners of any Native lands within the districts, and of recommending the terms and conditions on which Crown grants may be issued to tribes, families, or individuals.
It is also intended that the Civil Commissioner, resident Magistrates and Native Assessors shall periodically hold Courts within the district, and that in all cases in which the punishment awarded shall exceed a certain amount, their proceedings shall be submitted for review to a Judge of the Supreme Court: that Native offenders, instead of being taken to the gaols in the English settlements, shall be confined in the district prison, and tried by a jury of their countrymen in their own district and by a Judge of the Supreme Court on circuit. page 42 It forms, also, an important feature in Sir George Grey's scheme of Native policy, to relax the restrictions by which the Natives have hitherto been prevented from disposing of their lands, excepting to the Crown; and when the boundaries and ownership of land in any district shall have been ascertained in accordance with the regulations of the Native Council, the Native owners will be allowed to dispose of it by direct sale to any purchaser who may be approved of by the Government on the recommendation of the Council, on such conditions as may be agreed on between the sellers and the purchaser. The intending purchaser, however, must be a bonâ fide settler, and will not be entitled to a Crown grant of the land until he shall have been in personal occupation for at least three years. It is also intended that the Native owners shall be permitted to lease such lands upon terms to be decided on by the Government on consultation with the Council of the district. A lost confidence is not easily regained, but, by these means, Governor Grey is endeavouring to remove the causes of suspicion and irritation which exist amongst the Native people, in the expectation that before the proved and substantial page 43 benefits of the Queen's sovereignty the “King Movement” will die out. “In this way, the Government will have discharged its duty to this people: it will have become, for the first time, the Government of the Maori as well as of the Pakeha: and will have saved the Colony from the misery, and the mother country from the burden, of a protracted and costly war.” *
* An official notification recently published amongst the Natives concludes as follows: (Translated:—) “This, then, is what the Governor intends to do, to assist the Maori in the good work of establishing law and order. These are the first things:—the Runangas, the Assessors, the Policemen, the Schools, the Doctors, the Civil Commissioners to assist the Maories to govern themselves, to make good laws, and to protect the weak against the strong. There will be many more things to be planned and to be decided; but about such things the Runangas and the Commissioners will consult. This work will be a work of time, like the growing of a large tree—at first there is the seed, then there is one trunk, then there are branches innumerable, and very many leaves: by-and-by, perhaps, there will be fruit also. But the growth of the tree is slow—the branches, the leaves, and fruit did not appear all at once, when the seed was put in the ground: and so will it be with the good laws of the Runanga. This is the seed which the Governor desires to sow:—the Runangas, the Assessors, the Commissioners, and the rest. By-and-by, perhaps, this seed will grow into a very great tree, which will bear good fruit on all its branches. The Maories, then, must assist in the planting of this tree, in the training of its branches, in cultivating the ground about its roots; and, as the tree grows, the children of the Maori, also, will grow to be a rich, wise, and prosperous people, like the English and those other nations which long ago began the work of making good laws, and obeying them. This will be the work of peace, on which the blessing of Providence will rest,—which will make the storms to pass away from the sky,—and all things become light between the Maori and the Pakeha; and the heart of the Queen will then be glad when she hears that the two races are living quietly together, as brothers, in the good and prosperous land of New Zealand.”