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CONSIDERABLE interest has been felt with regard to New Zealand ever since the publication of Cook's Voyages made the world acquainted with the natural advantages and capabilities of these "Green Isles" of the Southern Seas.
Several unsuccessful ventures were made, at different times, by private enterprise, to form a settlement in one or the other of these islands, but being unsupported by government, and backed by very little capital or continued energy, they never surmounted the first obstacles and trials they encountered.
While systematic colonisation could not obtain a footing, individual enterprise was more successful; and numbers of white men, principally English and Americans, might, as long as twenty years ago, have been found in occupation of the best sites for whaling, sealing, and trading with the natives. They lived on sufferance among the Maories, who appear to have
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been generally glad to have them for neighbours, as they profited by their superior knowledge of mechanics, and obtained from them arms, ammunition, and clothing, in exchange for provisions, and for the use of the land they occupied, or, not less profitable, in payment for other delicate services; it being expected that every European should take a Maori helpmate from the tribe among whom he sojourned, however short the period might be.
The number of Europeans living in this way were, in 1838, estimated at 2000; and from their influence with the natives, and the vicious example they sometimes set, they had already become a source of considerable anxiety to the missionaries; and the prejudice and ill-will entertained against them by the latter body appear to have been extended, without discrimination, to all subsequent settlers, and to have been perpetuated to the present time.
The missionaries had established considerable influence among the chiefs of the northern part of the island as early as 1831, and appear to have constituted themselves the governors of the country, as regards all foreign influence. The English government, in that year, actually accredited an officer to them, who, through their mediation, presented the chiefs with a national flag, which was subsequently inaugu-
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rated in the presence of the crews of several English and American ships, and saluted with twenty-one guns by H. M. S. "Alligator." Principally through their management, a nominal confederation of native chiefs was formed, -- a declaration of independence sanctioned; and the country, which had no native name, was christened "Na Terrene," which sounds as if it had some meaning, but which, in reality, is nothing more than a corruption and mispronunciation of New Zealand.
All these proceedings were sanctioned and approved at home; for they had a specious look, and one might fairly expect a considerable advance in civilisation from a people professed to be capable of self-government. This, however, was very far indeed from being really the case. The only confederation that had ever existed among any of the tribes, had been for purposes of war and rapine. Each sept considered itself perfectly independent, and held no communication with any other with the view of common government. There did, about this period, exist a sort of alliance between the Ngapuhi and Waikatos, who carried on the most devastating wars, in which whole tribes were exterminated, or driven from their land; and which convulsed the island from one side to the other, causing most of the
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changes in the ownership of land, to readjust which still threatens considerable difficulty.
There was no authority, no representation, and no government; and the only thing like a confederation, that can be discovered, is that of a few missionaries at Waimate and the Bay of Islands, whose representations of the state of civilisation and of the social condition of the natives led to those mistaken notions regarding them, which were at the bottom of all the first troubles and difficulties.
The disavowal of British authority over New Zealand, admitted the right of the French, or of any foreign nation, to obtain sovereign jurisdiction; and expeditions were planned, both in France and Germany, to colonise a portion of these islands, with the ultimate view, no doubt, of extending their jurisdiction over the whole of them. An emigrant ship, accompanied by a French frigate, actually arrived in the southern island, and anchored at Akeroa, only a few days after the English flag had been hoisted; thus saving the colony from another dilemma, that might have ultimately proved more troublesome and irremediable than any of the rest.
The New Zealand Company, acting on the authority of Her Majesty's ministers, that New Zealand was an independent country, and the natives
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free to dispose of their lands as they pleased, dispatched their agent, Col. Wakefield, to make purchases of lands for the purpose of colonisation on a large scale.
The public interest felt in the plans of the Company, and the number of emigrants who, under its auspices, were finding their way to New Zealand, awoke ministers to the necessity of resuming the authority which had been too thoughtlessly disclaimed: Captain Hobson was dispatched as consul to the confederation, and instructed to obtain a cession of the sovereignty from the native chiefs, "over such territories as may be possessed by British subjectS" over which territories he received a commission to act as lieutenant-governor.
