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Their ideas will gradually expand & their condition daily improve. They will form a mutual support to each other a protection to those who do well & dread to evil doers and gradually rise in the scale of Nations. Foreigners will be then more circumspect in their conduct seeing that crime can be punished here as in other countries.

The Committee referred to ‘numberless applications’ by rangatira for a ‘controlling power’ to ‘enforce order’. ‘An attempt has been made to organise the Chiefs into a Parliament but nothing has yet been accomplished for want of power to enforce the laws they might make’. The ‘New Zealanders’, in their ‘infant state’, must be afforded ‘relief and protection’ in the formation of ‘their Government’. Although a ‘Free People’ (a clear reference to the Declaration) governing may ‘work their ruin’ if it was not regulated by ‘wisdom and care’.

A Committee letter of November 1838, also penned by Clarke, confirmed that their March 1838 letter (above) and their involvement in the 1837 [sic, 1836] settler petition ‘ha[d] for their object the maintenance of the Sovereign rights of the New Zealanders [by] imploring Her Majesty’s Government to extend its fostering care and become the guardians of this interesting people’.445 Their March letter had mentioned this petition, which, the letter stated, had prayed ‘the King and Parliament’ for protection ‘against the lawless band of Europeans residing on shore in this land’.446 The October 1836 petition called for protection of the shipping and property interests of British subjects. It also appealed for intervention against ‘the threatened usurpation of power over New Zealand by Baron Charles de Thierry’.447 Williams and his colleagues generated the petition, although far more settlers and traders signed.448 Williams wrote to his brother in law in England attaching a copy of the petition: ‘It is high time that something be done to check the progress of iniquity committed by a lawless band daringly advancing in wickedness and outrage, under the assurance that “there is no law in New Zealand” ’.449 445 Clarke to Coates, 16 Nov 1838, CMS/CN/0 101, reel 65.

446 Clarke (Corr Sec Northern Ctee) to Coates, 1 Mar 1838.

447 CO 209/2, pp 321-324a.

448 There were 213 signees in total, including 24 CMS missionaries and teachers, and 5 WMS missionaries. See also Busby to Glenelg, 20 Apr 1837, CO 209/2, pp 318-319a.

449 Williams to Marsh, 28 Feb 1837, cited in Rogers, Te Wiremu, p 131.


Summary of Schemes of British Intervention, c 1837-1840

British proposals for New Zealand altered dramatically between the Aborigines Report of early 1837 to Normanby’s instructions of late 1839. Between the Report’s recommendations of limited intervention, involving roving British criminal tribunals, to the Secretary of State’s instructions to seek sovereignty over potentially the whole country, there were a range of different views.

Busby’s protectorate proposal wanted total British control, but still utilized the Confederation as a nominal national legislature. Hobson in 1837 proposed that British sovereignty should be confined to particular territories or ‘factories’ where British subjects were settled. In 1839 he suggested that total British sovereignty might be advantageous or necessary. Some of the Stephen-Glenelg draft instructions to Hobson suggested limited territorial sovereignty with protectorate arrangements in the unceded areas. Busby in 1837 wanted military and naval backing for a Māori Congress. Only in 1839 did Hobson admit the necessity of full military and naval support.

In 1839 Coates still wanted limited government intervention in the form of courts (perhaps by extending NSW authority), and condemned large scale colonization by settlers. Glenelg shared similar views. Meanwhile the New Zealand Association wanted a Crown charter which authorized the acquisition of full territorial rights to New Zealand (obtained by treaties with Māori chiefs). When this tack failed, the Association unsuccessfully sought Parliamentary approval. New Zealand Company vessels ultimately departed without official sanction in May 1839.

All of these schemes acknowledged, at least outwardly, the capacity of Māori to enter into treaties concerning land, factories, harbour dues, protectorates, or sovereignty spanning the entire country. This policy of deference to Māori independence was due both to humanitarian influence and imperial strategy. The first upheld Māori rights. The second saw treaties as a means to achieve British ends.

