An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand
IV. Acts and Decisions of former Governors of New Zealand
IV. Acts and Decisions of former Governors of New Zealand.
- 30. I beg now, to call your Grace's attention to the uniform action that has been taken by successive Governors of New Zealand in the matter of the Taranaki land question since the establishment of the Queen's sovereignty in these Islands.
Proceedings of Governor Hobson.
- 31. I have described the condition to which the Ngatiawa Tribe had been reduced by successive conquests and migrations, and the abject state of the remnant which still remained at Taranaki in 1840. It was in this state of things that Governor Hobson made his purchase of the Taranaki District from the great Waikato chief Te Wherowhero, who had some time previously accompanied him to Kapiti. Writing to the Secretary of State, in December, 1841, the Governor gave the following description of the transaction, and of the position which Te Wherowhero assumed in it: "Te Wherowhero claims the country as his by right of conquest, and insists on it that the remnant of the Ngatiawas are slaves; that they only live at Taranaki by sufferance, and that they had no right whatsoever to sell the land without his consent. In illustration of his argument, he placed a heavy ruler on some light papers, saying, 'Now, so long as I choose to keep this weight here, the papers remain quiet, but if I remove it the wind immediately blows them away: so it is with the people of Taranaki;' alluding to his power to drive them off."
- 32. The deed of sale was executed in January, 1842: the boundaries included all the country from Tongapourutu, north of the Mokau River, to the Ngatiruanui country south of the Sugarloaves, comprising the whole of the Waitara District. It does not appear that Governor Hobson obtained any formal cession of their rights from the Ngatimaniapoto chiefs, who, with Te Wherowhero, were the joint conquerors of the Ngatiawa; but Tamati Ngapora, Te Wherowhero's brother, told me not long since that the Ngatimaniapoto got the whole payment, and that his brother was very angry, and said he would have been satisfied with even a blanket as a token of recognition. During his visit to the Ngatimaniapoto chiefs at Kawhia in April, 1842, Governor Hobson acquainted them with his purchase, and gave them permission to occupy a part of the land within the boundary, distinctly warning them at the same time that they were not to interfere with the European settlement at New Plymouth, and desiring the Resident Magistrate there to point out to them the English boundary.
- 33. In this transaction it is clear that Governor Hobson in no way admitted the right of the Ngatiawa Tribe to the country they had abandoned, nor any right of chieftainship, nor any right on their part to forbid the sale: but, on the contrary, recognized the European settlement, and claimed to have extinguished the aboriginal title by his purchase from the Waikatos.
- 34. In order clearly to ascertain the completeness of that purchase it will be necessary to examine the evidence of the Waikato title by conquest. I am aware that it has been held to be a rule in Native tenure that conquest without occupation gives no sufficient title. The doctrine has been laid down very distinctly and decisively, though it is held to be doubtful on good authority; but, for the present purpose, it is not necessary that I should controvert it. The question, then, is narrowed to this: whether or not the Waikatos retained possession or occupation of Taranaki after their conquest.
- 35. Though the doctrine has been broadly laid down as above stated, it is nowhere said what degree of possession and occupation is sufficient to establish a complete title. In the case of Taranaki, Chief Protector Clarke in 1843, while admitting that the title of the Waikato conquerors was good so far as they had taken possession, held that the chief right was still vested in the Ngatiawa Tribe as the original inhabitants; but in the case of Wairau, in the Middle Island, just after the massacre in the same year, he held that the title lay wholly in Rauparaha and the Ngatitoa Tribe as conquerors of the district, though, so far from occupying the country, they were (both before and after the massacre) settled on the north shore of Cook Strait, and had only an insignificant cultivation in Cloudy Bay. Thus, in one case, the principal right was said to remain with the conquered tribe which had wholly abandoned its territory, while in the other it was said to vest in the conquerors who had never resided in the country they had subdued.