Immediately on his arrival. Captain Hobson took measures to obtain the cession of the sovereignty, not only of "the territories possessed by British subjects" but of the whole of New Zealand; and a treaty was concocted at Waitangi, which was signed by 512 natives, who, by a pleasant fiction, were supposed to represent a population of 120,000 souls, or thereabouts. These signatures were obtained partly at Waitangi, where the proclamation, blankets, and tobacco, were received with acclamations; and partly by the influence of a missionary, who made a rapid
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tour in a small coasting vessel, calling at the most convenient localities, and obtaining the signatures of all who came on board to dine or trade till the list was swelled out to the number of 512; quite sufficient, if looked upon as representatives of the mass, only that they do not appear to have been empowered to act for the general good. Moreover, a great many tribes never saw such a treaty or heard that it was in process of formation; and many individuals who did sign it knew as much what they were about, as if requested to put their mark to an acceptance for a hundred pounds, -- and cared as little. This official farce concluded, measures were at once adopted to check the evils which had been caused by the renunciation of the sovereignty, the principal of which was the sale of lands to Europeans.
Captain Hobson complains, almost immediately after his arrival, "that there are nine hundred claims which involve twenty millions of acres," and "that tracts of country, in some cases five hundred miles square, are claimed by single individuals." The difficulty of arranging these claims was increased tenfold by the want of any system of recognised right of property among the natives, the same lands having been frequently sold to different parties by the victors and vanquished, or without the shadow of a right
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at all; yet all parties, natives as well as Europeans, were determined to vindicate their claims, and stand out for their rights. I have heard of lands having been sold by a tribe in anticipation of conquest, in the same way that well-tatooed heads were sometimes sold to virtuosi while still playing a conspicuous and important part on their owners' shoulders, the purchaser leaving it to the honour of the seller to deliver the property at the first convenient opportunity. 1
Colonel Wakefield, the New Zealand Company's agent, had six months' fair start before Governor Hobson's arrival, and before the proclamation was published, which declared any future sales of land by the natives to be null and void. As might be expected, he made the most of his time, and acquired a title, such as it was, to very large tracts of land on both sides of Cook's Straits.
Swarms of speculators came into the field from the Australian colonies, and it is amusing to see the perfect indifference they evinced to the quality of their titles; and the same tracts of land were sold by some of the chiefs over and over again within a few weeks, without reference to any previous sales. The real object of the purchasers, in most cases, was to use the titles thus acquired as a means of annoyance to the
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New Zealand Company or to the local government, with the view of enforcing compensation for a renunciation of their fictitious claims.
The value of the trade in flax, oil, and native articles of produce, were among the principal inducements held out to emigrants in the New Zealand Company's circulars. Strange to say, however, almost simultaneously with the arrival of settlers, these sources of trade began to fall off, and now the quantity of oil and flax collected in the colony is scarcely worth mentioning. The whalers, by killing the whales and cubs which frequented the coast at the breeding season, rapidly decreased their numbers, and now there are not half-a-dozen boats employed in coast whaling between Wellington and Teranaki, where, a few years ago, every convenient nook and bay had its establishment. The natives have ceased to prepare flax for the market, in favour of other occupations, by which they can supply their wants equally well, without so much trouble to themselves; and although the flax plant grows wild, in the greatest abundance, in all parts of the country, the preparation of the fibre is not likely to be resumed, unless some easier method of preparing it than any now known be discovered. Another great inducement to speculators was the apparent cheapness of land, which, if
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those who returned from the country might be believed, could be purchased in any quantity for a mere song.
With these views the New Zealand Company formed their schemes; and when the richness of the soil and the salubrity of the climate are taken into consideration, it is not surprising that they should have looked forward with confidence to the perfect success of their plans.
It is probable that if the Company had waited for information from Colonel Wakefield before sending out their settlers, he would have sufficiently demonstrated to them the error in their calculations as regarded the facility of procuring land. Almost immediately after his arrival he reports to the Company, "That the laws of property are very undefined in this part of New Zealand;" that neither Rauperaha, or Hiko (the two greatest chiefs in Cook's Straits) possesses the power of absolute disposal of any portion of the land in the Straits; and he complains of "the uncertainty in the ownership of land, which has been usurped by tribe after tribe in a series of years;" proving how soon he had discovered that the chiefs had no right to alienate the lands of their tribe, and on what questionable title they sometimes professed to claim it.
