NGAPUHI OWES THE GOVERNMENT BIG TIME!
On the 6 February 2006 when the One New Zealand Foundation Inc set up its display opposing the Treaty 2 U Exhibition at Waitangi, we received many encouraging comments from Maori and Pakeha, but one comment will stick in my mind forever.
A very old Maori man came up to me and asked the question, “Do you know why Ngapuhi were so keen to sign the Treaty”. I had never really thought about this and answered, “No”.
He replied, “Ngapuhi had more muskets that any other tribe and under the leadership of Hongi Hika in 1820 had gone south slaughtering, eating and taking slaves of hundreds of his fellow countrymen. This had continued for about ten years until the southern tribes had gained enough muskets to lodge a counter attach on Ngapuhi for utu – revenge”, which was a fundamental rule of Maori culture in the 19th century.
Research has shown, in 1820 Hongi Hika had travelled to England to complete the Maori to English dictionary and while there, he befriended Baron Charles De Thierry, a Frenchman and did a deal of 40,000 acres of land in New Zealand for 500 muskets, which Hika picked up in Australia on his return to New Zealand. He also swapped the gifts the King had given him, except for his coat of armor, which saved him on many occasions from death, for another 300 muskets. Including those muskets Ngapuhi already held, about 1000 muskets in total.
Hongi Hika and his Ngapuhi warriors then went on the rampage south slaughtering thousands of unarmed innocent men, women and children for the sport and the feasts that followed. It is said the stench of the rotting bodies was the only reason they were forced to move and repeat the slaughter all over again.
By 1835 Waikato were becoming very powerful and had annihilated Taranaki and Te Rauparaha, Ngāti Toa had invaded the South Island slaughtering thousands and taking thousands as slaves. Some of those Taranaki that had fled from the Waikato, then traveled to the Chatham Islands slaughtering or farming the Moriori like swine into virtual extinction.
The old Maori man said, “Ngapuhi was to be their next victim!”
In 1831, thirteen Ngapuhi chiefs had written to the King asking him to be their guardian and protector. Britain responded by sending James Busby as Resident in 1833, but without troops he was of little benefit. He was called, “A man of war with out guns”.
In 1835, Busby tried to get the chiefs to sign the Declaration of Independence but as usual tribal tension and fighting took precedence over political co-operation and he could only attract 26 signatures at the time, so it was abandoned without one meeting taken place. It became evident; the chiefs could never form a united working government.
Many of Ngauphi chiefs were now keen on getting Britain more involved in New Zealand and while Britain was reluctant, she eventually agreed to send Captain William Hobson to ask the chiefs to agree to Britain taking control of New Zealand to bring law and order to a country seen to be completely out of control.
To do this; each chief had to give up their territory and government to Queen Victoria by the Tiriti o Waitangi for Britain to become legally involved in New Zealand.
On the 5th February 1840, Lt. Governor Hobson read out the Treaty of Waitangi to the chiefs and people gathered at Waitangi. It is stated over 1000 people attended. For 5 hours they discussed the Treaty with Hobson, then well into the night with the Missionaries. From the speeches the chiefs gave at Waitangi, there is no denying they fully understood that New Zealand would become British soil under English rule, irrespective of race, colour or creed.
LT. Governor Hobson was not instructed or had the authority to give Maori any special rights in the Tiriti o Waitangi not already enjoyed by all the people of England under English law.
By morning, 52 Ngapuhi chiefs had agreed to give up their territories and governments for protection and, “the same rights as the people of England”. (Article 3 of the Tiriti o Waitangi). By the end of May 1840 over 500 chiefs had signed the Treaty and Britain declared British Sovereignty over the Islands of New Zealand under the dependency of New South Wales.
Lt. Governor Hobson stated, “The treaty which forms the base of all my proceedings was signed at Waitangi on the 6th February 1840, by 52 chiefs. This instrument I consider to be de facto the treaty, and all signatures that are subsequently obtained are merely testimonials of adherence to the terms of that original document”. The only Treaty signed on the 6th February 1840 was the Tiriti o Waitangi. No English version was authorised or signed on that day.
“If you think these things are wrong, then blame your ancestors who gave away their rights when they were strong”. Sir Apirana Ngata, Minister of Native Affairs, M.A., LI.B., Lit.D.
The first question that must be asked,
If Ngapuhi had not asked for and agreed to the Tiriti o Waitangi, where would they be to day? Would they have been defeated like Taranaki, the tribes of the South Island and the Moriori?
We will never know the answer to this question but we do know they agreed to the terms of the Tiriti o Waitangi and the protection it gave. We also know their ancestry lives on in many New Zealanders due to their ancestors having the sense to see the problems they had in 1840 and agreed to sign the Tiriti o Waitangi with the protection of British rule and English law.
The second question that must be asked,
Why do Ngapuhi expect compensation of $600 million when the Government saved this tribe, like many other tribes from total extinction by their own people in acts of genocide?
The third question that must be asked
How did New Zealand become a British Colony with its own Governor, Government to make laws and Courts and Judges to enforce those laws?
The answer is, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter dated the 16 November 1840!
The day we should all celebrate as “New Zealand Day – 16 November”.
For further information: www.onenzfoundation.co.nz
Prepared by Ross Baker for the One New Zealand Foundation Inc. (C).