- 36. I willingly admit that the degree of occupation of Taranaki retained by the Waikatos has been much contested. It is barely recognized by some authorities, and denied by another. On the other hand the weight of testimony is decidedly in favour of their possession and occupation. Chief Protector Clarke and Commissioner Spain both admit it; and the aspect of the question is clearly shown by Chief Commissioner McLean in his speeches to the Waikato chiefs at the Ngaruawahia meeting this year, as well as in his speeches at the Kohimarama Conference, and in his evidence before the House of Representatives: "You also [Waikato] sold it to us in all its boundaries; therefore I say that land has been fully ceded and given into our hands in open daylight….. Waikato has taken up arms to hold that which their own chiefs gave to the Europeans, spreading it forth for their acceptance in the light of day and under the shining sun of heaven….. Had it been territory not previously touched or broken into, it would have been different; but this was not the case….. The land has been consumed; it cannot return to its original state any more than the ashes of a dead fire can be rekindled. This statement is not a new one; it was made by me [here] page 34at Waikato, and the old chief who has just died [Potatau] fully admitted its truth. Referring to it he said, 'It is correct.' …. Now, in accordance with your customs, this land was completely forfeited and gone. Of the men who once possessed it some had been brought as slaves to Waikato; some had gone to Kapiti. It was a complete abandonment of a conquered territory." The Waikato title to Taranaki was universally admitted by the Natives; at the time of the conquest many acts of ownership over the soil had been exercised by them. The land was divided among the conquering chiefs; the usual custom of putting up flags and posts to mark the boundaries of the portions claimed by each chief had been gone through. Any occupation of the land by the Ngatiawa at that period was entirely out of the question, but those Natives who were released from slavery from time to time were permitted by Waikato to occupy; but those who had fled to the south were not allowed to return, and they were distinctly warned that if a return were attempted it would be the cause for fresh war against Ngatiawa. The Waikato right was thus established as a right of conquest, and was fully admitted by the Ngatiawa themselves, who, on each occasion when they sold a portion of land, at Taranaki, sent a part of the payment to Waikato as an acknowledgment of conquest or of the right of mana possessed by the Waikato chiefs as their conquerors. In this view of the question it is quite evident that the Ngatiawa title had been superseded by the right of the conquerors.
- 37. But the most conclusive evidence is furnished by the Waikato chiefs themselves so long ago as 1844. When Mr. Protector Forsaith was sent down to Taranaki by Governor Fitzroy he had interviews on his way with the Waikato and Ngatimaniapoto chiefs, who expressly asserted their title and desired him to warn the Ngatiawas of it. "You are now going to Taranaki; listen to our parting words: That land is ours. We claim it by right of conquest, and some part of it by possession. We hold the late Governor's permission to locate any of the lands at Taranaki provided we do not go south of Urenui. Go and tell the Ngatiawas that the Waikato chiefs remind them that the land is theirs, and advise them to settle their dispute with the Europeans, or the Waikatos will settle it for them."
- 38. Another important proof of the validity of the Waikato title is afforded by the fact that, when Wiremu Kingi finally decided to return to Waitara in 1848, he did so by the express permission of Te Wherowhero, thus recognizing the right of the latter to the district as conqueror, and illustrating a practice not infrequent among the New Zealanders as a means of reconciling feuds and securing quiet occupation of land about which the tribes concerned might have been at war.
- 39. And I beg to add to this the further testimony, given to myself by the Waikato chiefs Tamati Ngapora (half-brother to Potatau) and Te Katipa, who absolutely maintain to this day the right of Waikato to sell Taranaki to Governor Hobson: and the evidence of the Rev. Mr. Buddie and Rev. Mr. Whiteley, missionaries who have resided at Taranaki and have been twenty years in the colony, which has just reached me.
Award of Commissioner Spain.
- 40. I need not trouble your Grace with any account of the troubles which accompanied, as might have been foreseen, the return of the absentees and manumitted captives of the Ngatiawa. From 1841 to 1844 there occurred a series of disputes which kept both races in a state of chronic irritation and excitement. At last, in May, 1844, Mr. Spain, Her Majesty's Commissioner for determining Titles to Land, held his Court at Taranaki for the investigation of the case.
