Object #1010229 from MS-Papers-0032-0011

25 pages written 26 Jun 1861 by Sir Donald McLean

From: Secretary, Native Department - Administration of native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0011 (26 digitised items). No Item Description

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MEMORADUM.

I have to offer the following remarks upon some of the statements contained in a letter of 5th. inst., addressed by Bishop Williams to His Excellency.

With respect to the statement of Mr. Shortland quoted by the Bishop on the subject of the old land claims, it may be proper to refer to the opinion of the Chief Protector of Aboriginies, Mr. Clarke, given in July 1845,

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in the following terms:-

"Notwithstanding the time, labour, and expence which has been bestowed upon the Land Commission, the result of the enquiry has been far from satisfactory. All that has been ascertained is that various Europeans have made purchases from certain natives; but whether those natives had a right to sell, or how that was acquired, is still, in the majority of

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cases, quite a matter of doubt.''

With regard to the purchases of the New Zealand Company, the Bishop says, - ''The effect upon the native mind, was, at first, a distrust in the proceedings of the Company; but afterwards, satisfaction, when they found that justice was done to them by the Government."

An examination of Commissioner Spain's Report will shew that in the settlement

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he endeavoured to make with the natives, he met with very serious difficulties. He says, - "In cases where they (the natives) have only sought for compensation and never denied a partial sale, the moment the amount to be paid to them was decided upon, they began to object to accept it, and to propose terms that could not be entertained. In fact, it appears to me that they have determined totally to disregard British law and authority; and

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that they have come to the conclusion that we are not strong enough to enforce the one, or maintain the other."

Bishop Williams is not ignorant of the influences brought to bear against colonizing efforts generally, whether those of the New Zealand Company, the early settlers, or the Government.

The Bishop expresses himself satisfied with the earlier purchases of the Land

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Purchase Department, but finds fault with the later ones. He fails, however, to show that the latter were conducted on any different principle. The fact is that the system pursued has been the same throughout. The change has not been in the system, but in the views of the natives. That a great change has taken place in these, is beyond question, and could hardly escape the notice

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of an attentive observer. The Bishop, however, either ignores or overlooks this feature of the case.

The reference by Bishop Williams to the Hapuku feud shows that he obtained his information from one of the parties only. Had his enquirer been more impartial, he would have discovered that the land question was only one among the many elements in this feud.

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The extreme rivalry and jealousy existing between Te Moananui and Te Hapuku, years before any land was acquired by the Government in that District, were well known to every person who had any acquaintance with those tribes.

Had the Bishop taken pains to inform himself thoroughly on this subject, he would have found that the land-selling, as far as it had formed

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an element in the dispute, had been completely eliminated from the question.

As the Bishop has chosen, by quoting Renata's statements, to endorse them, I feel called upon to give them that notice, which I should not, otherwise, have done. I regret very much that the Bishop has condescended to found his animadversions against the Land Purchase Department on the unproved

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assertions of others, rather than upon facts coming under his own observation. I cannot believe that he is aware of the position in which he is thus placing himself, as the apologist of the Maori King, and Anti-Land-Selling League.

It is perhaps, however, doing the Bishop no injustice to assume that his sympathies were with the latter movement; and that the natives generally

English (ATL)

MEMORADUM.

I have to offer the following remarks upon some of the statements contained in a letter of 5th. inst., addressed by Bishop Williams to His Excellency.

With respect to the statement of Mr. Shortland quoted by the Bishop on the subject of the old land claims, it may be proper to refer to the opinion of the Chief Protector of Aboriginies, Mr. Clarke, given in July 1845, in the following terms:-

"Notwithstanding the time, labour, and expence which has been bestowed upon the Land Commission, the result of the enquiry has been far from satisfactory. All that has been ascertained is that various Europeans have made purchases from certain natives; but whether those natives had a right to sell, or how that was acquired, is still, in the majority of cases, quite a matter of doubt.''

With regard to the purchases of the New Zealand Company, the Bishop says, - ''The effect upon the native mind, was, at first, a distrust in the proceedings of the Company; but afterwards, satisfaction, when they found that justice was done to them by the Government."

An examination of Commissioner Spain's Report will shew that in the settlement he endeavoured to make with the natives, he met with very serious difficulties. He says, - "In cases where they (the natives) have only sought for compensation and never denied a partial sale, the moment the amount to be paid to them was decided upon, they began to object to accept it, and to propose terms that could not be entertained. In fact, it appears to me that they have determined totally to disregard British law and authority; and that they have come to the conclusion that we are not strong enough to enforce the one, or maintain the other."

Bishop Williams is not ignorant of the influences brought to bear against colonizing efforts generally, whether those of the New Zealand Company, the early settlers, or the Government.

The Bishop expresses himself satisfied with the earlier purchases of the Land Purchase Department, but finds fault with the later ones. He fails, however, to show that the latter were conducted on any different principle. The fact is that the system pursued has been the same throughout. The change has not been in the system, but in the views of the natives. That a great change has taken place in these, is beyond question, and could hardly escape the notice of an attentive observer. The Bishop, however, either ignores or overlooks this feature of the case.

The reference by Bishop Williams to the Hapuku feud shows that he obtained his information from one of the parties only. Had his enquirer been more impartial, he would have discovered that the land question was only one among the many elements in this feud. The extreme rivalry and jealousy existing between Te Moananui and Te Hapuku, years before any land was acquired by the Government in that District, were well known to every person who had any acquaintance with those tribes.

