«TE WIREMU, TE PUHIPI, HE WAKAPUTANGA ME TE TIRITI HENRY WILLIAMS, JAMES BUSBY, A DECLARATION AND THE TREATY A report commissioned by the Waitangi ...»
65 These means of establishing social and political control, or law and order, over the Māori populace could be augmented by establishing a network of Schools and by a periodical newspaper that might further instruct the natives ‘in the relative duties of the people and their rulers, which are familiar to all ranks of the population, under established Governments’.186 A court system would involve Justices of the Peace and assessors (missionaries and settlers) and native juries of ‘witnesses’.187 In addition Busby recommended an advisory Council for the Resident consisting of missionaries and settlers. Busby gave his reason for such a Council, in
recognition of the realpolitik of the New Zealand situation, as:
Unless a defined and specific share in the Government of the country be allotted to the Missionaries, the British Government has no right to expect that that influential body will give a hearty support to its Representative. In points on which their own opinion is different from his, and these will constantly arise [he is speaking from experience], they will persuade themselves that it is their duty to secede [withdraw formally] from him; and should they, in the character which they have assumed to themselves, of Guardians to the Natives conceive it to be their duty to use their influence in opposition to his measures, they will occasion him no little embarrassment, even when vested with the full powers of a Government.188 There were other recommendations, including the appointment of an independent commission ‘not connected…with this Country’ to investigate ‘the titles of British subjects to land which they claim to have purchased from the natives’, and to ascertain and fix these titles ‘upon equitable principles’.189 Busby also appeared to suggest an alternative way of governing the country: that a charter of Government be granted to a colony of British subjects, the foundation of this colony being those already established there.190 Perhaps Wakefieldian notions of modern chartered or systematic colonization had already reached him. South Australia had been established on that basis in 1836-37. Or perhaps he was thinking of the old American colonies.
186 Ibid, p 253.187 Ibid, pp 255-56. As described above.188 Ibid, p 257.189 Ibid, p 260.190 Ibid, p 262. 66
His land interests were no doubt in the background here. Whatever was the case, this government by charter rather than government from Westminster through a Governor or Resident seems somewhat inconsistent with the bulk of his recommendations. As he had previously argued, ‘humanity and justice’ dictated interference to protect an ‘infant nation’ by way of a protectorate arrangement; this would also satisfy the (moral and legal) ‘scruples’ of other ‘Foreign Powers’ and forestall people like de Thierry.191 In the last paragraph of the 16 June 1837 despatch he appeared to revert to this leading plan, referring to the Declaration and speaking of an ‘infant people’ established under the protection of the King of England.192
… that most respectable portion of the English public, which holds liberty dear as life itself, and hears with detestation every expression which savours of the tyrant or the slave.
Do we know how Henry Williams understood the nature and effect of He W[h]akaputanga/ the Declaration, and, if so, did his Māori text effectively communicate that understanding to the signatories?
This question seeks illumination of Henry Williams’ understanding of He Wakaputanga. How did Williams understand other declarations and their role internationally? What about his understanding of the concepts of confederation and nationality in He Wakaputanga? How did Evangelical theology affect views of indigenous independence and sovereignty?
In his Māori translation of He Wakaputanga, did Williams’ communicate his distinctive understanding to the signatories? What does the text itself reveal of Williams’ understanding of the nature and function of He Wakaputanga and te Wakaminenga (the Confederation)? Williams’ critical involvement with te haki (the 1834 flag) and with the Rete affair is important, as are the 193 John 8: 36, the New Testament: ‘If the son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (KJV))’. Māori translation from, W Williams, J Shepherd and W G Puckey, trans, Ko te Kawenata Hou o To Tatou Ariki te Kai Wakaora a Ihu Karaiti (British and Foreign Bible Society: Ranana/London, 1841), (http://books.google.com/books, 27 July 2009). This is the 1841 printing of the original 1837 edition.
D Bogue and J Bennett, History of Dissenters, from the Revolution in 1688, to the Year 1808, vol 4 (London:
1812), (http://books.google.com/books, 2 June 2009), pp 152-153.