- 41. The circumstances of that officer's award must be too familiar to your Grace to require any detailed reference to them. Mr. Spain disallowed altogether the claims of the Ngatiawa captives and absentees, and gave judgment for the issue of a grant to the New Zealand Company for sixty thousand acres, including the whole of Waitara. This award was reversed by Governor Fitzroy, as will be presently stated; but after careful reconsideration Mr. Spain remained of the same opinion, and formally reiterated the judgment he had given on the spot. In doing so he laid particular stress on the fact that no claim had been asserted on behalf of the absentees, though he afforded every opportunity to the Protector of Aborigines, who specially represented the Native interests during the investigation, to adduce such evidence, as was admitted by that officer in his address to the Natives; and he called attention to the further important circumstance that, if the Protector had entertained the idea of the Ngatiawa captives having any just or equitable claim to the land, he ought to have brought forward such claim and urged its recognition, whereas his speech afforded abundant proof that he then held no such doctrine. And in support of this view, Mr. Spain quoted the opinion of the Rev. S. Ironside, a Wesleyan missionary of acknowledged experience and intimate acquaintance with the Taranaki question, who strongly deprecated any payment whatever being made to the Ngatiawas.
- 42. The reports of Protectors Clarke and Forsaith, made immediately after delivery of the Commissioner's judgment, in no way impugned his decision or suggested its reversal: nevertheless the Governor reversed it, as I now proceed to state.
Proceedings of Governor Fitzroy.
- 43. The delivery of Mr. Spain's judgment caused a great excitement among the Natives, and numbers of them appealed at once to the Governor. In particular, Wiremu Kingi, who was on the spot at the time, wrote a letter on the 8th June, the day of the judgment, to which I beg to call your Grace's attention. He there declares that not a single man of the Ngatiawa Tribe received payment from the New Zealand Company, but only men of the Puketapu and Ngamotu Tribes. This would be false, even if there were any foundation for the distinction attempted to be drawn between the Ngatiawa and the Puketapu and Ngamotu people; but there is no manner of doubt that these were hapus or families of the Ngatiawa equally with the Manukorihi branch to which Kingi himself belongs. I shall by-and-by have to remark on the significant fact that Wiremu Kingi, though present at the time, asserted no claim whatever before Commissioner Spain.
- 44. Immediately on receiving the remonstrances of which I have spoken, Governor Fitzroy decided on going himself to Taranaki, and meanwhile sent down Protectors McLean and Forsaith, with the Rev. Mr. Whiteley, to prepare his way with the Natives. These gentlemen arrived overland almost simultaneously with the Governor, who held his inquiry at New Plymouth on the 3rd of August, 1844. page 35The Waitara Natives, by that time numbering about two hundred and fifty, were with difficulty persuaded to attend the Governor at all, and only did so on seeing that the Waikato chief Te Pakaru, whom Mr. Whiteley had brought down to assist in settling the question, instantly complied with the summons. This was a signal mark of the respect with which we are told that chief was treated by the Ngatiawa people as one of their conquerors.
- 45. I beg leave to request your Grace's perusal of the report of the proceedings at that inquiry, which was published by authority in the Native language after the manuscript had been corrected in English by Governor Fitzroy himself. The following extracts, however, clearly state the principles on which the Governor proceeded: "I have no, wish to fight," said the Governor. "One great work I have to do; it is this: I will not permit one man to behave ill to another….. My work is this: to carefully settle the question about the land; and I will arrange it thus: I will not consent to the pakehas being expelled; the matter must be left with me. I will not agree to your molesting the pakehas, nor will I allow the pakehas to molest you. I will insist upon quiet being maintained. If you do not listen I will bring soldiers, that quiet may be kept….. Now, this is the Governor's opinion: that all the Natives at Taranaki should go to their teachers or to the Protector of the district who lives among them, and state the names of their places; and the Protector will write down the names of the owners and their estates, whether belonging to man, woman, or child. And if such owner agrees to sell his place on reasonable terms it will be purchased and he will receive payment….. Mr. McLean has been left by the Governor as a Protector for you; he will arrange about your lands. Be kind to him and attentive to what he says; and point out your respective possessions correctly; do not quarrel; do not say, 'All this is mine; all that belongs to me;' but mark it out quietly, and do not encroach on any other person's possession, but let every man point out his own. Do you ask why we are thus to take down the names of your places? It is to prevent future mistakes. You have heard that no land will be taken unjustly. If you sell it to the Europeans, well; but you must be careful each to sell his own property, and then he will receive the payment himself."
- 46. Tour Grace will observe that in this manifesto Governor Fitzroy, first, required that the existing disputes should cease; second, distinctly recognized the individual right to sell; and, third, expressly promised to purchase the land of any individuals willing to dispose of their rights.