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The New Zealand Company, depending on the reports they had heard, or determined to run any risk rather than check the tide of their popularity, then at its height, sold tens of thousands of acres, before learning that they were actually possessors of a single rood of the soil, and sent six or seven shiploads of settlers out so fast on Colonel Wakefield's heels, that he was obliged to make any arrangements he could for their reception. Under these circumstances, he was glad to procure land any where, and almost on any terms; and as fast as it was procured, it was apportioned to the new arrivals as they came thickly in, with the hope that, in many cases where the title was defective, or the purchase incomplete, the difficulties might be removed, and all parties satisfied, by after arrangements.
There would have been very little difficulty in this, if the matter had continued to rest between Colonel Wakefield and the natives; but, in the meantime, mischievous, interested meddlers intervened, who used every possible exertion to increase the embarrassments. The natives were instructed to put in new claims, to refuse all compromise, and, in many instances, to deny all knowledge of any bargain having been made. They were generally advised not to sell their lands on any terms, or, having sold them, were
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recommended not to stand by the agreement. To increase the discontent of the natives, and further to embarrass the settlers, they were represented as outcasts from their own land, and slaves whom the Governor would soon reduce to subjection.
The natives appear to have been cajoled and sympathised with, and taught to believe they had been cheated and abused, till almost all of them determined to resist the occupation of the lands; and even those who could not but admit that their lands had been fairly purchased, considered themselves swindled and ill-used, and consequently bore no good will to the settlers.
The sudden influx of population, into what a few months before were savage wilds, surpasses any thing known in the annals of colonisation. The total value of property at Wellington in the first year was estimated at 200,000l., of which 18,000l. is reported to have been laid out in building houses, stores, and mills, and 15,000l. was the estimated value of the coasting vessels belonging to the port. 2
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The sudden increase in the value of land, and the large sums paid for eligible localities in Port Nicholson, added considerably to the difficulty of coming to an amicable arrangement with the natives, who were astonished and mortified to see so much value put upon what they had parted with for so little. It was explained, that a tenth of all lands was reserved for their benefit, the value of which would soon be so much enhanced by the surrounding settlements, that they would far exceed the original value of the whole tract: --but it was not found easy to make even a savage comprehend that it was for his advantage that he should be deprived of nine tenths of his property.
There would, however, have been no ultimate difficulty in coming to an arrangement, if It had not been for the jealousies and opposition on the part of Europeans, with which the company and its settlers had to contend. The first and principal opponent was the local government, with its crew of interested advisers, who appear in every instance to have supported the natives in standing out against compromise, or by instructing them to make the most exorbitant demands, and who at last suspended all surveys, and directed Europeans in no case to retain possession, of
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land to which any native should merely assert a claim.
Unfortunately for himself and the colony, Captain Hobson, instead of acting independently, appears to have allied himself to the Northern party from the very outset. Acting on the interested views of his advisers, and without even taking the trouble to visit the southern settlements, whose geographical position, as well as the wealth, commerce, and number of settlers, gave them, at any rate, a claim to be considered, he pitched upon Russel, a barren and unoccupied spot in the Bay of Islands, as the seat of his capital. It would have been difficult to make a worse selection, in any point of view, as he speedily discovered, though not till he had enriched many of the land-sharks, who followed obsequiously in his train. 3
This first blunder might, one would think, have induced the Governor to make a more careful examination before committing himself a second time; and as he was sent to govern a colony, not to found one, it might have been supposed that he would, temporarily at least, have made his head-quarters where the largest population was to be found. The original spirit of the Lieutenant-Governor's instructions, that he should administer the government "over such
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territories as might have been acquired by British subject," seems by both the first two governors to have been made quite secondary to the new order of things brought about by the treaty of Waitangi; and their object appears to have been to propitiate the natives, at any cost to the settlers.
In the second hunt for a capital, a spot was pitched upon on the Waitemata, in the Gulf of Hauraki, and denominated "Auckland," which still continues to be the seat of government. 4 Its principal merit is a good harbour and its connection with the interior by navigable streams; it is well situated for trade with the natives, and is an excellent military position: but placed as it is at the northern end of the islands, as far removed very nearly as it can be from the other settlements, it will not, I think, long continue to be the chief town in New Zealand. Everything seems to point to the central position of Cook's Straits as the most convenient spot for commerce and communication, and I believe that before many years are over, the greatest population will be found in one of the beautiful bays on the southern side of the Straits, where there are all the advantages of position, a better and more equable climate than in any other part of New Zealand, and easy communication with
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the Wairau and other large plains of the interior, suitable for agriculture or stock-keeping.
