Object #1016629 from MS-Papers-0032-0221

8 pages written 13 Dec 1851 by William Colenso in Waitangi (Hawke's Bay)

From: Inward letters - William Colenso, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0221 (43 digitised items). 45 letters written from Church Mission Station, Waitangi (Hawke's Bay), Waipukurau & Napier, 1850-1865. Includes letters in Maori, and letters from McLean to Colenso. Also memoranda of a conversation which took place between Rev H Williams and Colenso on 10 Aug 1839. Maori correspondents include Wiremu Tipuna; Hori Niania; Te Hapuku, Hinepaketia, Ani Te Patukaikino, Hoani & Hori.

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

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English (ATL)

Certain reasons against the granting of the request of the French Roman Catholic Priests to be located here at Heretaunga
in the immediate vicinity of the Church of England Mission Station.
Respectfully submitted for the consideration of His Excellency the Governor in Chief.

That the Church of England Mission Station at Waitangi was commenced by myself in the year 1844.

(I had, also, the year before laboured among these tribes; and during the year previous - 1842 Archdn. W. Williams and the Revd. W. C. Dundley had also visited them; and the Bishop had also passed through and, at the pressing desire of the Chiefs had promised to send them a Minister).

That the only peice of ground which could then be obtained with their unanimous consent has subsequently proved to be utterly unfit for the purpose.

That notwithstanding upwards of £250 has been (necessarily) expended upon the same.

That in the winter of the Year 1846, the floors of our house although raised nearly 3 feet from the ground (and the house itself on the highest elevation) were 9 inches under water.

That every winter we have been more or less inundated. That from that period (1846) I have diligently sought a suitable place to remove to having been greatly urged thereto by the Committee of Missionaries as well as by the Archdeacon of the district.

That all places which from time to time I had chosen, I have not been allowed to occupy partly owing to the jealousy of the Chiefs, partly to the exorbitant sum (£100 and upwards) demanded for a site for a house and partly to my consideration for the proclamation of His Excellency and the (then) expected coming of Mr. McLean and also to my not knowing where the natives would concentrate themselves when they should have transferred a portion of their Lands to the Government.

That some time before Mr. McLean's first arrival here (in Decr./50) the Native chiefs had (partly at my suggestion) quite arranged among themselves the boundaries of the blocks of land which they intended to offer to him for the Government and had also selected a spot (about 2 miles from Waitangi) upon which to commence a township for themselves.

That an offer had been repeatedly made to me by the Chief proprietors for a peice of ground for a Mission Station close to their proposed township.

That in the end of November of last year (1850) while I was absent visiting the Natives on the coast a French Priest suddenly arrived here (he having been recently expelled from Te Wairoa) and proceeded immediately to purchase a peice of land situated very near to the proposed township from the Heathen Chief Puhara.

That Puhara is the only Chief on this side of the Ahuriri and his little party the only natives (with the addition of 2 old persons at Waimarama and 1 at Manawarakau) amounting scarcely to 30 in all including infants who profess to uphold the Roman Catholic mode of worship.

That there is no prospect of the French Priests increasing the number of their proselytes in these parts unless some of the natives in connection with the Church of England mission should go over to them which however has never yet happened in this District.

That according to the Returns laid before the last Committee of Missionaries of this district our Congregations averaged 2205 the number of Baptisms performed during my residence amounted to 1314 of whom 751 are communicants we have also 27 chapels some of which are fine Native buildings.

That according to a return of the Native Population of this district which I sent to the Native Secretary at Auckland in June 1849 the number was 2700 of which however more than an eighth have since died.

That Puhara is not a Principal Proprietor of this ground the titles thereto of the Chiefs running thus.

1st. Karaitiana

2nd Tariha

3rd Te Hira te Oha

4th Te Waka te Kawatini

5th Puhara

That the majority of the Chiefs proprietors are wholly against the selling of any portion of their land to the French Priests and refuses to cooperate with Puhara in the matter.

That the Chief Te Hapuku has no claim to the land in question neither in facthas he even assented that he has.

That if the French priests should become located on the spot in question it would be a highly injudicious step for me (on the part of the Church Missionary Society) to accept of the offered site near the proposed Native township as in the event of my going to the Western side of the same the French Priests premises would immediately adjoin mine.

That while I am very willing to remove further inland if I could but prevail upon these natives or the majority of them to accompany me, there is not another place equally suitable for a Mission Station and Native township upon the whole of this low ground.

That in the event of my not removing to the offered site adjoining the proposed Native township it is highly probable that the said township will not flourish.

I might also mention the state in which we found these tribes as contrasted with their present altered condition - the ill-usage which both Mrs. Colenso and myself have repeatedly received from them during the long period in which they were slowly advancing to what they are now - the many censurable attempts of the French Priests to disturb the peace and confidence of our people and ourselves not only here but also at Te Wairoa and at Turanga (plain demonstrations of the antagonistic principle) their constantly urging the Natives to come and take up the price for the peice of ground in defiance of both, the Colonial laws and of Mr. McLean's intimation to them and the long looking on of the Native Chiefs to see whether the word of the Governor (as repeated by Mr. McLean and hitherto looked up to by themselves and inculated by myself) shall stand or whether it must fall before the word of those French Priests.

This last remark was only yesterday uttered afresh to me in a powerful speech, by the principal proprietor Karaitiana. I might reasonably enough urge all these and many other such matters against their request being granted but I am conscious of having already I fear trespassed upon His Excellency's valuable time.

William Colenso. Church of England Missionary Waitangi
13 December 1851.

Part of:
Inward letters - William Colenso, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0221 (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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