- 47. In order that these rights might be ascertained, forms were prepared of schedules to be filled up by the claimants, and inquiries were at once set on foot among the various sections of the tribe. Having so far quieted the prevailing excitement, Governor Fitzroy returned to Auckland, promising to return in two months and make a final settlement of the dispute. The result of these inquiries was not encouraging. At Waitara Mr. McLean found the Natives still resolved not to sell; and, indeed, he admits that they did not consider themselves empowered to negotiate without the consent of several absentee chiefs still residing at Kapiti, who owned the greater portion of the land.
- 48. In November, 1844, the Governor returned, as he had promised, to give his final decision. Certain proposals, made jointly by Protector McLean, Protector Forsaith, and the Rev. Mr. Whiteley, were submitted to His Excellency and adopted by him as the basis of that decision. In Mr. Forsaith's report of the transaction dated 23rd November, he distinctly says: "These suggestions have been so far approved by His Excellency that his decision has been based upon the general principles they embody: the modifications required in their practical application to the existing dispute will doubtless be made fully apparent in the more detailed report of Mr. McLean."
- 49. I beg your Grace's special attention to the following extracts from those proposals: "Let a block of land be marked out, bounded on the south by the Sugarloaves, and on the north by the Waiwhakaiho River, running back as far as the Company's surveys have been extended, or still further inland if mutually agreeable, which would comprise an area of 7,150 acres….. Let a definite sum be fixed as a fair and equitable price for this block, at a certain rate per acre; from which deduct the amount of payment which any of the present claimants may have received from the Company, the unpaid resident Natives receiving their proportionate shares, and the residue lodged in trust for the absentees, who should have notice that, unless their claims were preferred and substantiated within a given period (say twelve months), they would be considered forfeited. Such award should be final and absolute."
- 50. It is then quite clear that in these decisions, as in the previous proceedings of Governor Hobson, neither the tribal right of the Ngatiawa, nor any "seignorial right," nor any chieftain right to forbid a sale, was recognized by Governor Fitzroy; but that, on the contrary, he, in accordance with his pledge two months before, admitted the individual right of ownership; which, however, was hardly acknowledged in the proposed block. Seven thousand acres were to be laid off, whether the absentee claimants were willing to sell or not; a price per acre was to be fixed by the Government, whether the Natives agreed to it or not; and the absentee owners were to come in and prove their claims in twelve mouths or have them absolutely and finally forfeited. It is material to observe that Governor Fitzroy professed to admit the rights of the Ngatiawa "in all their integrity;" and we have in these decisions conclusive evidence of what he considered those rights to be. It is true that the proposals were specific only as respected the block between the Sugarloaves and the Waiwhakaiho, a river about five miles north of them; but tha country was just as much part of the ancient possession of the Ngatiawa as the Waitara, and what was justice in one case would have been justice in the other.
- 51. I shall presently show that the principle here laid down by Governor Fitzroy in the first Government purchase was exactly followed by Governor Grey; and I beg leave to remark that, in allowing Te Teira and his people to sell their own land at Waitara, I did no more at Waitara in 1860 than Governor Fitzroy thought it consistent with the Ngatiawa rights to do at New Plymouth in 1844, and had expressly pledged himself should be done.
Proceedings of Governor Sir George Grey.
- 52. The decision come to by Governor Fitzroy did not result in a cessation of disputes. The Government had to accept a block half the size originally fixed. The Ngatiawa chief Moturoa, from Wellington, put in a claim to Borne country, which was claimed by another section of the tribe; this page 36section claimed part of the payment which another branch of the tribe was to receive; the claimants flew to arms, and blood was all but shed. A striking account of these occurrences, and of the condition to which the right of chieftainship had been degraded in this broken and scattered tribe, is given by Mr. McLean in his official report of 17th December, 1844.
- 53. Soon afterwards, Wiremu Kingi, who had returned to his place at Waikanae, announced his intention of returning to Waitara with his people, and offered to sell Waikanae to the Government. The proposal was discouraged by the Superintendent of the Southern Division and by the District Protector, who reported that "their claim was of a doubtful character; that the whole of the tribe had not consented to remove, as it was still uncertain whether the Ngatimaniapoto and Waikato would allow them to resume the territories they were many years ago obliged to surrender; and lastly, but particularly, that Te Rauparaha desired him not to recommend their claims as valid." The proposal was referred to Governor Fitzroy, who minuted upon it "Read.—R. F., 30th October, 1845," but does not appear to have given any directions upon it.