At Auckland, for the first few years, the anomalous position was seen of a Governor, troops, officials, and all the paraphernalia of colonial and legal administration without colonists, the only representation of that portion of the community being a collection of land-sharks, Pecksniffs, and jackals, who were on the alert for what could be picked up. There were not labourers sufficient even to put up the Governor's house; and the abstraction of a few mechanics from Port Nicholson for this purpose raised a storm of indignation among the southern settlers, at whose expense they had been brought out.
Scarcely any notice was taken of the southern settlements, beyond sending down an official with a small detachment of troops, on the presumption that the settlers were disposed to resist the constituted authorities. The Governor's delegate was received with open arms, and returned to Auckland with addresses of congratulation and expressions of the satisfaction of the settlers at being once more brought under the authority of the home government, instead of having to report their insubordination and resistance, as was hoped and expected.
It would be painful as well as uninteresting to the
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general reader, to enter into a detail of events of the succeeding three or four years, which passed in an uninterrupted succession of petty disputes and undignified quarrels between the local government and the settlers, in which each party appears to have acted with the steady determination of causing the greatest amount of annoyance and embarrassment to the other. 5
The appointment of a new governor only seemed to hasten the catastrophe, and an increased spirit of bitterness and personal ill-will was perceptible throughout the colony. Commerce was ruined by the constant vacillation of the council, which one day imposed a tariff, and then almost without warning declared the ports free; so that merchants never knew on what grounds to base their speculations.
The government pre-emption right was annulled, and the only fee required from purchasers was 1s. per acre, to the manifest disadvantage of those who had invested capital at 20s., 25s., and 30s. per acre, which had previously been the upset prices, besides leading to a system of jobbing and chicanery in direct dealings between Europeans and natives, which could only lead to mutual distrust and ill-will.
The settlers were beggared by jobbing in town-
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lands, which, in some instances, rose to the most preposterous prices. In fact, at one time, land, per foot, was selling at a higher rate in Auckland than it could be purchased at in London.
Lots were sold to private individuals, and repurchased by government; and it is reported that many of the officials, in the loose way in which the public business was carried on, managed to take advantage of the times to feather their own nests.
At Auckland all this was going on in the small space of a few acres, comprised in the town-lands, beyond which the settlement could not be said to exist. No cultivation took place; trade was at a stand-still; and the emigrants, unable to get possession of their lands, or ruined by jobbing, hung about the town till their capital was got rid of and their patience exhausted. 6
In the south, owing to the opposition of the officials and the subordination of the natives, very little more could be done. Most of the settlers were confined to the townships, or their immediate neighbourhood; the purchase of land was checked altogether, and every difficulty thrown in the way of arrangement. It must have been a melancholy thing to see these settlements, which had commenced with such energy
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and vigour, so utterly paralysed and prostrated; to see the shipping which had filled the port, gradually dwindle away; the bustle and activity of improvement subside, and despondency and disappointment succeed to the joyous confidence that animated all parties at the early period of the settlement.
This state of things continued almost without change, and without any prospect of improvement, till the colony was reduced to its last gasp; all the capital of the settlers was gone and nothing was incoming, and, as a natural consequence, the Governor's finances got into disorder. No gold or silver came into the treasury, while the expenditure continued to be extravagant, and, as a last resource and the completion of ruin, debentures were issued, unbased on any capital, and not representing coin in any shape, as no means were provided for the repayment. 7
The natives, encouraged by protectors and by interested parties, resumed their land in almost every instance; and in some cases, as at the Valley of the Hutt, the land appropriated to settlers was seized by tribes who had not a shadow of a claim, with the view of getting compensation for relinquishing possession of it. The respect and awe with which the
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natives looked upon Europeans was soon shaken by the expressions of contempt and abuse that were bandied about between the government and settlers, and was finally destroyed after the lamentable massacre at the Wairau, as the murderers were allowed to go at large with impunity, while their conduct was even applauded by the authorities. From this period all restraint appears to have been cast off by the natives, and the cry rose simultaneously from one side of the island to the other, in consequence of their aggressions and the threatening attitude they were assuming. 8 The officials, for the first time, appear to have awoke to the state of the country and the necessity for restraining the bad spirit that had so long been encouraged; and then might be heard the superintendant at Wellington, the mischief-making protector, and even the Governor, all at once craving assistance and military force to put down the armed assemblies, which, having fooled them to the top of their bent, now defied them.
