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«TE WIREMU, TE PUHIPI, HE WAKAPUTANGA ME TE TIRITI HENRY WILLIAMS, JAMES BUSBY, A DECLARATION AND THE TREATY A report commissioned by the Waitangi ...»

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Williams separated ‘rights as chiefs’ from ‘rights of possession of their lands’, whereas a ‘literal’ translation of article two might have read ‘the full/true chieftainship of their lands, their villages, and all their properties/treasured possessions’. The Māori text of te Tiriti does not literally appear to separate out chieftainship itself from chieftainship in relation to property.468 Williams countered Bishop Pompallier’s 1845 letter to Hone Heke which suggested that Māori had surrendered their sovereignty to England by the Treaty – ‘their rights as chiefs’. Williams disagreed as Māori rights were protected.469 Williams implied that rangatira had retained chiefly authority and only surrendered ultimate sovereign authority.

In 1860, Williams’ colleague and former Chief-Protector of Aborigines, George Clarke, was in no doubt that the rights of Chieftainship over the tribes and lands were fully recognized and protected by the Treaty of Waitangi. The expressive language used and fully understood by both parties to the Treaty was this – that ‘the shadow of the land was to be the Queen’s (meaning the Queen’s sovereignty) ‘and the substance to remain to the native Chiefs;’ – their lands and the ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (chief chieftainship) over their own tribes.470 In this pamphlet Clarke was contending for the rights of chiefs to consent to (or refuse) the sale of hapū lands to an outside party, in the context of the Waitara dispute at Taranaki. However, his comments show that these rights of chieftainship were not intended by the Treaty to be limited to

just land alienation to outside parties. He gave instances of other rangatira or ‘tribal’ rights:

468 See text at n 330.

469 Pompallier to Heke, 31 January 1845, and Williams’ notes on this letter, MS 91/75, AML. See S Carpenter, ‘A Question of Mana: the Relationship between Henry Williams and Hone Heke’, Research Exercise, PGDipArts history, Massey University, 2004.

470 G Clarke, Pamphlet in Answer to Mr James Busby’s on The Taranaki Question and the Treaty of Waitangi by Sir William Martin (Late Chief Justice of New Zealand), reprint (Auckland: A F McDonnell, 1923), p 11. This appears to be quoting Nopera Panakareao’s well known statement (which a year later he reversed).

149 The Hakaris (Maori feasts, where tribal affairs were discussed and grievances settled), the Tapus, and many other Maori practices all bear testimony to Tribal rights.471 Clarke was in effect referring to Māori tikanga as evidence of rangatiratanga in general. There was, he was arguing, some institutional basis for tribal or chiefly authority: the institution of tapu, the holding of wanaanga, and other tikanga. This rangatiratanga was the right of rangatira to conduct hapū affairs. It was not confined to land use and alienation.

The Treaty, Clarke argued, protected this rangatiratanga. Clark claimed that he was consulted on the Treaty (probably he meant the drafting of the translation).472 He was unequivocal in

affirming that:

when the subjects contained in the Treaty were under consideration, the subject of Tribal rights and the full power of the Chiefs over their own tribes and lands was fully explained to the natives, and fully understood by the Europeans present. I further state, that from the feelings manifested at the time, as expressed in the speeches made, and also in the negociatory conversations and explanations which took place during the transaction it was evident that not one Chief would have signed that Treaty had not Tribal rights been fully recognised and protected. So tenaciously did the natives cling to these rights from the first. [emphasis added] 473 This account of the Treaty discussions and its explanation supports the missionary view that rangatira retained authority in respect of both hapū land and hapū tikanga after te Tiriti.

Somewhat ironically, Clarke was arguing against Busby’s view that Wiremu Kingi had no basis, under the Treaty, to refuse to consent to the Crown purchase of Waitara. Busby evidently believed that before the Treaty chiefs exercised the ringa kaha (strong arm) over land sales, but that this was not based by any Māori ‘law’ or institution. Hence, any rights which Māori had ‘were created by the Treaty’. This was consistent with his 1830s view that rangatira lacked an

471 Ibid, p 9.472 Ibid, p 2.473 Ibid, p 11. 150

institutional/legal basis for their authority, apart from within what he was developing with the Confederation and Congress. Clarke, on the other hand, argued that rangatira exercised authority, according to Māori customs or usages (tikanga). Henry Williams wrote to England in 1862

concerning the Waitara dispute:

It would appear that the Government cannot make the amende honorable474 in admitting their error, and taking a fresh start [that is, by returning Waitara to Wiremu Kingi], by which the Māories would see that there is much protection for their rights and interests.

