BRIEF REVIEWS OF THE PAST HISTORY OF THE DIFFERENT MISSIONS. THE WANGANUI DISTRICT OF NEW ZEALAND.
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PA ON THE WANGANUI RIVER. -- Vide p. 407.
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BRIEF REVIEWS OF THE PAST HISTORY OF THE DIFFERENT MISSIONS.
THE WANGANUI DISTRICT OF NEW ZEALAND. 1
THE work of evangelization in this District, like that at Otaki, originated with the Natives themselves. Youths who had received instruction in our Missionary Schools at the Waimate, like Matahau had travelled in different directions, visiting their friends, and conveying from tribe to tribe the truths which they had learned. Some Christian Natives from the Waimate had visited. Taranaki, 2 where a remnant of the Ngateawa, after the main body had gone south-eastward to Kapiti, continued to lead a restless life, harassed by the Waikatos, and often compelled to
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seek refuge on Motorua, one of the rocky Sugar-loaf islands. 3 Thus some knowledge of Christian truth, and an anxious desire to know more, had extended itself along the coast from Mount Egmont to Wanganui; so that when the Rev. O. Hadfield reached that part of the island in February 1840, he found much to interest him. As he passed through the Pas Waitotara, Patea, and Otumatua, the people flocked around him: he was the first Missionary who had travelled along the coast from the Wanganui river to Cape Egmont, and his heart was gladdened to see so many willing to hear the Word of God.
Others had reached the Pas on the Rangitikei river, and had been found there by Archdeacon H. Williams, on his return homeward from Otaki in December 1839. They had with them books which they had received at the Rotorua Station. Another Native, Wiremu Eruera, a Taupo Chief, had come to Wanganui, where he had diligently exerted himself in the instruction of his countrymen, and thus commenced a work, which subsequently, as Head Teacher, he has been privileged to carry forward and consolidate. When, therefore, Archdeacon H. Williams, in December 1839, reached Putiki Waranui, on the banks of the Wanganui, the site of our present Mission Station, the Natives gathered round him with great eagerness, and, on his proposing questions to them, he was pleased to find they could answer very many. He was the first Missionary who had penetrated to this portion of the coast. No Chapel had as yet been built by the Natives, and the Lord's-day, which he passed with them, was cloudy and rainy. They therefore assembled for Divine Service, to the number of 300, on the beach, where the height of the bank sheltered them from the wind or rain. All day Mr. Williams was closely beset by the Natives, and, after the Evening Service had been concluded, they continued in conversation with him until a late hour.
Proceeding up the river, he found the inhabitants of the different Pas importunate for books. On the Saturday evening he reached Hikurangi, to the great delight of the Natives, as he was the first European by whom they had ever been visited. The next morning, at break of day, they were assembled at his tent door; and after his breakfast was over, during which he had many anxious and admiring spectators, the bell, an old musket-barrel, sounded for prayers, and a good Congregation assembled. The responses were singularly good. After Service was over, he was assailed with a multitude of questions, and kept in close conversation on important points of Christian truth, until it was time for Evening Service. The demand for books was great, and the desire urgent that Missionaries should come and live among them.
Pukehika was the last Pa on the river which he visited, as his route from that point lay across the country. Here, at day-break on the 24th of December, he heard the pleasing sound of three bells for Morning Prayers at different hamlets in the neighbourhood.
Archdeacon H. Williams, on his return to the Bay of Islands, recounted to his brethren the interesting scenes he had met with, and the state of the native population in the new and extensive districts he had traversed. The Natives seemed like fallow-ground broken up and waiting to receive the seed, and the Rev. John Mason was appointed by the brethren to this part of the island. Accompanied by Mrs. Mason, he reached Putiki Waranui on the 20th of June 1840. The Natives, who had heard that they were coming, had commenced building houses for them after their own fashion, constructed of wooden piles driven into the ground, and a grass called "raupo," which grows seven or eight feet high, tied on the wood with the leaf of the flax. Hearty was the reception which they met with: many parties came three or four days' journey to see and welcome them, amongst whom Prayer-books and Catechisms were distributed.
Putiki Waranui had hitherto been only the temporary residence of the Natives during the fishing season, their Pas and cultivations extending along the Wanganui river several days' journey inland; and it soon became evident, that, however this fishing village might become the permanent residence of a portion of the tribes, the main body would remain in their old habitations, and that frequent journeys up the river, for the purpose of visiting them, would be necessary. Mr. Mason, soon after his arrival, went up the stream a four days' journey. Along the banks he found numerous villages, and eight large Pas, in four of which they had a Ware-karakia, or house for prayer, where they assembled morning and evening.
The extensiveness of the district constituted, indeed, a great difficulty. Southward, it
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reached the Rangitikei river, a distance of between twenty and thirty miles; northward it extended to Taranaki, about 100 miles; and inland, about 180 miles. The population was supposed to number about 6000, 4 located, in parties of from 20 to 400, in villages widely scattered. Mr. Mason, however, addressed himself with energy to the responsibilities of this wide field of labour; and, at the end of his first year of residence, thirteen Chapels had been built, three others were being erected, the Congregations averaged about 1800, and, in fifteen schools, 700 scholars were in attendance.