At the Hutt, a large armed force of the natives were in possession of the settlers' lands; at Porirua, Rauperaha and Rangihaeta treated settlers and government with like contempt, and robbed, burnt, or destroyed, as seemed good to themselves. At
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Wanganui, war parties annoyed and robbed the settlers with impunity, and declared their independence of British rule and contempt for all authority; while in the north a combination of chiefs, headed by Heki and Kawiti, surprised the town of Russel, expelled the inhabitants, and burnt it to the ground, declaring their intention to resist the introduction of British supremacy into their country.
The ferment among the natives, so general and simultaneous, is not difficult of explanation, and might have been anticipated, or provided for, had a little common sense been exerted. It must be remembered that, at the period when the first settlements were formed, the natives had been accustomed to have white people among them, but always in a subordinate position, and making themselves useful, either by their mechanical knowledge or superior information. The prospect of an increase in the number of such useful assistants and allies was looked forward to with satisfaction by the natives generally; but they were quite unprepared for the numbers which actually did arrive, still less for the independent tone and high ground which they at once assumed. After the first surprise was got over, the natives began to adapt themselves easily to the new order of things, and reaped largely from the
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abundance of capital which was poured into the country, and very little discontent was apparent so long as prosperity lasted. Adversity soon came, and with it increased bitterness in all disputes; money became very scarce, and the demand for native supplies and native labour totally ceased. Good feelings arising from mutual benefits began quickly to evaporate, and there was plenty of time and spare excitement to bestow on the differences about land and other matters which, had there been more profitable occupation for the unruly spirits, would have been easily arranged. After the removal of the local government and its expenditure from Russel, the powerful native tribes in that neighbourhood became discontented, particularly as, since the establishment of law and order, the whaling-ships, which had been a profitable source of trade to them, ceased to frequent the Bay of Islands. It was a desire for a renewal of the old order of things, and the recollection of the scenes of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and savage debauchery in which they had been accustomed to engage, and by which they had profited greatly, that principally brought Heki and Kawiti into the field. In the south there were no such definite objects in view, but there was a general feeling of discontent and ill-humour,
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the effect of idleness and undefined expectations acting on a savage and excitable temperament. Fortunately for the colony, many chiefs, both in the north and south, stood by the government; some of them incited thereto by an inclination for a better state of things, some because more was to be made by being on our side, and the chief part by remembrances of old feuds and bad blood with the tribes who had taken the field, and who, they feared, might make them the next victims after having driven out the Europeans.
The massacre at the Wairau, our expulsion from Russel, and the disastrous reverse at Ohaio-Wai, signalised our first encounters with the natives, and gave them a degree of self-confidence and contempt for Europeans that by no means tended to bring back things to a good footing.
At this period the colony had reached the lowest deep; to fall farther would have been to cease to exist. Bankruptcy, dissension, misgovernment, and reverses in the field had nearly given it the last stroke, when Capt. Grey, Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, was sent to the rescue, and his coming was hailed with universal satisfaction as the harbinger of better days.
Capt. Grey had early distinguished himself by his
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studies in the senior department of the Military College at Sandhurst, but is more generally known by the enterprise and talent displayed in his exploratory journies in South Australia, and his humane, if not feasible, theories for governing the natives. Owing to the talent displayed in these works, and the celebrity they obtained for him, he received the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, where he arrived under precisely similar circumstances as those which caused his nomination to New Zealand. He repressed extravagance with a strong hand, reduced the government expenditure to the smallest possible compass, and established a revenue on which to base his future operations. His measures were at first so unpopular, that it was feared he would have to be recalled; in fact, public feeling against him was carried to such an extent that the tradespeople even refused to supply him with goods.