138 All parties employed similar language in their proposals: Māori would benefit by British protection or sovereignty or colonization, sometimes all three. The similarity of language masked more fundamental differences. Missionaries on the ground in New Zealand saw British intervention as a practical necessity, to protect Māori independence and property, and British property, from lawless Europeans and a French Catholic threat. Busby also sought protection for an embryonic Māori government, though the total effect of his proposals was to make Māori rangatira more subservient to British authority than perhaps the missionary proposals envisaged.

New Zealand Association and Company interests envisaged a settler New Zealand in which Māori would be civilized by contact with their more advanced fellows. Similar language was employed to advance proposals with contrasting assumptions and goals.

Officials in London were at different times swayed by different interests. These different interests and conceptions converged in February 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi used certain words – sovereignty, rangatiratanga, protection, rights and privileges – but not all participants had the same understanding of these words or the same expectation of how the new relationship would work in practice. Although cloaked in similar language, policy advice and proposals differed wildly in the period 1836-1840. The language of te Tiriti (Māori and English texts) likewise clothed a range of views concerning the relationship between British Government and Māori Rangatiratanga. The next section explores how Williams and Busby understood this relationship.

Te Wiremu and te Tiriti o Waitangi

The focus of this section is on how Williams understood the nature and effect of te Tiriti.

Appreciating how he conceived the relationship between the Crown’s kāwanatanga and the chiefs’ rangatiratanga under the Treaty will illuminate its meaning for him. Appreciating his conceptions of this core Treaty relationship will in turn illuminate why he chose certain words in his translation or interpretation of the English text into Māori. This section also casts a critical eye over Ruth Ross’ influential argument that Williams’ translation was inadequate, in particular that he should have used the word mana to convey the idea that sovereignty was to be ceded. At 139 the outset it is important to note how Williams’ Evangelical Anglican understandings of law, government and church, shaped his understanding of te Tiriti.

The relationship of Rangatiratanga with Kāwanatanga In the conception of Williams and his missionary colleagues, how would the Queen’s or Governor’s kāwanatanga interact with the chiefs’ rangatiratanga, both in theory and practice?

Williams’ understanding has already been indicated in the discussion of Magna Charta in the previous chapter. It would have been impossible in 1840 to predict all the outworkings of this relationship. Alan Ward agrees that in February 1840 the relationship between kāwanatanga and rangatiratanga ‘would have been considered [an issue] too remote and theoretical for practical discussion’.450 To Williams, kāwanatanga was a national form of governance with enough civil muscle, and military muscle if necessary, to maintain internal ‘peace and good order’ and prevent foreign interference or invasion. It was primarily a civil authority for the regulation of property rights and the suppression and punishment of offences against the peace.

Rangatiratanga on the other hand was traditional chiefly authority exercised in respect of hapū affairs, including land transactions. Rangatira would maintain order within the hapū and whanau according to Māori (and increasingly Christian) tikanga and laws.

Kāwanatanga: Pākehā and Māori?

The basic function of Kawantanga can be seen in the texts of the Treaty itself. The English text opened with the declaration of Her Majesty Victoria’s ‘Royal Favor’ in respect of ‘the Natives Chiefs and Tribes of New Zealand’ (in the Māori text, ‘i tana mahara ataw[h]ai ki nga Rangatira me Nga Hapū o Nu Tirani’). The Queen was ‘anxious to protect their just Rights and Property’, and ‘secure to them the enjoyment of Peace and Good Order’ (translated by Williams, ‘i tana hiahia hoki kia tohungia [to preserve] ki a ratou o ratou rangatiratanga, me to ratou w[h]enua, a 450 A Ward, An Unsettled History: Treaty Claims in New Zealand Today (Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 1999), p 18.

140 kia mau tonu hoki te Rongo ki a ratou me te ata noho hoki’). The words following these statements clarified that she was also concerned about numbers of her own subjects coming into the country (in the Māori, ‘he tokomaha ke nga tangata o tona iwi kua noho ki tenei whenua, a e haere mai nei’).