In February 1842, the erection of a brick Church, forty feet long and twenty-six feet wide, was commenced at Wanganui Station, the first of the kind attempted in this part of the island. It was of neat but plain workmanship, the limeburning, bricklaying, and carpentering, with the exception of the windows, pulpit, and communion rails, being the work of native volunteers, under the superintendence of Mr. Mason. On Sunday, June 19, 1842, being the second anniversary of his arrival, it was opened, when 800 persons assembled in and around the Church, from every part of the District, and some even from a distance of 200 miles up the river. During the Morning Service, forty-two adults were baptized. The Church was densely crowded, yet throughout the long Services a devout seriousness prevailed. The forenoon of the next day was occupied with the examination of the Schools, and the afternoon by the baptism of infants, the children of baptized parents. The Tuesday was set apart for a native feast, in preparation for which the morning presented a scene of unusual bustle and activity. The day was fine, and the School-ground strewed with fern and grass. At 11 o'clock A.M. about 600 were seated, according to their tribes, when 140 baskets of potatoes and kumeras, and twelve roasted pigs, were served up, and a blessing asked on the food which had been prepared. After the feast had concluded, several speeches were delivered, according to New-Zealand fashion, and very gratifying it was to hear the principal Chiefs exhorting their friends and countrymen to repentance, and perseverance in the work of faith and love. "This meeting," said one of them, "is not like our former meetings for war. We now meet in the presence of God, to love each other, and to strengthen each other in the work of God; wherefore let your works be right." Thus, notwithstanding counteracting influences, which subsequently manifested themselves in a more decided manner, the work of the Lord continued to prosper among the people. Evidences of this appeared in their altered conduct and intense desire to possess the Scriptures, Mr. Mason having received from them 30l. in twelve months for New Testaments and Psalters.
In Jan. 1843, this good man, in attempting, with Mr. Hadfield, to cross the Turakina river near its mouth, was drowned. Mr. Hadfield had entered the water first, when his horse became unmanageable, and returned with him to the bank which he had left. Mr. Mason, meanwhile, had fallen off his horse, and, beginning to sink, was heard calling, "Take me out, take me out." Mr. Hadfield--who, seeing the danger of his friend, had thrown off his coat and waistcoat--immediately swam to his assistance, and endeavoured, by placing his hand under his chin, to raise his head above water, but, as he raised him, he began to sink himself. He then dived under him, hoping Mr. Mason would lay hold on some part of his clothes, but he did not do so. Mr. Hadfield then, laying hold of Mr. Mason's left wrist with his right hand, endeavoured to drag him through the water; but, finding that the wind and tide were carrying them further from the shore, he was compelled to leave him, then several feet below the water, with difficulty reaching the land himself in a very exhausted state. Five minutes before, they had entered the river together: now they were separated, to meet no more in this life--one taken, and the other left. Thus died this zealous, diligent, and faithful Minister of Christ, "taken away from the evil to come," the first Missionary life which had fallen since the commencement of the Mission in 1815, notwithstanding the peculiar dangers to which the New-Zealand Missionaries continued to be exposed during that earlier period of its history. On the day following, Mr. Mason's body was found, and committed to the grave in the presence of all the English and Native inhabitants of Wanganui; and many were the tears that were shed, when, on the next Sunday, Mr. Hadfield, in his sermon, adverted to their Minister, who had been amongst them one week before, but was now taken to his rest. He was removed in the midst of much usefulness, having acquired a fair knowledge of the native language, and, during two years and a-half of his ministry at Wanganui, having baptized about 300 adults.
The Rev. R. Taylor reached Wanganui on
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the 30th of April 1843, as Mr. Mason's successor, and immediately proceeded to survey his District. Its great extent, and the difficulty of meeting the requirements from various quarters for instruction, decided him on selecting, from time to time, some particular Pa or village, engaging to be present there on a certain day; thus constituting it a place of rendezvous to all within reach, where such as were anxious to be received as Candidates for Baptism, or as recipients of the Lord's Supper, might have the opportunity of meeting him-- the assemblage at the Christmas season being reserved for his own central Station at Wanganui.
Pipiriki having been one of the first places selected for this purpose, Mr. Taylor proceeded up the river to this Pa in the latter end of October 1843. They first reached Hikurangi. This they found to be a romantic-looking Pa, enclosed within a grove of karaka trees, which, from the care bestowed on them, appeared to be highly prized. The aspect of the river in the neighbourhood of this Pa is very beautiful, the cliffs sometimes rising 100 feet in perpendicular height, yet covered with verdure in places so steep that it seems scarcely possible for the roots of the trees to find a tenure and means of sustenance. Where the banks are sloping, they are under cultivation; and now are producing corn as well as kumeras. Pukehika is a populous Pa of about 500 inhabitants. Opposite to it, on the river, are Rangitoto and Patiarero. This point is the junction of the only tributary of any magnitude which meets the Wanganui. Here he had a Congregation of about 800 in the open air, although it rained.