- 54. In the meantime the Governor had, in a memorandum to the Secretary of State, briefly reported his disallowance of Mr. Spain's award. The information he gave was not satisfactory to Mr. Gladstone, then Colonial Secretary, who sent out instructions to Governor Grey to endeavour to give effect to the award unless he should have seen reason to believe that its reversal was a wise and just measure.
- 55. The Native insurrection of 1846, in which it is only just to say that Wiremu Kingi bore arms on our side, had interrupted his plans for returning to Waitara; but upon peace being made they were revived, and he accompanied Sir George Grey in the visit which His Excellency paid to New Plymouth in February, 1847, with the special object of settling the land question.
- 56. On the 1st and 2nd March the Governor held meetings with the Ngatiawa chiefs, and announced his decision. The principle of it was identical with that adopted by Governor Fitzroy. The following extract from his despatch of the 2nd March, 1847, is submitted to your Grace, in which you will find that Sir George Grey expressly says his plan was "in fulfilment of the promises of his predecessor:" "Upon taking a review of the whole of these circumstances, together with our isolated and weak position in this portion of New Zealand, the only arrangement I thought could be advantageously made was, to acquaint the Natives that I should order, in the first place, that the most ample reserves for their present and future wants should be marked off for the resident Natives, as well as for those who were likely to return to Taranaki; but that the remaining portion of the country in that district should be resumed for the Crown, and for the use of the Europeans; that, in the fulfilment of the promises made by my predecessor, the value of the resumed land, in its wild and defenceless state, should be assessed by a Commissioner, and that a Court should then be appointed to inquire into the Native titles to the whole, or portions of the district so resumed; and that those Natives who established valid claims to any parts of it should receive the corresponding portions of the payment to which they would be entitled. But very few of the Natives seemed disposed to assent to this arrangement; but they distinctly understood that it was my intention to enforce it."
- 57. And the following extracts from his instructions to Mr. McLean at the same time show the precise mode in which the Governor meant the plan to be carried out: "It is proposed to evade, in as far as practicable, the various difficulties which have arisen under these conflicting circumstances, by in the first place reserving to the several tribes who claim land in this district tracts which will amply suffice for their present and future wants; and, secondly, resuming the remaining portion of the district for the European population; and, when the extent of the land so resumed has been ascertained, to determine what price shall be paid to the Natives for it; this amount not to be paid at once, but in annual instalments extending over a period of three or four years, at the end of which time it may be calculated that the lands reserved for the Natives will have become so valuable as to yield them some income, in addition to the produce raised from those portions of them which they cultivate. If possible, the total amount of land resumed for the Europeans should be from sixty to seventy thousand acres. A grant of this tract of land will then be offered by the Government to the Company. The price paid for any portion of land should not, under any circumstances, exceed 1s. 6d. per acre, and the average price should be below this amount. The greatest economy on this subject is necessary. This arrangement should be carried out, in the first instance, with those parties who have given their assent to it, including the Natives who have offered a tract of land for sale to the south of the Sugarloaves. Where land without the block awarded by Mr. Spain is now acquired, and required for immediate use by the Company's settlers, sections must be surveyed for them. Those Natives who refuse to assent to this arrangement must distinctly understand that the Government do not admit that they are the true owners of the land they have recently thought proper to occupy."
- 58. At first the Ngatiawa chiefs resisted this decision, but shortly afterwards it scems Governor Grey had reason to believe that Wiremu Kingi meant to submit, for he informed the Secretary of State that he had ascertained that "the whole of the Ngatiawa Tribe, with the exception of one family of it, the Puketapu, had assented to the arrangement, and that several European settlers had already been put in possession of their lands,"
- 59. I have thus shown that, as in the proceedings of Governor Hobson and Governor Fitzroy, neither the tribal right in the Ngatiawa, nor any "seignorial right," nor any chieftain's right to forbid a sale, was admitted at Taranaki by Sir George Grey, and that in the arrangement he proposed he intended to fulfil the promises made by his predecessor. But Sir George Grey certainly went a step farther than Governor Fitzroy; he refused to recognize, as a matter of right, either tribal right or individual ownership. Eeserves were to be laid off for the Natives, the residue of the land was to be resumed by the Crown for the European settlers, a price per acre was to be fixed (not higher than Is. 6d. per acre), and those Natives who did not choose to come into the arrangement were distinctly warned they would not be admitted to be the rightful owners of the soil at all. I beg leave once more respectfully to remind your Grace that, in simply allowing Te Teira and his people to sell their own land, I did no more at Waitara in 1860 than Governor Fitzroy thought it consistent with the Ngatiawa rights to do in respect of New Plymouth in 1844, and than Governor Grey thought it consistent with the same rights to do in respect of the whole boundaries awarded by Commissioner Spain.