But now there is much confusion, and general distrust and threats passing from one to the other. The Government ought long since to have learned that “honesty is the best policy;” to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God’.475 Williams probably supported the tribal and chiefly rights of Wiremu Kingi against the lesser interest of Te Teira; the same stance as Clarke and Octavius Hadfield adopted. In contrast to Busby, Williams, Clarke and Hadfield believed that rangatira did exercise real authority both pre- and post-Treaty.





An incident a few years after the Treaty provides further support for Williams’ view of the continuance of Māori tikanga, in particular where it assisted the cause of peace and order. In this incident, the police had attempted to apprehend a European at a Māori settlement in Kawakawa – at night and without warning.476 Williams wrote: ‘In the scuffle, the finger of Hori Kingi’s sister [a high-born Māori woman] was cut, drawing blood, which, though never [ever?] so little, is by Maori law a serious aggravation of offence [emphasis added].’ He continued: ‘The natives in the pa, so soon as they heard of the affair, were very indignant, denouncing the transaction as a kohuru, coming without notice and in the night’.477 Māori sent a taua to the magistrate at 474 The Concise Oxford, 9th ed, 1995, defines ‘amende honorable’: a public or open apology, often with some form of reparation (French = ‘honourable reparation’).

475 Williams to E G Marsh, 10 Nov1862, in Carleton, Henry Williams, vol 2, p 346.

476 This incident is found in Williams’ ‘Early Recollections’/ ‘Reminiscences’, Carleton, vol 2, pp 82-85, and see also Carleton, vol 2, ‘Plain Facts’, Appendix C, p xxiii. It is also recounted in Carpenter, ‘A Question of Mana’, pp 23-24.

477 Even in war Māori were known to not fight at night, not to engage in surprise attacks and even to let in water and food to a besieged pa to enable the fighting to continue on an even basis, see William Pember Reeves, The Long White Cloud, Ao tea roa, revised edition (Christchurch: Golden Press, 1975), p 57.

151 Kororareka ‘for redress’. When the magistrate ignored their plea the taua took (or muru’d) eight horses from Captain Wright as compensation. In the end the magistrate was forced to ask

Williams for advice. Williams recalled that:

I said that as there had been undoubtedly an assault on the part of the police, the more quietly it was settled the better. I mentioned the circumstance which had occurred at Pakaraka [the Williams’ farm], in the killing of a pig, for which a colt worth 10 pounds had been given, the European being in the wrong. The magistrate was perplexed and displeased, but there was no alternative, and a colt was given to the worth of 10 pounds, though with bad grace.478 In the end it appears Williams negotiated the return of the horses taken by Māori in return for the colt, which was given for the cut finger.

In other contexts Williams demonstrated his belief that the mana of rangatira should be respected. On one occasion a carpenter named Collins employed by Williams assaulted Hone Heke. Williams remarked that, because the authorities did not investigate the incident, charge Collins, or express any ‘sympathy’ towards Heke, he thought this was one of many incidents that played on Heke’s mind and lead to his distrust of British authority.479 Williams also recorded his concern about rangatira being verbally insulted by Europeans, including the charge of being made taurekareka (slaves).480 He had discovered, over many years, what a verbal insult meant to a chief.481 Chapter two argued that missionary translators understood the independent state (‘he w[h]enua rangatira’) declared by He Wakaputanga in a number of ways. They acknowledged a Māori 478 The pig story I have seen independently recounted by Henry Williams jnr in (private) Williams family papers.

479 Williams, ‘Recollections’, Carleton, vol 2, pp 30-31. And which led to Kororareka and the Northern War. See the discussion of this in Carpenter, ‘A Question of Mana’, p 33.