On leaving Pukehika next morning, the fleet of canoes had increased from fifteen to twenty, filled with Natives. The sight was picturesque in the extreme. Some of the people were habited in the most strange-looking dresses, composed of pieces of printed calico wrapped round their bodies; others in blankets or native garments. Ridiculous as were some of the figures, the scene was very animated. One of the Teachers standing up in each canoe, in the native style, animated his men, and their canoe songs resounded as they passed the lofty walls of rock which stood forward in the river. Occasionally a canoe would be upset in passing a rapid, or in consequence of striking a sunken tree. Then, all would be noise and confusion, one calling to another for assistance.
Such fleets of canoes moving forward, not to scenes of war, but to some particular Pa where the Natives expect to meet their Minister and Christian brethren, are now, we rejoice to say, no unusual occurrence on the waters of the Wanganui. Twelve canoes may perhaps be seen drifting down the stream, on their return from some such happy assemblage, seven abreast, the native crews all eagerly listening to the questions they put from time to time from the Scriptures, and all looking up to Mr. Taylor as to a parent, and gathering in the instruction that he gives. It is such a scene that we have represented in our Engraving. 5 It gives an idea of the scenery on the banks of the river in the lower part of its course, where the country through which it passes is not so bold as in the neighbourhood of Pukehika and Pipiriki.
On reaching Pipiriki, Mr. Taylor was astonished at finding that, since his visit in the previous June, a large Pa had been built, and a very neat cottage erected for him, about ten feet square, with a pretty verandah. As they approached, an assemblage of people-- larger, perhaps, than had ever previously met there for peaceable purposes--came forth to meet him. At least 500 individuals were drawn out, three deep, in an open space, to receive him, with all of whom he had to shake hands. This was followed by more substantial proofs of their regard. No sooner had Mr. Taylor and his party taken their seats than they commenced carrying an immense quantity of provisions, which were piled up in heaps. When all were seated, a Native, going round with a long stick in his hand, named the place for which each heap was intended, and, coming opposite Mr. Taylor's house, cried out, "Tenei mo te Teira" (This is for Mr. Taylor). Mr. Taylor on that evening preached to a Congregation of fully 1000 people, arranged on a sloping ground fronting the Church, which was not large enough to contain one-third of the numbers present: seventy-six adults were baptized.
We are not to suppose that an extensive work of this description could be carried on without difficulties and hinderances of various kinds. To one only of these can reference be made in this Paper--the angry spirit of the heathen Natives in the Taupo District toward that portion of Mr. Taylor's people who resided in the villages along the sea-coast, especially the inhabitants of Waitotara. In 1840 they had been defeated before that Pa with considerable loss; and in the beginning of 1845 it was reported that they were coming down in considerable force, under the com-
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mand of Te Heuheu of Te Rapa, to average the death of their friends. This Chief had been instigated to this aggression by Turoa, an aged heathen Chief, the most influential on the Wanganui, and related to the Taupo Chiefs, whose second son, Tahana, a decided Christian, was one of Mr. Taylor's Native Teachers. The Waitotara Natives, aware of their danger, began to muster their friends, and to make preparations for a resolute defence. Mr. Taylor, on proceeding to Te Heuheu's camp, found it impossible to dissuade him from his purpose. After the example of Honi Heke, he set the Queen's authority at defiance; blasphemed the God of the Christians; declared that he was himself God, and that the Tongariro was his great progenitor; and vowed that he would take Waitotara, and force the Natives to abandon their faith. After repeated interviews with him, he agreed that Mr. Taylor should go to Waitotara, to try and negociate a peace, on condition of utu, or payment, being made to him by the Natives of that place. Tahana accompanied Mr. Taylor. The undertaking was a dangerous one. On reaching a headland, as they passed along the beach, they saw the cliffs above glittering with muskets; and a number of armed savages, belonging to the invaders, rushing down, commanded them to stop: nor was it without much difficulty and hazard that Mr. Taylor was permitted to pass. He found Waitotara in a state of defence, occupied by about 300 men, while 100 more were expected on the next day. The Natives said they would give no utu, or payment, to Te Heuheu; that they had not commenced the war, but the Taupos; and that if they had slain some of them it was in self-defence. Their enemies, Te Heuheu and Turoa, were on earth; but the God in whom they believed, and the Saviour in whom they trusted, were in heaven; and therefore they who sought their lives could go no further than they were permitted. Providentially, at this crisis, when a collision seemed to be inevitable, the "Hazard" man-of-war, with troops on board, appeared off the Wanganui harbour, and the resident magistrate, Major Richmond, was thus enabled to address forcible remonstrances to the Chiefs of the invading party. They were thus induced to pause in their enterprise. Taking advantage of this opportunity, our Missionary, together with the Bishop of New Zealand, who reached Wanganui about this time, redoubled his exertions, and the Taupo Natives were induced to return home.
