Object #1003594 from MS-Papers-0032-0008

6 pages written 1 Jan 1873 by Charles Heaphy to Sir Donald McLean

From: Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0008 (63 digitised items). No Item Description

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)

PRIVATE. Paper on Land Purchase Deposit Operations. 1873


My daer Mr. McLean,

Would you kindly look over what I have written on the subject of the Waitara outbreak. There must be a number of other evidences of the real cause of that war apart from the question of land, and you will remember them better than I can.


Yours truly (Signed)
Chas. Heaphy.
To:- The Honourable Donald McLean.
(see following page.)

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English (ATL)


Paper referred to on preceeding page.

Against the practice of the Government negotiating purchases of native land, it has been urged that it led to the war of the Waitara, and its sequel, the Waikato rebellion.

It is now, however, capable of proof that the real cause of the disaffection that culminated at the Waitara, was the source of the growing strength and numbers of the pakeha, as compared with the decadence of their own race. An uneasiness of this character had long been evident, and the natives waited but for a "taki" or cause that should re-unite those that would not otherwise co-operate, and bring together all the disaffected.

The war was not commenced or supported by the tribes that had very largely sold land. These people, the Ngapuhi, the Kaipara tribes, the Ngatiwhatua and Ngatitoa - took no part in the war. They sympathised undoubtedly

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English (ATL)

with their countrymen, as might be expected, but no fear of their rights to land being invaded, or of their becoming land-less, urged them to take up arms against the Government. The natives of the Interior, or of districts where but little intercourse had been held with the settlers or the Government, were those most resolutely opposed to us.

The Ngatiruanui, who had preserved their splendid country on the south of Mt. Egmont, intact from the Whiteman, and the Waitara who had no reason to fear the intrusion of the pakeha in their mountain fastnesses, and who had never sold an inch of land, or been asked to sell - these - entirely unprovoked, - were the most persistent of the enemy, the first to resort to arms, and the last, after repeated defeats, to submit.

From the time that Maketu was hanged for the murder of the Robertsons, the Maori became sensible that the strangers would be the dominant race. If

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English (ATL)

Maketu had been shot, they would have considered he died a soldier's death, and might have the sense of justice which characterises them, and have been reconciled to the fact; ....

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English (ATL)

....but the hanging was considered as the assertion of the power and the expression of the contempt of the superior race.

It was seen at Taranaki that where the Whiteman's territory was circumscribed, his numbers did not formidably increase; and a Land League was the result. To keep many settlers at Taranaki, the Thames, and the Waikato; and gold-diggers at Coromandel, was the object of this organisation. The expulsion of the school-teachers and Missionaries was incidental to its accomplishment.

English (ATL)

PRIVATE. Paper on Land Purchase Deposit Operations. 1873


My daer Mr. McLean,

Would you kindly look over what I have written on the subject of the Waitara outbreak. There must be a number of other evidences of the real cause of that war apart from the question of land, and you will remember them better than I can.


Yours truly (Signed)
Chas. Heaphy.
To:- The Honourable Donald McLean.
(see following page.)
Paper referred to on preceeding page.

Against the practice of the Government negotiating purchases of native land, it has been urged that it led to the war of the Waitara, and its sequel, the Waikato rebellion.

It is now, however, capable of proof that the real cause of the disaffection that culminated at the Waitara, was the source of the growing strength and numbers of the pakeha, as compared with the decadence of their own race. An uneasiness of this character had long been evident, and the natives waited but for a "taki" or cause that should re-unite those that would not otherwise co-operate, and bring together all the disaffected.

The war was not commenced or supported by the tribes that had very largely sold land. These people, the Ngapuhi, the Kaipara tribes, the Ngatiwhatua and Ngatitoa - took no part in the war. They sympathised undoubtedly with their countrymen, as might be expected, but no fear of their rights to land being invaded, or of their becoming land-less, urged them to take up arms against the Government. The natives of the Interior, or of districts where but little intercourse had been held with the settlers or the Government, were those most resolutely opposed to us.

The Ngatiruanui, who had preserved their splendid country on the south of Mt. Egmont, intact from the Whiteman, and the Waitara who had no reason to fear the intrusion of the pakeha in their mountain fastnesses, and who had never sold an inch of land, or been asked to sell - these - entirely unprovoked, - were the most persistent of the enemy, the first to resort to arms, and the last, after repeated defeats, to submit.

From the time that Maketu was hanged for the murder of the Robertsons, the Maori became sensible that the strangers would be the dominant race. If Maketu had been shot, they would have considered he died a soldier's death, and might have the sense of justice which characterises them, and have been reconciled to the fact; .... ....but the hanging was considered as the assertion of the power and the expression of the contempt of the superior race.

It was seen at Taranaki that where the Whiteman's territory was circumscribed, his numbers did not formidably increase; and a Land League was the result. To keep many settlers at Taranaki, the Thames, and the Waikato; and gold-diggers at Coromandel, was the object of this organisation. The expulsion of the school-teachers and Missionaries was incidental to its accomplishment.

Part of:
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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