68 hui and kōrerorero attached to these events. All these events influenced the development of He Wakaputanga and Williams’ understanding of it.
The particular New Zealand context, theological understandings of independence and nationality, and Williams’ own beliefs or hopes concerning New Zealand’s future as a Māori place, were more important than any awareness of the law of nations. It is hardly likely, for instance, that Williams would have read Vattel.
Henry Williams in the Records, c 1833-35: A Short Review
On his arrival in Peiwhairangi, Busby relied upon the CMS missionaries, particularly Henry Williams, to organise a hui at the Paihia Mission on 17 May 1833. After Busby read the King’s letter in English, Te Wiremu read a translation in Māori. Busby then addressed the hui in English with William Williams translating. William Williams probably translated both letter and address as later printed in Sydney.195 Of the 22 or so rangatira present, 10 to 15 responded. The missionaries insisted that custom dictated the laying on of a hakari for the 500 to 600 Māori present. They evidently told Busby that he would have to find ‘presents’ for more than the 22 or so rangatira present.196 He concluded his report to NSW praising ‘the exertions of the missionaries [in their attempt] to render the conference imposing in the eyes of the natives − and to impress their minds with the importance of this event to the future welfare of their Country’.197 The Missionary Register (a CMS monthly publication which began 1813) recorded this ‘inauguration of the British Consul’ as ‘an event promising, under the Divine Blessing, materially to promote the protection of the Natives from the outrages to which they have heretofore been exposed from British Subjects; and their internal peace; and their consequent advancement in civilization and social comfort’. The bulk of the CMS report consisted of a 195 This is recorded in Busby to Col Sec, 25 May 1833, No 5, pp 39-40.
196 Busby’s account is somewhat confusing: he refers to 22 Chiefs being present, but also talks about the missionaries’ consulting about who to present the gifts to, on to the basis of rank or avoiding giving offence – 40 chiefs in total received the gifts of one blanket and five-six pounds of tobacco each.
197 Busby to Col Sec, 17 May 1833, No 5, pp 34-38.
69 simple reproduction of Henry Williams’ journal for 17 May, and an excerpt from Busby’s
address. In his journal entry, Te Wiremu recorded the nature of the hakari and its preparation:
At three [pm], the Natives were served with their repast of beef, potatoes, and stir-about.
As our [Māori mission] Boys have had some experience in this important duty, at our Annual Meetings, our Visitors [Busby and the naval officers] were a good deal surprised at the order and expedition with which this assemblage of New Zealand rank was supplied, as the feast consisted of about 800 dishes constructed of a plant similar to the flag. All passed off very agreeably.198 The mission provided the kai for the hakari, and it was obviously prepared by the young men of the settlement with great skill and the use of local materials.199 Williams’ reference to ‘this assemblage of New Zealand rank’, that is, the ranking chiefs, is noteworthy; he also used the terms ‘principal men’ and the ‘Chiefs and Nobles of this land’ to refer to the rangatira. This appears to reflect an identification of the rangatira with the rangatira or nobility of England.
Williams’ diary account emphasizes the ceremonial aspects of the occasion. His careful description of the haka and challenge from the welcoming Māori group stands in contrast to Busby’s less observant despatch. This reflects his ceremonial awareness, both from his experience in Aotearoa and also, perhaps, from his naval background.200 Te Wiremu repeatedly exhibited his cultural awareness in early dealings with Busby. In June 1833, when Busby arbitrated in favour of a Mair land claim against a conflicting Poyner claim, he delivered his decision in the presence of Henry Williams, and provided Mair with ‘the English translation of his Title deed’. This last comment might suggest that there was an original Māori version of the Māori title deed.201 Also in June, Henry Williams estimated an annual expenditure 198 The Missionary Register, Dec 1834, vol 22 (London, 1834), p 552. (Busby and the official party from HMS Imogene were hosted separately in the Williams’ residence.) 199 See Busby to Col Sec, 1 June 1833, No 13, pp 47-48, in which Busby requests reimbursement for the fresh beef provided by the missionaries for the hakari, and justifies this provision and expenditure as ‘absolutely necessary, in order to avoid producing an unfavourable impression on the minds of the natives on such an occasion’.