In the next May a different scene took place at Waitotara. It had been selected by Mr. Taylor as the central place for the administration of the Sacrament. Leaving Wanganui at sunrise, with about twenty Natives, Mr. Taylor joined on the way the main body of his people, who had waited for his coming up. On approaching Waitotara the sight was deeply interesting, as, one after another, his Natives filed along the narrow winding path, forming a line nearly a quarter of a mile in length. On going down next morning, after Service, to the place where the Wanganui Natives were encamped, he found that the Waitotara people had built for them a house nearly 200 feet long. The scene was very interesting. A long line of Natives brought various kinds of food, which they piled up in one long row facing the house, while beyond it were separate heaps consisting of kumeras, potatoes, dried fish, lampreys, and some enormous kets of taro, 6 each weighing 150lbs. No sooner had Mr. Taylor taken his seat, than one of the Chiefs of the Pa jumped up and welcomed the Wanganui people. "Welcome," he said, "ye children of God! your religion is the true one, and must prevail." After several other speeches, George King, the principal Chief of the Taranaki Natives, a noble-looking man six feet high, exclaimed, "Let the Word be heard! let it be heard! Great is the power of Satan amongst men, but his power must decrease, while the Word of God goes on increasing until all obey it."
After Evening Service had been concluded, the Natives gathered around Mr. Taylor for conversation. Incessant subjects were presented for his judgment. After he had lain down they would not let him rest, but continued asking him questions until midnight, selecting some very difficult passages from Scripture, and resuming the conversation long before sunrise. The character of the questions was such as to assure Mr. Taylor, not only that the Scriptures were carefully read, but that the readers were seeking the one thing needful.
The eventful history of the last five years, and the present promising aspect of this District, must remain for a future Number.
LONDON: Printed and Published by WILLIAM MAVOR WATTS, at No. 12, Crown Court, Pickett Place, Strand, in the Parish of St. Clement Danes, in the County of Middlesex--Saturday, August 31, 1850.
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BRIEF REVIEWS OF THE PAST HISTORY OF THE DIFFERENT MISSIONS.
THE WANGANUI DISTRICT OF NEW ZEALAND. 7
THE war between the British and a section of the Aborigines in the northern part of the island had commenced in the beginning of 1845. Honi Heke, an influential Chief of the Waimate District, in conjunction with Kawiti, an heathen Chief, and an inveterate opponent of the Gospel, had attacked the town of Russell, in the Bay of Islands; and, in despite of the resistance that he met with, a second time had cut down the flag-staff, the emblem of British authority, and taken possession of the town. Nene Walker, 8 a powerful Chief of Hokianga,
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collected his tribe, with the intention of opposing the return of Heke inland. The British troops and sailors, about 500 in number, having joined Walker's people, an attempt was made to storm a fortified Pa belonging to the insurgent Chiefs, in which the military were severely repulsed, with a loss of thirty killed and seventy or more wounded.
News of this success on the part of the insurgents spread rapidly through the island. The facts were known to the native population of Wanganui a week before they had reached the Europeans. Vague ideas began to be entertained of native superiority. The worst portion of the Natives, who had hitherto lived in peace with the Europeans, from fear as well as from interest, the first motive being removed, thought little of the second, and preferred the prospect of war and plunder to that of trade and tranquillity. The position of small European Settlements like that of Wanganui became daily more critical, the inhabitants having no power to defend themselves, and the Natives being fully conscious of their weakness.
About this time the aged Chief Turoa, the father of Tahana, at whose instigation Te Heuheu had been induced to make his last attempt on Waitotara, became seriously ill. By birth this man was the great Chief of the Wanganui river, although his own personal possessions were confined to a district on the Manganui-a-te-ao, a tributary of the Wanganui, which enters the main river a little above Pipiriki. His near relationship to the head Chiefs of Taupo, Rotorua, and Waikato, gave him much influence. From the time that he had united with the Taupo Natives, in the recent attempt on Waitotara, the hand of God seemed to rest heavily upon him, and he had been wasting away. Mr. Taylor, accompanied by Tahana, proceeded up the river in September 1846 to visit him. The old Chief was in much weakness, scarcely able to draw his breath, and he was strongly urged to cast away his karakia 9 and heathen customs, and turn to God through Christ. Contrary to his usual habit, he listened patiently--nay, more, he declared his resolution to renounce heathenism, to remove the tapu from his body, and karakia to God. A few days subsequently he was again visited. Sickness had made rapid progress, and death was at hand; but the old Chief was quite sensible, and, in answer to Mr. Taylor's questions, declared that he had given up all his false gods, and rested solely on Christ for salvation. "But," said he, raising himself up, and leaning on his elbow, "tell me, do you think one who has been living all his life in the dark can now, in the last hour, enter the light? In short, can I be a child of God, after being so long a child of the devil?" He was reminded of the labourer who was hired at the eleventh hour, and still received the same as those who had borne the heat and burden of the day; and of the expiring thief who believed on Jesus, and was promised that very day he should be in paradise. He mused on these words. The Evening Service was then commenced, the first he had ever attended, and concluded with an exhortation, in which the Christian's hope, as contrasted with the condition of the wicked, was set before him. Mr. Taylor then approaching, reminded him that, so far as this life was concerned, he was now about to bid him farewell, in all probability, for ever; that he felt anxious to hear from him whether he had unfeignedly renounced his false gods, and whether he wished to die as one of the people of Christ. The old Chief repeating his confession of sin and trust in Jesus, the Missionary declared himself willing to baptize him. This some of his Chiefs who were present were not prepared for, and would, if possible, have prevented. They wished Tahana to interfere; but, on his refusing to do so, the old man was baptized, receiving the name of Kingi Hori. No sooner had he thus openly renounced the faith of his ancestors, in which he had obstinately lived during the period of his long life, than his people set up a loud wail, because his tapu as an Ariki or Chief Priest had been broken--a lamentation which only takes place when principal Chiefs are baptized. His death soon followed. Sitting up in the middle of the night, he caused himself to be dressed in his best clothes, and then told all present to live in peace; thai during his life time he had been a man delighting in war and evil; "but," he said, "let the evil be buried with me. You are all brethren. You originally came to this land in the same canoe: love, therefore, as men of the same canoe." He then lay down, and when they awoke in the morning they found him dead and cold.
