Object #1022101 from MS-Papers-0032-0030
From: Native Minister - Administration of native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0030 (32 digitised items). Includes a letter in Maori with translation for an article in Waka Maori newspaper
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Memorandum on the relations to be established between the Government and those Natives who recognize our authority.
In my communication of February last I reserved this part of the general subject, upon which I had entered, for discussion in a separate paper.
Though so separated for the purpose of inquiry and consideration, this part is most closely connected with the former; so closely indeed that if the course of policy proposed there should be adopted, then some measure of the sort about to be proposed herein would be (as appears to me) absolutely necessary.
And even if that course be not adopted, there will still be most weighty considerations in favour of what is here proposed. It is indeed most true that
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the formation of a separate district would involve consequences affecting all the tribes in the Island. It is also true that the existence of a separate district, tho' not formally recognised, will involve similar consequences.
The existence of two systems or conditions of things side by side, must give rise to comparisons between the two and if the condition of the Natives who accept our rule prove to be, in respect of the visible and material well-being of the people in advance of the condition of those who decline to accept it, the former will receive accessions from time to time from the opposite party; and gradually, yet surely, the King-party will be reduced and defeated, and that by peaceable means and at small costs.
As to the Nature of the system to be set up on our side, it is obvious that, if it is to prevail against the adverse system, it must, as a first condition, possess all the advantages which that system appears to
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the Natives to possess. To which should be added such other advantages, as our superior knowledge and resources enable us to supply.
The mainstrength of the King party lies in this, that the National feeling of the race is thereby contented. The acknowledged chiefs of the territory are the persons who exercise authority over the Native population of the territory. Thus the Government (such as it is) has a real basis in the habits and feelings of the people.
They are not perplexed by the sudden introduction of strange notions and by a new order of things, which must for a time be very imperfectly comprehended.
The chiefs too on their part are relieved from a feeling, a strong and natural feeling, for which we have not hitherto made due allowance: namely, that which is reported to have been expressed by Te Hira some time back to persons
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who were urging him to open Ohinemuri "Leave me alone --- Leave me even in poverty. When you come amongst us, we are nothing. We cease to have a voice in anything."
We are seeking to found and gradually to build up a civilized or artificial order of things. We must not nelgect the primitive order of things out of which it must grow. We are seeking to establish a system new and strange in many ways to the people. We should draw to our aid even eld influence which can strengthen us, and make the transition as easy and natural as possible. We must therefore work through the Chiefs.
But to you, Sir, I need not dwell on this as a first condition of success. The practical importance of the principle here
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referred to was clearly stated and strongly urged by yourself in the House of Representatives in the last Session.
To ourselves it would be a great advantage if in every Native District there were a body of men with whom the Government might deal as with persons representing the District. The present mode of representation was adopted rather as a recognition of the need than as in itself the best or final form. The want of a common language prevents its becoming such. Whilst that difficulty remains, it seems necessary to reach our object by some other course. There is good reason for believing that if we established District Boards under the guidance of an English Chairman and gave these Boards the power of stating
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their grievances to the Governor, and proposing to him such regulations as they might think desirable to have established between Native and Native, we should find such a plan acceptable and effective. These Boards would really
represent the people in a form suited to their present circumstances, Meanwhile the registration of Native Voters would, proceed, and the population would gradually be brought within the ordinary system of representation.
The provisions of the "Native District Regulation's Act, 1858", under which special regulations affecting both races might be made by the Governor, are no longer expedient. But the more limited function --- viz. the power of making special regulations for the Natives between themselves might be exercised with great benefit. This need arises from their peculiar position at this time, as
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being everywhere in a state of transition from lawlessness or evil usages towards a lawful order, of which the more intelligent men see the advantage. At this point they greatly need the aid and support of special regulations, to prepare or to guide their advance towards a better condition of things. In order to secure the adaptation of such regulations to the circumstances of the people, and also to ensure for them a hearty reception and willing obedience it is needful that they be first discussed and approved on the spot, and then submitted to the Government.
It is well known to you, Sir, that regulations of the kind here contemplated have been proposed from time to time by Natives in various parts of the Country; and that in some cases they have been strongly enforced, and in particular tended greatly to check drunkenness. Such was the case in
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Waikato for several years before the War.
It appears to me probable that such regulations, when brought into a regular and clear form by a Pakeha Chairman, would be found helpful towards contentment and good order.
Of course it is understood that such regulations are to be binding only upon the natives between themselves and that all questions between Pakeha and Maori be left to be settled according to the Law of England.
It will appear on consideration of the Rules here proposed, that the operation of those Rules would involve no collision with the Administration of the Law, or the political Machinery of the Country. Moreover the functions of such Boards as are here proposed would, in the course of no long time, be reduced to such as belong to the ordinary Local Boards, which already abound in the Colony.
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The following is an outline of the Constitution of the Native District Boards.
1. Districts to be defined by the Governor within which the following Rules are to be in operation.
2. In each District a Board to be formed, to consist of Chiefs or leading men of the District, not fewer than or more than
The Members of the Board to be appointed by the Governor, having been first approved by the Natives of the District in a public Meeting to be holden for the purpose. Vacancies by death or otherwise to be filled up in line manner. Half castes who can speak Maori to be eligible.
A Pakeha Chairman to be appointed by the Governor to preside at the Meetings of the Board, whose duty it shall be to maintain regularity and
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good order in the proceedings of the Board.
3. The District Board to meet at least once in every year, at a time and place to be fixed for that purpose by the Governor: but may be convened at any other times by the Chairman and two Members of the Board.
4. All acts and decisions of the Board shall be by a Majority of the Members then present; the whole number present being not less than three fourths of the whole Board.
5. Every Member of the Board shall before he take part in the business of the Board make and sign a solemn declaration, that he will to the utmost of his knowledge and power uphold the Law, and keep peace in the District.
6. Rules for the orderly conduct of the business of the Board to be laid down by the Governor.
Native Minister - Administration of native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0030 (32 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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