For these reasons she had sent Hobson to ‘treat with the Aborigines of New Zealand for the recognition of Her Majesty’s Sovereign authority over the whole of any part of those islands’, the objective being ‘to establish a settled form of Civil Government with a view to avert the evil consequences which must result from the absence of the necessary Laws and Institutions alike to the Native population and to Her subjects’ (preamble). Williams rendered these passages in a way that could not avoid the conclusion that Kāwanatanga was to apply to both Māori and


Kia w[h]akaaetia e nga Rangatira Māori te Kawanatanga o te Kuini, ki nga wahi katoa o te w[h]enua nei me nga motu… (That the Government of the Queen may be agreed/recognised by the Chiefs over or concerning all the places of this land and the islands.451) …kia w[h]akaritea te Kawanatanga, kia kaua ai nga kino e puta mai ki te tangata Maori ki te Pakeha e noho ture kore ana. (…to arrange/establish the Government, to put a stop to the evil that is affecting the Maori people and the Pakeha people living without law.) Other phrases in te Tiriti support this conclusion that all were to be encompassed by the Government’s authority. Hobson was appointed to be a Governor for all the places of New Zealand, which Williams rendered ‘hei Kawana mo nga wahi katoa o Nu Tirani’; at least, all those places that were ceded to the Queen (preamble). That cession (in article one), by the rangatira of the United Tribes (or Confederation) and all the other rangatira that had not joined te Wakaminenga was expressed: ‘ka tuku rawa atu ki te Kuini of Ingarani ake tonu atu te Kawanatanga katoa o o ratou w[h]enua’ (give up completely to the Queen of England forever the 451 Words in brackets that appear like this, after citations of the Māori text and without inverted commas, indicate a translation/interpretation by the writer of this report.

141 entire Government of their lands). In other words, all who signed the Treaty were bringing their hapū territories and hapū within the authority of the Kāwanatanga. James Busby’s circular, inviting rangatira to the 5 February 1840 hui, spoke of the arrival of Hobson, ‘tetahi Rangatira ano…no te Kuini o Ingarani’ (a Chief…from the Queen of England), who had come ‘hei Kawana hoki mo tatou’ (to be a Governor for all of us).452 The personal pronoun ‘tatou’ clearly referred to both Europeans and Māori.

The third article is also important in understanding British conceptions of the Treaty’s allembracing nature. This article extended the Queen’s Royal protection and the ‘Rights and Privileges’ of British subjects to ‘the Natives of New Zealand’. This was expressed in the Māori text: ‘Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata Māori katoa o Nu Tirani. Ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani’. Just as Māori had granted her (‘ka tuku’) the government of the land, so she was granting them (‘ka tukua’) her protection and all the customs or laws (‘nga tikanga katoa’) exactly the same as those belonging to the people of England. The feudal nature of this relationship – protection in return for allegiance – was very much in the nature of the Magna Charta or the Bill of Rights.453 Kāwanatanga, then, was to apply to all hapū and rangatira who acknowledged the Queen’s

government over their territories. Williams recalled what he had told the rangatira at Waitangi:

We gave them [the chiefs] but one version [of the Treaty], explaining clause by clause, showing the advantage to them of being taken under the fostering care of the British Government, by which they would become one [Christian] people with the English, in the suppression of wars, and of every lawless act; under one Sovereign, and one Law, human and divine.454 452 Busby circular to rangatira, ‘No te 30 o nga ra o Hanuere, 1840’ [30 Jan 1840], MS 46, AML.

453 Part 6 of the Bill of Rights 1689 stated: ‘That all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration [of Rights or Bill of Rights] are the true auntient [ancient] and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdome and soe shall be esteemed allowed adjudged…to be[,] and that all and every the particulars aforesaid shall be strictly holden and observed, as they are expressed in the said declaration; and all the officers and ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majestyes and their successors according to the same in all times to come’, see Taswell-Langmead, English Constitutional History, p 506.

454 Williams, ‘Early Recollections’, [nd], cited in Carleton, The Life of Henry Williams, vol 2, p 14.

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