From this tribe, the Patutokotoko, a turbulent race, and hitherto indisposed to Christianity, the commencement of war was most to be apprehended. In conjunction with the Taupo Natives, their near kindred and connexions, they had often attacked the Nga-te-rua-nui, inhabiting the coast at Waitotara and
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Patea, and had recently been invited to unite with the Taupos in cutting off the Pakehas (Europeans) at Wanganui. The Christian death of this old Chief, and his exhortations to peace, were most opportune, and for some time exercised a tranquillizing influence on the tribe.
Thus the year closed peacefully by the celebration of the Christmas season at Wanganui, when a Congregation of 1000 assembled in a field opposite the Church, which was subsequently filled by the Communicants, to the number of 270.
In the commencement of 1846 the rumours of an invasion from Taupo were revived, and both the Native and European population at Wanganui were thrown into great excitement. The Natives commenced fortifying their Pas afresh, and the more timid portion of the European population either left, or made preparations for leaving the place. Such was the feeling of apprehension, that Mr. Taylor, who had been at Taupo in the preceding November, resolved on another journey thither, in order to ascertain whether a war expedition was in preparation, and, if possible, to prevent it. Te Heuheu assured him that he had no further intention of attacking Waitotara, and that, as for Wanganui, if all other Settlements shared the fate of Russell, Wanganui should be the last, for he would defend it himself. Toward the Ngapuhi, Heke's tribe, he had never entertained any favourable feelings, since in former days, when they exclusively possessed fire-arms, they had cut off several of his relatives. Still, he could not divest himself of sympathy for Heki, as a Chief of the same country and colour with himself. This feeling, he said, pervaded all the tribes, who were anxiously awaiting the result of the present protracted war; and such was the excitement caused throughout the island, that he found it difficult to keep the tribes around him in proper order.
Such being, to a considerable extent, the temper of the native population, it cannot be a matter of surprise that the war which had been commenced in the north soon extended itself, southward. In the valley of the Hutt matters had assumed a serious aspect.
Port Nicholson, in Cook's Straits, on the shore of which the town of Wellington has been built, is situated in a foreland extending from NE to SW, having on the SE Wairarapa, or Palliser Bay, and on the NW a bight of the coast, in which lies Mana, or Table Island. The foreland itself is a prolongation of hills from the interior, the outermost point of it being called Cape Terawiti. The hills on the eastern and western sides of the harbour rise abruptly from the water's edge, and, gradually approaching, meet about seven miles from the beach, enclosing a triangular space formed of alluvial deposits from the Eritonga, or Hutt River. The valley which it waters contains about 15,000 acres of carse, or alluvial land, most valuable for agricultural purposes. This valley, of first importance to the settlers, from the limited quantity of level country in the immediate vicinity of Wellington, had now become the subject of dispute between the two races; and armed Natives had entered upon, and taken forcible possession of the lands, which the Colonists had brought under cultivation.
In connexion with this southern war, we are anxious specially to consider the conduct of the native tribes professing Christianity at Waikanae, Otaki, and upward to the north of Wanganui.
Time has been, when it was considered in the highest degree dangerous to British ascendancy to attempt the evangelization of a native race, which had been placed under our dominion, and when it was conceived that the only way to ensure the continuance of our rule was to discourage all such efforts. Such principles were once advocated and acted upon in India. It will be found, in New-Zealand history, that the effects of Missionary effort proved just the reverse; that the action of Christianity neutralized the designs of the disaffected, preventing any thing like combined effort on the part of the native population, keeping large masses of them, as in the Otaki and Wanganui Districts, separated from the movement, and reducing that which might have been a bloody, if not protracted, national contest, to a collision with detached and unsupported fragments of the Natives.
We are also solicitous that the conduct of our Missionary, the Rev. R. Taylor, in very critical circumstances, requiring the exercise of much Christian judgment, courage, and forbearance, should be duly appreciated.
Reproaches uttered against Missionaries in the excitement of war are of little importance. At such a time the peculiarity of their position, interested as they are in the welfare of both races, renders their conduct liable to misconception: the Europeans are displeased with them because they will not abandon their native flocks, and the Natives are displeased with them because they endeavour to befriend their own countrymen. But it is altogether different when, after years have elapsed, similar expressions are printed at home and
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put into circulation--when Missionaries are denounced "as officious whisperers, constantly dinning it into the ears of the Natives, that they are likely to be cheated and overreached" --"the prime movers of discord and ill-will" --"who, beside assiduously fostering ill-will so the Whites, have succeeded in making the Natives pharasaical to a degree scarcely credible." It will be only necessary attentively so weigh the bearing and conduct of our Missionary, and the purposes for which he used his influence over the Natives during the period of the southern war, in order to be in a position to judge as to the truthfulness of such assertions, and the degree of weight which ought to attach to them.