Ngatiawa Migration from Kapiti in 1848.
- 60. But Governor Grey had been deceived in the belief that the whole of the Ngatiawa Tribe acquiesced in his decision. It was soon evident that: Wiremu Kingi was as much bent as ever on returning to Waitara. He pretended to be anxious not to act in opposition to the Government; but pressed on Major Richmond the offer of Waikanae, his anxiety on this head being caused by the scarcely-concealed intention of the Ngatitoa Tribe to seize on the land at Waikanae the moment he left it.
- 61. The Governor, hearing that canoes were being built at Port Nicholson for the migration, sent peremptory orders that they should be dismantled, and, if necessary, seized and destroyed; and these orders and a memorandum recorded by the Superintendent show clearly that at that time it was seriously in contemplation to prevent the migration by military force. But Sir George Grey, desirous of trying a last effort to come to terms with Wiremu Kingi, made a further proposal of certain conditions on which he would permit him to sell Waikanae and come up to Waitara. The basis of this proposal was that Wiremu Kingi should settle on the north bank of the River "Waitara, and should "relinquish all pretensions to any lands on the south bank"(where the block purchased by me is situate). "Upon all pretensions being at once relinquished to all lands to the south of the Waitara, the Government will, without further inquiry into such pretensions to these lands, admit that, from the prompt settlement they are making of this question, the Natives are entitled to such compensation as may be agreed on between themselves and the officers of the Government. The Government will then also recognize and permit them immediately to dispose of their claims at Waikanae and Totaranui for such compensation as may be agreed on. The compensation in both cases to be paid in annual instalments, spread over a period of not less than three years."
- 62. Thus your Grace will perceive that even in this proposal Sir George Grey carefully refused to recognize either the tribal right or any "seignorial right" in Wiremu Kingi, and treated his claims as mere "pretensions."
- 63. Wiremu Kingi agreed to the condition of locating himself on the north bank of Waitara. At the end of 1847 offers to sell Waitara were made to Government; and just before the migration in the early part of 1848, Mr. McLean went to Kapiti, any purchase of Waitara being kept in abeyance till all the claims should be clearly ascertained. At a large gathering of the Ngatiawas on that occasion, Wiremu Kingi distinctly agreed to go on the north bank: "Let me return thither, and I will then, consider the matter [of the sale]. When I get there, ono side of the river shall be yours and the north side mine, whence I can look out for the Waikatos in case that tribe should meditate an attack upon us." This was publicly stated by Mr. McLean at the Kohimarama conference, adding: "That was his word, which is retained in the memories of myself and others here present who heard what passed between us."
- 64. Further evidence of his intention is afforded in a proposal which he made to Te Teira. "When Wi Kingi thought of returning to Waitara he sent to Teira and, said, 'Let us return to Waitara; you take one side, I will take the other, as Waikato gives us permission to return.' "
- 65. Under, these circumstances the Government no further opposed the return of Wiremu Kingi, and the migration took place in April, 1848. On reaching Taranaki he went to reside at his ancestral place near the Manukorihi Pa on the north bank, which bears the same name as the section of the Ngatiawa Tribe to which. Kingi belongs. His own claims and those of his immediate followers were represented by the best possible evidence—that of his own brother—to be almost exclusively on the north bank; and it was stated, to Mr. McLean, who several years before had, in company with Kingi's brother, travelled over the district, when the respective claims of the different hapus were pointed out to him, that even on the north bank Kingi's ancestors had been but comparatively recent occupants.