480 Carleton, vol 2, p 31.

481 See Williams to Fitzroy, 20 March 1845, MS 91/75, AIM, where Williams gave FitzRoy his report of the battle of Kororareka and mentioned the insulting language used by the Hazard’s crew and Lieutenant Philpotts that Williams was a traitor and the threat to ‘seize’ him and ‘cut him to pieces’: ‘to a New Zealander [Māori] ear [these threats were] peculiarly disgusting’. Williams said he was raising this issue because of the effects of such language on the Public Service and interests of Great Britain, which ‘must suffer materially’ and lead to much distrust and bloodshed.

152 nation or people that already existed in a spiritual and theological sense because God had created it. Declaring the ‘independence’ or ‘rangatiratanga’ of Māori was also a declaration of hope that they would truly become free or liberated. By this Williams meant Māori could be liberated from Satan and oppressive customs, and from lawless human beings. Missionaries hoped a Māori nation would emerge founded on spiritual liberty (knowing Christ) and civil liberty (established by the laws of a national wanaanga or Congress). This nationhood the missionaries understood primarily in religious and moral rather than nation-state terms. The use of rangatiratanga for the kingdom of God (‘te rangatiratanga o te Atua’) and Kingdom of Heaven (‘te rangatiratanga o te rangi’) in the New Testament reinforced this sense of sanctified nationhood. As the hopes of the Confederation dwindled, and colonization approached, missionaries looked more to British Government intervention to preserve Māori chieftainship.

The rangatiratanga declared in He Wakaputanga was the same chiefly and tribal authority protected by article two of te Tiriti. The missionaries probably relinquished hopes of a national Māori Congress supported by British authority after 1840. With the coming of the Kāwanatanga of the Queen, and her Kāwana and associated administration, they probably supposed that a Māori assembly was no longer relevant. Yet institutionalised Māori autonomy should not be dismissed outright. Williams’ and the Northern Committee’s recommendations to Coates in 1838 involved a British Governor or Government administration advising a Māori assembly (and a military force to ensure peace). How did these suggestions differ materially from what te Tiriti had brought about? By the Treaty a Governor was installed in those hapū territories ceded by rangatira, and by his declaration of sovereignty in May 1840 the entire country was declared within Her Majesty’s dominions. While in 1840 the chiefs gave the government to the Queen, missionaries hoped that the chiefs’ powers in relation to their hapū could be incorporated within Kāwanatanga to make its rule over the entire country effective. George Clarke articulated such a

view in 1844:

–  –  –

punished, when they take the law into their own hands. In order to accomplish this, I would submit that something should be done to raise the influence of the chiefs; nothing has been attempted at present; a regular correspondence should be kept up with the chiefs of every district, and that they should at all times be rewarded for their services in keeping the peace; also they should be given to understand that both the peace and prosperity of the country depends very much upon the exercise of their own powers in connexion with that of the Government [emphasis added].482 The last sentence clearly indicates a missionary (and, in this case, official) view that rangatira continued to exercise powers distinct from those of Kāwanatanga. Clarke was recommending that rangatiratanga or independence in hapū localities should not only be recognised by the central administration, but that it should be supported and strengthened by the central power. In addition, Kāwanatanga should respect Māori tikanga. The peace of the country depended on this course of action. In Clarke’s recommendations, the idea of chiefly authority seems at least as strong as the idea of incorporation within Kāwanatanga. Clark’s proposals and language also support the relevance of the Romans 13 reference to a number of ‘powers’ (nga rangatiratanga) making up the governance of a country and its exhortation to pay respect to those different powers (see above). While the pre-Treaty concept of a national assembly of rangatira has disappeared from Clarke’s (and missionary) recommendations, the concept of British authority supporting Māori authority, and law and order generally, has not. This was consistent with colonial practice in other parts of the Empire, such as the princely states in India and the great council of chiefs in Fiji.

It was also consistent with the practice of the Roman Empire, as George Cornewall Lewis described in his influential 1841 work, the Government of Dependencies.483 Lewis discussed the legal framework of the Roman provinces. This combined, first, the terms (or formula) on which the province was originally annexed to Rome. Second, Acts of the supreme Roman legislature.



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