Object #1026427 from MS-Papers-0032-0041
12 pages written 6 Jun 1874 by an unknown author in Auckland Region
From: Native Minister - Memos from Governor relating to native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0041 (16 digitised items). No Item Description
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BAY OF ISLANDS and WAIKATO.
(Sir James Ferguson on Native Affairs.)
6th. June 1874.
The Governor has informed Ministers of a communication made to him by Major Te Whero, a loyal Chief of the Waikato tribe, of his belief in the disposition of the tribes adhering to the so-called Maori King, to accept terms of submission from the Government, and the information which the Native Minister has, for some time past, conveyed to him, of the condition of these tribes, confirms the impression that the time has come when the completion of the pacification of the country may be brought about.
The Governor feels sure that Ministers will leave no means untried of accomplishing so desirable and important result of their moderate and patient policy, which would be a matter of deep gratification to the Imperial Government, as well as of advantage to the Colony at large.
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It would appear, from the information in possession of the Government, that the tribes which have hitherto maintained their isolation, and whose virtual independence has been tacitly recognised, are in a state of disagreement between themselves - that the Maori "King" and other leading Chiefs, as well as many of their people, desire to make terms with the Government, and to have a recognised position under it - while they wish to be left to manage their own affairs within certain definite limits.
Major Te Wheoro expresses his belief that if some concession of land be granted to the displaced portion of the Waikato tribe, and the management of the District occupied by it and those adhering to the "King" be placed under his charge, effective provisions might be agreed upon for the maintenance of order in ths district, the arrest of criminals, and the construction of roads, railways and telegraphs, where the general interest might require them within the limits of such district.
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The experience of the Government will show that wherever such works have been accomplished in Native Districts, the effects are rapid and permanent; and that the natives themselves are most averse to their interruption.
The idea of a recognised Native district, within which the authority of the Chiefs should be recognised by Government, is not novel; though it never been adopted in this Colony. But it has been always a prominent feature in the Government of India. It has been successfully carried out by other European powers in the Government of Native races, and it may well be considered as likely to effect a harmonious settlement of the difficulty which has beset our Government of New Zealand.
In the Native Districts Bill of last Session, it was an actual proposal, and it is probable that the general intention of that Bill would meet the present case.
It would indeed be regrettable if the Government were to recognise at this
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period of its history any Government in the heart of the country of a savage and immoral character; but the Government assumes, and it was even suggested by Major Te Wheoro that some European officer, conversant with Native character, would be placed as the adviser of the Chiefs and the agent of the Government. Such an officer, if equal to his position, would doubtless soon gain such influence with the Natives as virtually to manage their
affairs, while the trade and intercourse with Europeans which the removal of obstacles would at once bring about, would in a short time, efface all distinction between that and the other districts.
The Governor presumes that the occupation by Europeans, of the neighbouring districts, and the strategical position of the Colonial forces, would obviate any risk of such a local native authority, at this period, extending its influence dangerously to tribes beyond the limits of the district.
But he would hope more from the progress of other measures calcuated to improve the minds and habits of the Natives.
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The influence of schools, the general intercourse with Europeans, and the universal enjoyment of European comforts, must be a surer guarantee against a wide-spread desire for a return to former independence, than any amount of controlling force. Indeed it might be expected that any need for Armed Constabulary in fortified posts, would quickly diminish and cease.
In connection with this idea, and with his late visits to Native Districts, the Governor would ask Ministers to consider the propriety of attempting more systematically, the education of the Maori youth; not only for further additions to the schools already established, but by the provision of means of higher education for the children of the Chiefs.
There is a general desire among the Maoris for village schools, but as yet they are by no means general. But little or nothing is being done to reclaim the children of the Chiefs, and they are growing up, while at the same time their numbers are fast diminishing, under all the demoralising influences of
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Native customs and European vices.
Children of both races are smoking, if not drinking, from early youth; and when they are being instructed in the schools, they are passing the greater part of their time in circumstances where any good they may gain, can have but little effect upon their characters. Indeed it cannot be said that the morals and habits of the races have under-gone any real improvement.
If Government desires that the remnant of this race shall constitute any valuable element in the community, instead of being one disturbing disgracing and demoralising; some well organised effort should be made to reclaim and to train up for its benefit the youth of the higher class, who possess still a hereditary influence which might be turned to good account. This can only be done by removing them from demoralising influence and habits, and subjecting them both to systematic training, and to such higher education, as we judge necessary
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for our own children; though experience shows that this duty must be enforced to some extent by the State; but in dealing with a native, and lately a barbarous race, more direct interference and guidance is requisite, unless we are prepared and content to see it extinguished, as much through the vices which they have learbed from our people, as from natural causes.
The Auckland Grammar School, endowed by the Government with land, was founded expressly for the education of "persons of all classes and races." But it is manifest that Maori boys are unsuited and unable to take advantage of it, except in special cases. Private efforts have flagged in the cause, and have failed to bring under proper influence any considerable number of Native children. The Governor cannot think that if the Government will seriously consider the matter, they will rest content with the present prospects of the condition of the Maoris in this particular.
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In the midst of a community with highly religious principles, and where laws are passed on highly moral conditions, Maori Chiefs are openly living in polygamy, committing or tolerating acts of violence, which would involve upon their European neighbours punishment, which, even under the rule of the Missionaries, would not have been tolerated; but which the Government, from motives of policy, condone.
The Governor would see some organised attempt made to bring the children up to a higher state of civilisation. Such manners cannot but produce an evil effect, even upon the European population; and the infusion of Maori blood in a portion of it, will not improbably lead to a certain deterioration of the moral tone of the community; if it be not accompanied by wholesale training. He would ask Ministers to consider the propriety, along with increased supplies of local primary schools; of instituting boarding-houses in the neighbourhood of the public
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Grammar Schools for Maori boys, especially for the sons of the principal Chiefs, who should be moved by all mrans to place them there, under the tutorship of persons capable of managing them, and fitting them for taking part in the replace instruction of the schools.
The private discipline of the boarding-house is of even greater importance than the course of school-teaching. The Governor is aware of the difficulty of keeping Native boys in health in such circumstances, but it has been proved to be by no means insurmountable. The risks to health cannot be so great as those found every day in the native villages, where the mortality among the children is stated to be very great, and the Maori habits and character are now so well understood by many persons, that by judicious arrangements many errors which formerly interfered with the success of similar efforts might be avoided.
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Similar provision should be made for the education of girls. Without this, little positive good could be accomplished. However well the boys may be educated, their homes cannot become civilised, and their habits respectable, if they find as wives only girls who have been exposed to the bad example of Maori villages, and the temptations of unprincipled Europeans. At present, Native villages, where European contact exists, are stated to be little better than open brothels.
This state of matters cannot be ignored. It cannot be said that the Government has done much to remedy it. The Missionary Societies, who found their duty among the Natives, when the country was not settled by Europeans, have abandoned it since the ordinary machinery of Government has been established. But the responsibility of Government wannot be laid aside; and the Governor, in placing before Ministers a matter in which, as it appears to him, their interference is
Native Minister - Memos from Governor relating to native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0041 (16 digitised items)
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