In February 1846 Mr. Taylor arrived at Wellington. The Natives were mustering in the Hutt valley, and a portion of the troops which, under the direction and command of the new Governor, Capt. Grey, had successfully crushed the rebellion in the north, had just arrived in the harbour of Port Nicholson on board the "Castor," "Calliope," and other vessels. Perceiving that unless the Natives gave way a collision was inevitable, Mr. Taylor, accompanied by Tahana, proceeded to the Hutt, in the hope of persuading the insurgent force to break up and separate. It was late in the evening when he reached them. He found sixty or seventy of them about a quarter of a mile in the depth of the forest. They had their outposts, and were all armed, but the leading Chiefs were absent. They listened attentively to the entreaties of Mr. Taylor, and declared themselves willing to desist on compensation being given to them for their land and crops.
The night had closed in before he set forth on his return to Wellington. Tahana went before him, carrying a firebrand, which, being waved to and fro, afforded sufficient light to enable them to find their way through the dark forest, from the gloom of which they had scarcely emerged when they were challenged by the advanced sentinel of the British force. They found the officers and soldiers bivouacking in the open air, some leaning against trees, others stretched before a large fire.
The next morning the good offices of the Missionary were resumed. Although the Governor refused to grant the Natives any thing until they had left, yet he also promised, if they departed peaceably, to take their case into consideration. They were given until noon to decide, when, if they continued refractory, hostilities were to commence. The guns had been got up during the night, and a great number of all classes of settlers had congregated. At length, at the earnest solicitation of the Missionary, the Natives agreed to go, and arose and left the place, a source of sincere gratification to the Governor and officers, who were most anxious to avoid the shedding of blood.
The evening, however, produced new circumstances of irritation. The native houses were plundered by some low and unprincipled Europeans; their plantations spoiled; the native Chapel broken into, and the pulpit overthrown. The Natives became much excited, and were easily induced by the formidable Chief, Rangihaeata, to resume their hostile position in the Hutt; and, acting upon the principle of retaliation, they plundered several families of settlers, stripping their houses of every thing, and compelling them to fall back on Wellington.
Mr. Taylor again visited them, but found them deaf to every thing he could urge. They acknowledged that they had plundered, and said they would continue to do so, as they had been similarly treated; that they were determined to have no Wakapous (Christians) among them; and, as the fences round the graves of their people had been burnt, they had taken up their dead and interred them elsewhere. With a heavy heart Mr. Taylor returned to detail the ill success of his efforts to the Governor, and, finding that his further interference would be unavailing, he left Wellington the next day for Wanganui.
At Porirua he met the two Chiefs, Rangihaeata and Rauparaha. 10 The former openly declared his intention to resist. When Mr. Taylor remonstrated with him he put out his tongue in blasphemous defiance, and said, what did he care for God? that he was one himself. Rauparaha dissembled, and professed a determination to aid the Governor. It was evident, however, that they were both actively engaged in organizing a widespread insurrection, and in persuading the Natives from the interior to join them. The circumstances in which Rauparaha was placed-- his son, Tamehana, being a decided Christian Native, who had adopted, to a considerable extent, European habits, and his tribe, the Ngatitoa, being indisposed to war, and anxious to sit still under Gospel influence--prevented him from manifesting the same open hostility which Rangihaeata was enabled to do. But his heart was as full of mischief.
Evidences of the warlike temper of these Chiefs, and of the evil they were actively kindling, met our Missionary at every step. A large
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sheet of paper, stuck up on a post, contained a notice, that all pigs passing by that way to Wellington would be turned back; that war was at hand; that it was not right to feed the Pakehas; and such as attempted to pass with provisions would pay for their temerity with their lives. As he travelled onward he met groups of Natives, some from Taupo, hastening to join the insurgent Chiefs. He had not been long at Rewarewa, where he had appointed to meet the Natives and administer the Sacrament on the 8th of March, when a messenger arrived with the intelligence that the English and Natives had been fighting, for the last three days, in the Hutt, and that Rauparaha had sent word for them all to meet him at Porirua. A large party of the young men had determined to join him, and had commenced singing one of their kakas, or war songs. The Christian Chiefs, consulting with Mr. Taylor, decided on convening a meeting, in the hope of dissuading them from doing so. Many excellent speeches were made by the assembled Chiefs. Paora said, if they went they must leave their books behind, and give up their ministers, and return to their former evil courses; "but," said he, "we have forsaken them, because we knew them to be bad, and therefore now, having turned to the living God, we must remain firm in His service." Another Chief, named Puke, with much sarcasm recapitulated the arguments urged by the advocates for war, which he refuted, showing the advantages of living at peace with the Europeans, and that they ought not to interfere in the matter of the Hutt, as the land had been paid for by the English, and justly belonged to them. The result of the meeting was most satisfactory. They all said that, as Christians, it was their duty to listen to their ministers, and they were resolved to do so. The administration of the Sacrament at Rewarewa was intended to have been a week earlier, but had been deferred on account of Mr. Taylor's visit to Port Nicholson. Had he not been on the spot at the moment when Rauparaha's message arrived, many would have gone to the seat of war.