- 66. And the chief Ropoama te One, at Queen Charlotte Sound, when Mr. McLean was investigating the Waitara purchase, said that Kingi's land was on the north bank: "I [McLean] said to him, 'Waitara is offered for sale.' Ropoama asked, 'By whom?' I inquired of him, 'Is it King's?' He replied, 'No; his land is on the other side of Waitara.'" But as some of the Waikatos under Rewi and other chiefs were even then (1848) cultivating in the vicinity, and Kingi was in fear of an invasion from that tribe, he asked permission of Tamati Raru, Teira's father, to build a pa upon the piece of land on the south bank, now sold to the Government, which permission was granted.
Further Events from 1848 to 1859.
- 67. The immediate fruit of Sir George Grey's arrangement in 1847 was the acquisition of the Grey Block, immediately adjoining the Fitzroy Block of 1844. In the early part of 1848, just before Kingi's migration, the Bell Block was acquired. I desire, in connection with this last purchase, to bring three things to the notice of your Grace.
- 68. In the first place the land was bought from the chief Rawiri Waiaua and a part of the Puketapu section of the Ngatiawa Tribe, in the teeth of the most determined opposition from the chief Katatore and others of the same family.
- 69. Secondly, Wiremu Kingi, who was at Whanganui at the time on his way up with the migration from Waikanae, put in a claim to the land, which was met in the way thus described by Commissioner McLean in a speech to the conference of chiefs at Kohimarama: "He met me on this side of Whanganui, and said to me, 'Do not give the payment for Mangati. I am willing that it should be sold, but I have a claim on it; let the payment be kept back until I arrive there; when I am there let it be given.' I replied, 'It is well, William.' Some months afterwards I called together all the people of Puketapu and other places to receive the payment. William King was also invited to be present to witness the payment. He came; and when the goods had been apportioned but among the several divisions of tribes I looked to see what portion was assigned to William King. None appeared; he got nothing. I therefore came to the conclusion that William King had no claim at Mangati."
- 70. Thirdly, the purchase of the Bell Block received in 1855 the unqualified approval of the Bishop of New Zealand, who, in his pastoral letter to the members of the Church of England at New Plymouth, said: "This happy result may fairly be attributed to the judicious manner in which the purchases page 38were completed. … The whole business, conducted with the greatest fairness and publicity, was concluded to the satisfaction of both Native and European."
- 71. In further pursuance of the same plan, the Omata Block, the Tataraimaka Block, the Hua Block, the Tarurutangi Block, and other smaller pieces of land, were successively acquired under the immediate control and supervision of Commissioner McLean, who says, "The whole of the purchases previously made at Taranaki had been effected on the same principle as the present one from Te Teira—namely, that of acquiring the land from the different clans and subdivisions of clans which came in from time to time to offer it." No such thing as a seignorial right was ever recognized either in Wiremu Kingi or anybody else. No general tribal right or right of chieftainship was allowed to interfere with the rights of the several hap us or families to dispose of their lands to the British Government. At first the resident Natives objected that "it would not-be right to entertain the claims of the absentees who forsook the land, and took no part in defending it against the Waikatos." But in every one of the purchases a portion of the payment was reserved for the absentees who had any claim, and these payments duly appear in the public accounts.
- 72. I will not prolong this despatch, which I fear your Grace will think has already reached an unreasonable length, by more than a passing allusion to the bloody feuds among the families of the Ngatiawa which succeeded the return of Wiremu Kingi, or to the disgrace to the British name and authority by murders perpetrated in open day on public highways of a British settlement and almost under the guns of the Queen's garrison, which led to my issuing a Proclamation that any renewal of such scenes within our territory would be repressed by force of arms. These are amply detailed in the papers duly transmitted to the Colonial Office, and presented to the General Assembly in the last four sessions. But a single instance of the ferocity by which these feuds were marked is exhibited by the manner in which Wiremu Kingi—who not very long after was writing to the Ven. Archdeacon Hadfield, "We are residing here in great grace of our Lord Jesus Christ"—proposed to treat his enemies: "A short time since when the position of Ihaia seemed desperate, and when his principal opponent, Wiremu Kingi, had evinced a determination to slaughter, without regard to sex or age, the inmates of the Karaka Pa, a memorial was addressed to His Excellency the Governor, praying him to rescue these unfortunate people." Ihaia has never recovered from the sufferings he underwent at that time, and remains to this day a broken man, covered with sores; but his courage and faithful loyalty to the Queen are as conspicuous as ever.