But the advantage of the changes wrought by him in the rapid improvement of the finances of the colony, and its generally increasing prosperity, soon produced a revulsion in the feelings of the settlers; and when the public service required that he should leave South Australia to extend the same benefits to New Zealand, the people, who had lately been so bitterly op-
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posed to him, thought themselves aggrieved by his removal.
With the arrival of Governor Grey, the most energetic and vigorous measures were at once adopted to vindicate the laws; and it was determined to bring matters to an issue with all the chiefs who were openly hostile to the government. These prompt measures had an immediate effect in confirming the well-disposed natives in our favour, and in frightening the doubtful ones into subjection; so that, far from the number of our enemies actually in arms being increased, as was anticipated, it was found that they would have to stand the brunt of the war alone.
As it was, we had quite enough to do; and it was not till after some skirmishing that the rebels under Heki and Kawiti were finally shut up in their Pa at Rua-peka-peka. The approach to the Pa was most difficult, owing to the nature of the country, which was very hilly, and covered with intricate forests, through which a road had to be cut as the force advanced. The friendly natives were active and valuable allies; and Ripa and Tamati Waka Nene particularly distinguished themselves by their indefatigable zeal and courage.
The New Year of 1846, and the seventh year since the establishment of the colony, was spent by the
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troops in front of the Pa, at Rua-peka-peka, where operations had already commenced, and shells and rockets thrown in; while the rebels on their side showed great spirit in several skirmishes. Batteries were erected at the distance of 160 and 350 yards from the Pa, and a constant fire kept up, which succeeded in breaching it, though probably without causing much loss to the enemy, as it was afterwards found they had formed bomb-proof excavations, in which they were safe from both shot and shell. 9
On the 11th of January (Sunday), no one being observed in the Pa, some of the natives crawled up, and it was discovered that it was empty. A signal was made to the nearest stockade, and Captain Denny, with the grenadier company of the 58th regiment, immediately effected an entrance, and was supported by troops and sailors who rapidly poured in through the breach. The rebels, who had not anticipated an assault on the Sunday, were on the outside of the Pa, and, on finding that it was taken, made a desperate attack to recover it, but were repulsed with considerable loss. Our loss amounted to twelve killed and thirty wounded, the greater part of whom fell while rashly pressing on the natives in the retreat through the forest. The rebels suffered great straits
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from want of provisions after they were driven out of the Pa, and met with very little sympathy or assistance from the natives, who were awed by the energy beginning to be evinced by the government. Under these circumstances, it was not long before Heki and Kawiti sued for peace through the good offices of Tamati Waka, offering to give compensation in land, or to agree to any terms the Governor might be pleased to impose.
Having arranged the more pressing troubles in the north, Governor Grey lost no time in proceeding to the neglected settlements of the south, where he expressed himself surprised "with the results of the exertions of the settlers made to develope the resources of their adopted country, and to found a colony in every way worthy of the parent state." He at once took measures for removing the intruders from the Valley of the Hutt, and even refused to listen to their proposition to abandon their land on receiving compensation for their crops; and he required a specific day to be named on which the valley should be evacuated. The high ground thus taken with the natives, instead of being suitors to them through their ambassadors the Protectors, had an immediate effect; and an address was transmitted to the Governor, from most of the influential chiefs, including "Te
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Rauperaha," asking for his protection and, assistance.
Much of this, however, was only for the purpose of gaining time, while some of the chiefs were determined to precipitate matters, and to commit the rest by an act of open hostility. With this view, a party, in the beginning of March, 1846, passed the outposts of the troops, in the Valley of the Hutt, and plundered sixteen or seventeen houses, retreating before they could be attacked. The country at the head of the Valley was so inaccessible that the Governor hesitated to pursue the marauders, and wisely, instead, adopted a plan which threatened to cut off their retreat, by the establishment of a post at Porirua, close to their only line of communication with the coast. This plan was fortunately successful, as the natives had no means of subsistence in the forests; and their rear being threatened, they at once fell back on Pauhatanui, abandoning the Hutt, and withdrawing the field of operations from the neighbourhood of the settlements.