Reaching Wanganui the next day, March the 10th, he found the Europeans in great alarm, expecting a visit from the Natives of the river on their way to join Rangihaeata, and fearing lest they might cut them off.
The position of the settlers at Wanganui with the Natives was at this time very peculiar. In the year 1841 Wanganui had been colonized. Houses had been built, land entered upon, and brought under cultivation. Upward of four years had elapsed, and no payment had been made, although 1000l. had been awarded to the Natives by the Land Commissioner. Governor Grey, who reached Wanganui a few days after Mr. Taylor's return from Wellington, had an interview with the Native Chiefs on the subject. Mawae, one of the principal Chiefs, said he was sick of waiting for payment; that he was like a man throwing a net a long way into the sea. At every pull he hauled it in, and looked to see what it contained, but perceived nothing; and thus he went on pulling and pulling it in, and still found nothing. They all agreed that it was good they should be paid for their land, as they had waited very long; but still, even if they were not paid yet, it was good to have Europeans among them, as, by the trade they introduced, they were themselves a payment; and that it was their wish that they and the Europeans should be one people.
A month afterward, agreeably to the Governor's promise, the "Victoria" brig arrived at Wanganui, bringing the promised payment of 1000l. But fresh difficulties arose. The Natives wished certain reserves to be made, inclusive of their cultivations, which they were anxious to retain. Other reserves had been marked out for them by the Europeans, which it was proposed they should accept in lieu of those which they had themselves decided upon. This they refused to do: they did not wish for more than half the quantity which had been awarded to them by the Land Commissioner, but they refused to receive other than the blocks which they had designated.
It was in the midst of such circumstances that the Chiefs held a meeting on the subject of the war. Mamaku, a heathen Chief of the Wanganui river, who had joined Rangihaeata, and had commanded the Natives in the conflict with the soldiers which had just taken place at the Hutt, had written them a letter inviting them to join him, and to persuade the Taupo Natives to do the same. In the matter of the land arrangements with the settlers, there had not been much done to conciliate the Wanganui Chiefs: on the contrary, much had been said, in the excitement of the moment, of an irritating nature. Had the adjustment of the land question been as they wished, and had they received payment, it might have been thought, if they decided to take no part in the war, that this had influenced them; but such was not the case. The present was evidently a trial of their Christian principle. They were tempted to join in the war. They had with the settlers disputes about land, which, occurring as they did at this particular crisis, strengthened the temptation. It was to be seen
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whether, as Christian Chiefs, they would resist and overcome it, and, instead of embracing the opportunity of revenging themselves for any supposed injury which they had received, continue to dwell in peace. It was resolved that a general meeting of the Chiefs should be convened, especially as it was rumoured that several of them had decided on joining Rangihaeata. It was held in the open air, opposite William the head Teacher's house. There Mr. Taylor was seated, having some of the Patutokotoko Tribe on one hand, some Taupos and strangers on the other, and the Putiki Natives in a group opposite to him; the Natives of different tribes and Pas in detached knots forming a circle round.
Pakoro, Turoa's eldest son, first addressed the assembled Chiefs, and he spoke as one from whose mind the dying exhortation of bis father had not been yet effaced. He said they were like a feeble widow, having lost their kaumatua (his father); that he had made up his mind to be at peace with the Pakehas, and would not take part in this war; that one of his Chiefs had joined the Hutt party, and two others had promised to do so, but that it was contrary to his wish; and that, instead of moving to the Hutt, he would go to Taupo, and cry over Te Heuheu, of whose death they had just heard, and take all his tribe with him; that, as to the land question, he was tired of it, and began to think the land never would be paid for. George King, the principal Chief of Taranaki, said that Te Teira (Mr. Taylor) was their guide, and that they must follow him. He spoke much, and in the most friendly manner, respecting the Europeans. Nga-para, a Chief of the Patutokotoko Tribe, admitted that he had promised to join the war party; that his grandson was among them, for whom his love was very great, whereas his love for the Pakehas had not yet begun to grow. Other Chiefs followed, all in opposition to Nga-para. They said his tikanga 11 was all wrong, and that they would have nothing to do with it; that they were all believers. Mr. Taylor concluded the proceedings. He expressed his pleasure at having heard Pakoro speak as he did; that he had spoken as a son of Turoa, and had remembered the words of his dying father. Having reproved Nga-para, he then reminded them that he had from the first advised them to sell a portion of their land, as they had more than they required, being anxious that they and the Europeans should grow up as one tribe, which would be for their mutual good; and that, as to the delay in settling the land question, it was better it should be so, as, by a careful arrangement of the boundaries beforehand, future misunderstandings would be avoided.
