Object #1002447 from MS-Papers-0032-0162
8 pages written 27 Mar 1868 by Reginald Newton Biggs in Poverty Bay to Sir Donald McLean
From: Inward letters - Reginald N Biggs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0162 (43 digitised items).
39 letters written from Wanganui, Tangoio, Wairoa, Christchurch, Tuparoa, Turanganui, Poverty Bay. Includes map of Wanganui sections, 1857 [?]. Names on map - Crass [?], C G Doughty, Thomas Kettle, F Watts, Awamoho, Pehira, W Jowett & R N Biggs (sections 26 & 27) by the Wanganui River. Includes letters from Biggs to Deighton, and Biggs to Fraser.
A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.
27. March 1868
My dear Mr. McLean
I sent you a short account of how things have gone on at the Native Land Court by Manning. Since then I have been up to Waiapu where a very lange runanga was held on the night I got there all the natives from Tawhiti to the East Cape were there. Many speeches were made but all might be summed up into a refusal to give up an inch of land from Tawhiti to Tottin Point. The reasons given were (1) that they had fought well for us at Waiapu --- Turanga and the Wairoa (2) that they had lost much property and had not been compensated for it (3) that the land was so much mixed up that the loyal natives themselves could not point out any land belonging to rebels without having some friendly claims. The question was put to the runanga as to whether they would allow any land to be taken or not the vote was unanimous not to give up any land. Finding I could make nothing of the Waiapu people I went on to Hicks Bay where another large meeting was held the same reasons were given and the same determination shown on the part of these natives to stick to their land. One reason was given here which I had not heard before and which I believe is the true one why they have so changed their actions. When Sir Geo. Grey was at Hicks Bay some few months ago he told the natives that they should not lose any land and that no
land should be taken from either the loyal natives or the Hau Hau. They all declare that Sir George stated that distincly to them. When I told them that Sir Geo. Grey had no power to stop the operation of the act the answer I got was that Sir Geo. was the great chief in New Zealand and they would sooner believe him than me. On returning down the coast all the natives told me that Sir Geo. Grey had said so. Those who have ceded land expect to get it back.
On my return at Anaura I met a European with a petition to Sir Geo. Bowen signed by the natives between Turanganui and Anaura praying that no land may be taken the petition is signed by Hau Haus and loyal natives. A similar petition was got up by Preece and signed by most of the Poverty Bay natives. The European I met was on his way to Waiapu to get the natives all along the coast to sign it. The object of these petitions is to prevent a sitting of the Native Lands Court until after the meeting of the General Assembly when the originators Preece and Co. hope to obtain fresh legislation on the subject such legislation being to take no land at all. I trust the prayer of the petitioners will not be granted as I am certain the natives will not look upon the giving up of confiscation as simply an act of leniency and kindness but as one of weakness on our part and I believe if such a course is pursued in a year or twos time the whole coast will be little better than it was four years ago.
Another reason why confiscation cannot be given up is that it would be an act of great injustice to take land only at Wairoa where the war ended instead of began and we have gone too far there to be able to give it back if we wished it I am sorry to tell you that the Ngatiporou are gradually drifting back into their old habits. The runanga has again become paramount. They now hold their meetings monthly and look upon their decision as all powerful. Law is next to a farce there I much fear I shall not be able to do any thing with the people north of Tawhiti. I could not have believed it possible that such a change could have taken place amongst them in so short a time had I not seen it myself.
Try and get the Land Court to sit as soon as possible it is no use trying any thing else.
If the Court can sit again in a month or six weeks with Manning as Judge things may end well
Yours very truly
Reginald Newton Biggs
Inward letters - Reginald N Biggs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0162 (43 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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