An officer. Lieutenant Page of the 58th, was the first to find that the enemy's position in the Hutt had been evacuated, and, on examination, it proved most fortunate that the Governor's good sense had been acted on instead of the rash advice of those who
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counselled an attack at all risks. It was found that the forest which had been held by the enemy was traversed by a single narrow track, almost impassable to Europeans. At the distance of a mile and a half, the path ascended a narrow ridge of rocks, having a precipice on each side, covered with jungle. The ridge was so narrow, that only one person could ascend at a time, and led to a hill with a broad summit, on which a stockade had been constructed, so as completely to command the path, which was rendered more difficult by an abattis built across it.
The rear of the position was quite as inaccessible as the front, and on each flank was a precipice. From the number of huts, it must have been occupied by from three hundred to four hundred men. This is a very good specimen of the sort of position usually selected for defence by the Maories, and one that might have caused us severe loss, but for the better tactics of Governor Grey, who had succeeded in making the enemy abandon it without costing us a man.
In the beginning of the following month a barbarous murder was committed by some of the natives under the protection of Rangihaeta, who refused to give them up; moreover, making the road "tapu" 10
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which communicated between the coast and Wellington, and otherwise acting in a hostile manner.
It had been the Governor's intention to wait for fine summer weather to begin field operations against the rebels; but it was found necessary at once to put a stop to such outrages, and as a check upon them, troops were sent round to occupy the point at Porirua.
In the meantime Rauperaha continued to make declarations of friendship, and was liberal in his offers of advice and assistance, though there were not wanting circumstances to excite suspicion.
Shut in, as Wellington is, by forest-covered mountains, it was evident that means must be immediately taken to open out communications with the interior, for military as well as for agricultural purposes. These were undertaken without delay, and within a few weeks Governor Grey had on hand works that ought to have been commenced years before, and
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which might have obviated the chief difficulties that had now to be contended with.
From this period everything appeared to promise favourably. The roads were commenced, and the troops fortified their position at Porirua: Rauperaha continued to profess friendship, and the rebels, though still in arms, offered no interruption to the troops, and ceased to molest the settlers. This calm, however, was only in seeming, for on the 16th of May a party of natives, about two hundred strong, attacked the advanced outpost in the Valley of the Hutt, and were repulsed, though not till they had inflicted a severe loss on us.
The natives were led by a Wanganui chief, Mamaku, who selected the half-hour just before dawn to make his attack. The outpost was in a partial clearing surrounded by dense bush and fallen trees, through which the Maories approached close to the sentry, and would probably have tomahawked him before the alarm could be given, had not his dog sprung upon the nearest Maori and pinned him. The dog was wounded and the sentry tomahawked, though not before the alarm was given. It came too late, however, to save the piquet, who were imprudently quartered in a canvass tent, which formed a conspicuous object in the surrounding darkness; so that
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they were almost all shot down by a single volley before they had time to extricate themselves. The men, though taken by surprise and at disadvantage, turned out rapidly, and maintained their ground, ultimately succeeding in driving off the enemy, though they had lost twelve men killed and wounded.
The Governor, who had gone to Auckland, lost no time returning to Wellington, and with his presence commenced the operations detailed in these sketches, and which ended in the capture of Te Rauperaha, in baffling the taua from Wanganui, compelling Rangihaeta and Mamaku to retreat from Pauhatanui, clearing the vicinity of the Wellington settlements from such unpleasant neighbours, and allowing roads to be constructed, the land to be cleared, and thus laying the foundation of the present prosperity.
In Auckland there has been no further necessity for a resort to arms, while the strength of the Europeans is rapidly increasing, and the construction of fortifications and roads are adding to the security of the settlements.
The natives are every day becoming more attached to the English government, and more inclined to peaceable occupations and the acquisition of property; and, if the present goodwill can only be maintained
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for a few years, they will become entirely weaned from their inclination to resort to arms, form useful members of society, and be a blessing instead of a curse to the colonists.
At Wanganui, the old causes of quarrel have been amicably arranged; and we can count some of our firmest friends among those who were so lately arrayed in arms against us; many of them are now to be seen at the distance of three hundred miles from their own country, waging useful war against the forest-trees, or working on the roads, under the superintendence, in many instances, of the very men against whom they were formerly in arms.
Copper has been added to the exports from the north, and coal and iron have been found in abundance in the south; and there is now every prospect of the country justifying what was predicted of it in 1839, -- "that there is no part of the earth in which colonisation could he effected with a greater or surer prospect of national advantage" 11