Object #1008117 from MS-Papers-0032-0014

6 pages written 28 Dec 1863 by Sir Donald McLean

From: Secretary, Native Department - War in Taranaki and King Movement, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0014 (46 digitised items). Includes letters about war in Taranaki and the King movement and a letter in Maori from McLean to Wiremu Kingi offering him land

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

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Page 1 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)


The state of the Natives prior to the war of March 1860 might be compared to a slumbering volcanoe ready at any moment to burst out. They had their secret Runangas throughout the Island, they elected a King and hoisted his flag as am emblem of defiance, they threatened when the adherence of all the tribes was obtained, and their plans more fully matured to resist by every means the further extension of English settlement and if necessary to reduce either the Europeans or tribes who did not join them to submission to or recognition of the Kings rule.

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English (ATL)


Emmissaries were despatched to all parts of the Island to gain the adherence of the several tribes to this movement and protests were made in the Kings name by these deputies against the sale of any land in any part of New Zealand to the Govt.

The Ngatiruanui and Taranaki tribes avowed their hostility to the Europeans as a race and threatened to attack them and cut down the flag staff at New Plymouth many years before the Waitara question was heard of.

It is necessary to bear this state of Native feeling in mind before entering upon the Waitara question which could have had no effect

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English (ATL)

upon the Natives before Governor Brownes declaration of March 1859.

All these facts notorious as they are, and well known as they must have been to His Excellency Sir George Grey are entirely lost sight of in the despatches to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle and the whole of this spirit of insurrection is persistently attributed more to the action taken with reference to the paltry spot of land at Waitara than

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English (ATL)

to any of the real and more remote causes which led to it. If the Waitara alone was the only cause of this insurrection the Natives had every opportunity afforded to them of having the question enquired into and decided in a peaceable manner, but this was resisted not only by Wm. King but also by the Waikatos, and it is now fully proved that the giving up of that land if it formed the real cause of grievance has not in any way altered or diminished the hostility of the Natives.

It has been put in their mouths and it is both politic and convenient for the Natives to let this question be used as a pretext for enabling them by European sympathy expressed on this subject to carry out the deeper and more dangerous

Page 5 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

designs they had in view by that of establishing a distinct and independent nationality which should overthrow the Queens supremacy in this Island.

The position taken up by the Waikato Natives in reference to Waitara had little or no reference to the acquisition of land there, as the chiefs of that district distinctly stated that the Governor should have consulted Potatau the first King before war was declared and as this was not done that the Waikatos went down there to fight for the Kings flag.

Wm. Kings attitude throughout requires no comment as it was evidently based upon an assumption of jurisdiction over the whole country from Mokau to Waitaha including districts belonging to and in possession of the Ngatimaniapoto a separate and distinct tribe from his own although united with him for the

Page 6 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

purpose of upholding the land league in that part of the Island, and of resisting the Queens authority.

The tribes assembled at Ngaruawahia to confirm the election of Potatau in 1860 after war had commenced at Taranaki fully admitted that they had no interest in the Waitara land that Potatau had sold it and that the real question at issue between them and the Govt. was the question of jurisdiction referring frequently to the hanging of Maketu as the first offence against their nationality and to all the subsequent proceedings of a judicial nature to which the Natives had been subjected to since New Zealand became a British Colony these were only spoken of as the chief motives for having a separate jurisdiction a separate King and law of their own.

(
McLean
's handwriting) 1863 (?)

English (ATL)


The state of the Natives prior to the war of March 1860 might be compared to a slumbering volcanoe ready at any moment to burst out. They had their secret Runangas throughout the Island, they elected a King and hoisted his flag as am emblem of defiance, they threatened when the adherence of all the tribes was obtained, and their plans more fully matured to resist by every means the further extension of English settlement and if necessary to reduce either the Europeans or tribes who did not join them to submission to or recognition of the Kings rule.

Emmissaries were despatched to all parts of the Island to gain the adherence of the several tribes to this movement and protests were made in the Kings name by these deputies against the sale of any land in any part of New Zealand to the Govt.

The Ngatiruanui and Taranaki tribes avowed their hostility to the Europeans as a race and threatened to attack them and cut down the flag staff at New Plymouth many years before the Waitara question was heard of.

It is necessary to bear this state of Native feeling in mind before entering upon the Waitara question which could have had no effect upon the Natives before Governor Brownes declaration of March 1859.

All these facts notorious as they are, and well known as they must have been to His Excellency Sir George Grey are entirely lost sight of in the despatches to His Grace the Duke of Newcastle and the whole of this spirit of insurrection is persistently attributed more to the action taken with reference to the paltry spot of land at Waitara than to any of the real and more remote causes which led to it. If the Waitara alone was the only cause of this insurrection the Natives had every opportunity afforded to them of having the question enquired into and decided in a peaceable manner, but this was resisted not only by Wm. King but also by the Waikatos, and it is now fully proved that the giving up of that land if it formed the real cause of grievance has not in any way altered or diminished the hostility of the Natives.

It has been put in their mouths and it is both politic and convenient for the Natives to let this question be used as a pretext for enabling them by European sympathy expressed on this subject to carry out the deeper and more dangerous designs they had in view by that of establishing a distinct and independent nationality which should overthrow the Queens supremacy in this Island.

The position taken up by the Waikato Natives in reference to Waitara had little or no reference to the acquisition of land there, as the chiefs of that district distinctly stated that the Governor should have consulted Potatau the first King before war was declared and as this was not done that the Waikatos went down there to fight for the Kings flag.

Wm. Kings attitude throughout requires no comment as it was evidently based upon an assumption of jurisdiction over the whole country from Mokau to Waitaha including districts belonging to and in possession of the Ngatimaniapoto a separate and distinct tribe from his own although united with him for the purpose of upholding the land league in that part of the Island, and of resisting the Queens authority.

The tribes assembled at Ngaruawahia to confirm the election of Potatau in 1860 after war had commenced at Taranaki fully admitted that they had no interest in the Waitara land that Potatau had sold it and that the real question at issue between them and the Govt. was the question of jurisdiction referring frequently to the hanging of Maketu as the first offence against their nationality and to all the subsequent proceedings of a judicial nature to which the Natives had been subjected to since New Zealand became a British Colony these were only spoken of as the chief motives for having a separate jurisdiction a separate King and law of their own.

(
McLean
's handwriting) 1863 (?)

Part of:
Secretary, Native Department - War in Taranaki and King Movement, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0014 (46 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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