200 The Missionary Register, Dec 1834, vol 22, p 552.
201 Busby to Col Sec, 1 June 1833, No 12, pp 45-46. At the same time Busby advised Mair ‘privately against the conclusion that the British Government was in any way pledged to support him by force...’ in the possession of his land.
70 of £3 10s for the recruiting of a Native Guard, to assist Busby in his submission to NSW (the Guard to comprise the sons of 20 or so ‘influential Chiefs’).202 And Te Wiremu probably advised Busby that the colour red (kura) needed to be included in any flag proposed to rangatira. Te Wiremu drew up the three alternative designs, one of these being the CMS ensign that was eventually chosen as the flag of the New Zealand rangatira.203 The Missionary Register spoke in glowing terms of New Zealand’s new ‘National Colours’: it would stimulate commercial enterprise and civilization and combined with the ‘moral and religious improvement’ of Māori, the country enjoyed ‘every prospect’ of becoming ‘eventually’ the ‘Great Britain of the Southern Hemisphere’.204 Te Wiremu played a prominent role in the immediate aftermath of Rete’s attack on the Residency. In fact, on the night of the attack, Henry and Marianne Williams were among the first to respond, travelling quickly from Paihia to Waitangi. Marianne attended Agnes Busby who had a few days prior given birth to the Busby’s first child. Soon after their arrival, an armed party from the European shipping arrived but Henry persuaded them that there was no further ground for concern and they returned.205 Te Wiremu may have advised Busby that he thought the offender a European, as Busby notes assurances to this effect.206 Later, Williams guided negotiations with rangatira and Busby on the appropriate punishment of Rete, and advised Busby against insisting on the death penalty.207 The missionaries also assured Busby that he should rely on the rangatira carrying out this punishment.208 Busby did not always accept Williams’ advice. In September, Busby refused to support a local delegation headed by Henry Williams calling for a ban on liquor imports into the Bay of Islands.
He believed that without the legal means to enforce such a ban, it would surely be evaded with
impunity.209 A month later Busby opposed McDonnell’s attempt to enforce a liquor ban at Hokianga. When Henry Williams renewed that request in the Bay, Busby again refused.210 The marked contrast between Busby and Williams’ personalities later led to something of a breakdown in their relationship.211 Williams was a man of action, quick to become engaged in ‘te mura o te ahi’ (the flame of battle), even when engaged in peace-making. He was of a predominantly practical rather than a theoretical cast of mind, despite philosophical engagement, as with his later description of the Treaty as a Magna Charta. Busby’s despatches, by contrast, reveal a greater tendency to engage in consideration of constitutional issues. Busby’s objections to a spirits’ prohibition regulation were variously that: there was no legal authority to pass it and no appropriate means to enforce it; a treaty was required with rangatira to purchase the rights to take harbour dues to fund such a regime; and/or that the Confederation needed to be party to such a treaty or sanction as a collective any such regulation.212 Williams, on the other hand, probably shared with Lord Glenelg an Evangelical reaction to the effects of ‘ardent spirits’ and its associated trading practices on Māori.213 Henry Williams was present at the kōrerorero at Waitangi on 28 October 1835. He seems most likely – based on past practice and his leadership of the CMS – to have taken the leading role in explaining He Wakaputanga to the assembled rangatira. Aside from the missionary witnesses to the Declaration (G Clark and Williams), he is the only missionary whom Busby mentions by name in his 31 October despatch. Williams advised Busby at the 28 October hui that the 35 ‘Chiefs and leading men’ present were ‘a fair representation of the population of the Country, from the North Cape, Southwards to the River Thames’.214 As for the English and Māori texts of He Wakaputanga, Busby evidently drafted the English text
and then passed it to Williams and his colleagues for translation. He wrote: