Object #1001063 from MS-Papers-0032-0008
7 pages written 1 Jan 1865 by Sir Donald McLean
From: Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0008 (63 digitised items). No Item Description
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In a pamphlet recently published by Mr. B. L. Wakefield, at Canterbury, we observe that he indulges in certain reflections upon most of the Officials in the North Island, including, among others, our present Superintendent. The censure upon Mr. McLean is that he has not taken the trouble to instruct his fellow colonists in acquiring such a knowledge of the native language, habits, and customs, as should enable as many as possible to become equally useful in acquiring land from the natives; that he is one of the run-holding monopolists; and that during his administration, the natives became more unwilling to sell land.
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To any impartial person acquainted with the history of New Zealand, and with Mr. McLean's acts and proceedings during the time he has been administering native affairs, he cannot be accused by his fellow colonists of withholding any information which it was necessary to impart, in reference to his purchases.
Negotiations by Mr. McLean were invariably conducted in the most frank, open, and public manner, often at large meetings of both Maoris and Europeans; and no one was ever prevented from obtaining as full a knowledge of his proceedings, if they wished to do so, as he himself possessed.
It is true that he is not a likely person to have wasted much of his time in either writing, or speaking of
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his own acts; but in his case, this was not necessary. His untiring efforts to extend the bounds of English colonisation in New Zealand, have not been equalled.
Various attempts have been made, from time to time, by persons vain enough to conceive that there was no difficulty in native matters; that the Maori could be easily managed by anyone; that acquiring land was a perfectly simple operation; and that, in fact, a mystery was made of native affairs by the Native Department, of which Mr. McLean has been so long the head. Experience has taught us over and over again that these assertions were unfounded; and that those who attempted to delude the public into this belief, proved how utterly abortive
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their own attempts have been, either to extend our borders, or to introduce any means, except in theory, calculated to have the effect of establishing law and order among the New Zea-
Mr. McLean's services were greatly appreciated by all the old settlers. We owe the settlement of the complicated claims of the New Zealand Company at Whanganui, and elsewhere, to his untiring energy; at a time when a settlement of that question had been given up as hopeless.
The Wairarapa, occupied by squatters, would, in all probability, have remained in the hands of the native proprietors till now, had it not been for his efforts. Hawke's Bay would certainly never become an English province, from the opposition evinced by the natives, to the sale of their land, if Mr. McLean had not exerted himself to secure it for systematic colonisation; and it
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certainly cannot be imputed to him as a matter of blame, that the land acquired by him, was not so administered as to have admitted of the introduction and settlement of a much larger European population.
In short, we say, without fear of contradiction, that the whole of the extensive and valuable territory between here and Wellington, including some millions of acres of the richest land in the Island, have been acquired and peaceably occupied by the extraordinary skill and energy, which Mr. McLean invariably displayed in managing the natives.
Nor were those exertions confined to this part of the country alone. It is well-known that the Auckland province was miserably circumscribed for land; that the much-vaunted direct purchase had effected little more
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than the acquisition of about 90,000 acres in the immediate precints of the town. This state of things was very soon altered, when Mr. McLean undertook negotiations there in 1854; which resulted in some hundreds of thousands of acres being acquired from numerous, and often conflicting claimants, upon most reasonable terms; and without ever incurring any dissatisfaction, or dispute, between rival claimants, or between the Europeans now occupying these lands, and the native vendors.
We deny, therefore, as utterly unfounded, the assertion made in this pamphlet, that during Mr. McLean's administration of the Native Department, the natives became more and more unwilling to part with land;
Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0008 (63 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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