Had the Bishop taken pains to inform himself thoroughly on this subject, he would have found that the land-selling, as far as it had formed an element in the dispute, had been completely eliminated from the question.

As the Bishop has chosen, by quoting Renata's statements, to endorse them, I feel called upon to give them that notice, which I should not, otherwise, have done. I regret very much that the Bishop has condescended to found his animadversions against the Land Purchase Department on the unproved assertions of others, rather than upon facts coming under his own observation. I cannot believe that he is aware of the position in which he is thus placing himself, as the apologist of the Maori King, and Anti-Land-Selling League.

It is perhaps, however, doing the Bishop no injustice to assume that his sympathies were with the latter movement; and that the natives generally in his Diocese, have, for many years, fully understood that such was the case; in evidence of which, I would refer to a letter of his own, dated 18th. January 1854, addressed to an important Chief near Table Cape, in which he exhorts him not to alienate any lands to the Europeans. I herewith enclose a copy of the letter.

In proof that his teaching was not without its fruits, I may also refer to another letter which he addressed to me, in reference to land for a school at Waerengahika, - "You are aware of the extreme jealousy entertained by some of the natives in reference to their lands not having any foundation in fact, but not the less real in their estimation. There is less of this feeling where the natives have sold land to the Government, as at Ahuriri; but they have had all sorts of ideas, supposing that the Government was going to take forcible possession of their lands. It was simply this feeling which excited Johny Heke to his hostile movements. I know not from what sources these ideas have sprung; but I have had, from time to time, to contend against them, particularly on Mr. Wardelis' arrival here. If then, we were now to ask them for a new Deed, as proposed, they would one and all accuse me of having deceived them."

In connection with this subject, I would recall to his Lordship's recollection, a letter which he addressed to me, referring to the advantages of the present system of acquiring land for promoting systematic colonization; and stating his conviction that the large and valuable tracts purchased by me at Ahuriri, could never have been satisfactorily acquired if the "native Territorial Rights Bill brought forward in the Session of 1858 had been in operation."

I may state that the present Governor has given more stringent instructions in reference to the careful conduct of land purchases than any of his predecessors; and so far from the natives being handed over to the tender mercies of the Land Purchase Department, they invariably had free acess, either by writing, or otherwise, to His Excellency; when they had any grievance to state. Numerous instances might be cited where the Governor and the Land Purchase Officers have refused to entertain offers of valuable tracts of country, from an apprehension that their acquisition might lead to difficulties and disputes, or be otherwise prejudicial to the interests of the natives. This has been done to the extent of creating ill-feeling towards the Government, in the minds of the natives offering their land.

I shall now advert to the purchases in the order in which they are referred to in the Bishop's letter. First, - Omarutairi. This Block of land was acquired from the acknowledged owners, after several discussions had been held on the subject at Te Aute and elsewhere. A section of the natives living near the land had become members of the Anti-Sand-Selling League; and they opposed the Sale. In this course they were aided by delegates from Waikato; and while they fully admitted Hineipakeha's right to dispose of the land, they pleaded as their reason for not joining in the sale that they had resolved to combine against all sales to the Government. In treating with this case, I was compelled, either to admit the right of the Anti-Land-Selling League from Waikato, or pay the owners of the soil for what they had an undoubted right to dispose of.

The Deed for this purchase was signed not by two, but by four persons; whose signatures are attached to the Deeds, and witnessed by the principal Chief of the District and others, as well as by Mr. Cooper; so the money could not, as represented, have been paid secretly.

The sale was afterwards ratified by a large portion of the Ngaitahu tribe at Wairarapa, to which tribe the opposing natives belonged.

Secondly, - Ngapairuru. This is a Block of land in the Porongahau District, which was under offer to the Government for several years. It has been in the occupation of two Stock holders; and it was most desirable that it should be purchased. Kuru, one of the most influential young Chiefs at Porangahau, and another native, Wi Matua, represented as one of the principal claimants, paid me a visit at Ahuriri; and informed me that they and their tribe were prepared to dispose of the land; and asked for an advance on account of it. I hesitated about making the required advance, until I could gather further information as to their power to act for the tribe. I asked Karaitiana, who was themrat Napier, if I should be safe in making the advance. His reply was, to give part of the money and settle the question afterwards with the tribe. After waiting several days for Paora, another Porangahau Chief, I arranged with the natives to take a part of the purchase money, £300 - on to Porangahau, there to await my arrival; when I should apportion it among the claimants. I expected to pay a further sum of £400 for the Block.

In the meantime the Waikato delegates, and those who joined them, started to Porangahau and took the money from the natives, using every means in their power, first by persuasion, and, when that failed, by threats, to prevent the owners from completing the transaction. Acted upon by these influences, some few of the claimants ceclined to proceed with the negotiation. The King Party offered to return to me the money advanced; which I declined, telling them that I could not recognise their pretensions to interfere, and would only deal with the real owners. I deny that this land has been purchased from two individuals, or that it has been purchased at all. The transaction has got to be completed. The parties named certainly signed a Deed, ceding their claims; but beyond this, nothing further has been done in the matter.

I trust the Bishop, when he next concerns himself called upon to criticise the proceedings of the Government, in reference to matters unconnected with his duties, will support his assertions by something better than mere hear-say evidence derived from the members of Anti-Land-Selling Leagues, or their sympathisers.

(Signed)
Donald McLean.
June 26th. 1861.

Part of:
Secretary, Native Department - Administration of native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0011 (26 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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