So ended this important meeting. The good intentions of the Chiefs were, however, to be subjected to further trial. The very same evening, the money designed for the payment of the land was re-shipped on board the cutter, which sailed the next morning for Wellington. On those who were wavering, and whose places of residence were at a distance up the river, there is reason to believe, from subsequent circumstances which remain to be related, that an unhappy effect was produced by this proceeding; but the conduct of the Chiefs along the coast, and in the vicinity of the Settlement, and their determination to live at peace with the Europeans, were in no respect altered by it. It may be well to mention, that Rangihaeata, on hearing of this meeting, declared his intention of putting Mr. Taylor to death should he fall into his hands, attributing the refusal of the Wanganui Chiefs to join him to the influence of Mr. Taylor.
We shall now revert to the Hutt. The insurgent force having been compelled, by the want of supplies of every kind, which Governor Grey had cut off, to leave the valley, had retreated to a strongly-fortified Pa at Pauhatanui, about three miles from Porirua, where Rangihaeata set at defiance the British power. Rauparaha, while pretending to be the friend of the British, secretly aided him, supplying the war party with ammunition and provisions. An intercepted letter having proved his treachery, the Governor resolved on putting aside this source of mischief. As he was asleep, the boats' crews of the "Calliope," under the command of Captain Stanley, entered his Pa and captured him, transferring him as a prisoner on board the "Driver." The boldness of the measure, the removal from all further interference of this crafty Chief, whose subtlety rendered him peculiarly formidable, and who was the head of the insurrection, while Rangihaeata and Mamaku were the hands, caused great discouragement amongst the war party. Many separated themselves from it, and went home. The two insurgent Chiefs, disheartened, abandoned the Pa, which was stockaded with a masked fence in front, and with flanking angles commanding all the faces, so that the storming of it would have been not without considerable loss of life. Retreating
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along the ridges of mountains that run parallel with the coast, on the spur of one of them they took up a strong position, inaccessible on the flanks and rear, and to be approached in front only along a very narrow ridge, covered with forest, which they had made still more difficult by felling the trees and constructing a kind of breast-work. In attempting to force this, Ensign Blackburne and some soldiers were shot, and the troops, whose privations had been most severe, lying at night on the wet ground, and in the daytime compelled to march through thick bush and swamps of New-Zealand forests, were withdrawn to the camp of Porirua.
Rangihaeata and Mamaku now succeeded in gaining the Pauha Mountain, above Wainui, on the western shore, above five miles north of Kapiti. Had the tribes in the neighbourhood been disposed to take part with them, this would have been a grand central position, from whence all who wished to do so might with facility have joined them. But this was not the case. The unspeakable advantage of having large bodies of the Natives kept tranquil at such a crisis, under the influence of Christianity, now became evident. The Waikanae Natives hemmed them in on one side, the Ngatitoas on the other; while the British troops and sailors were again moving forward on their front. They had no supplies. Almost naked, exposed, without a shelter, to most severe weather on the tops of the mountains, many are said to have perished. After sustaining a skirmish with the Natives of Port Nicholson, who had taken arms for the Pakehas, they were driven out of the District, Mamaku, and a party which adhered to him, reaching Wanganui in the latter end of September, and retiring to his own Pa up the river Wanganui.
He did not, however, long continue quiet. In the month of October he came suddenly down on Wanganui, at the head of a fighting party of 200 men, with the avowed purpose of cutting off the settlers and putting down the Wakapono, or Christian faith. Mr. Taylor was at a distance, on Missionary work. The settlers were few in number, and wholly unprepared for resistance. There were no troops nearer than Wellington. The situation of the settlement was most critical, but the Chiefs acted the part of Christian men, and rose up to protect the Europeans. George King at once crossed the river, and stopped the work of plunder which had commenced. In this state Mr. Taylor found matters on his arrival, the aggressors restrained for a moment by the conviction that, before they could injure the Europeans, the conflict must, in the first instance, be with their own countrymen. Mamaku and Te Oro, who had fought at the Hutt, and Maketu, who had always been anxious to join them, headed the invaders. The little settlement was filled with hostile Natives, and the Europeans were in a defenceless state. The police magistrate having arrived, a meeting of the settlers was held, to consider what had best be done, and the Magistrate was sent to inquire of the Chiefs if they would unite to defend the Europeans in case they were attacked. They at once rose up and accompanied him to the meeting; and the question whether they would assist the Europeans, and be one with them, having been put to them by the Chairman--John Williams, one of the Chiefs, in the name of his fellows, replied, that before the Gospel came they thought themselves a different race from the White Men, but God's Word had taught them they were all descended from one stock; that, as Christians, they were bound to aid one another; and that they would therefore stand up in their defence--an answer the more remarkable, as, on the Chiefs entering the place of meeting, one European, whose conduct was universally reprobated, proposed they should be turned out, as they had no business there, and knocked off the cap of one of them to teach him better manners.
The Chiefs acted as they had said. Friendly Natives were located in the houses of the different settlers for the night, and the town was placed under native protection. The Taua, finding that the Christian Natives were in earnest, and that the Europeans would not be the defenceless prey which they expected, after some days withdrew. The settlers, convinced of the greatness of the obligation under which they had been placed, opened a subscription for the purpose of giving the Natives a feast and making the Chiefs a present, as an expression of the friendly feeling entertained toward them by those whom they had so opportunely befriended. It was the triumph of Christian principle, and the best vindication of our Missionaries from such charges as being prime movers of discord and ill-will.
(To be continued. )