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MR BRYCE ON NATIVE AFFAIRS.

Mr Bryce, in his address to his constituents on Wednesday evening, stated that the plan he suggested, when in the. Ministry, for dealing with Te Whiti' would have to be carried out in the future. From the time he took office he had one consistent plan in mind. Things as they have been on the coast could not continue) and therefore the object which the Uo- t vernmeut had to bear in mind was to deal justice to the natives, at the same time determinedly upholding the authority of the law. The whole question was a most difficult one, for in the first placed the whole of the coast with regard to claims and promises ip respect to land re. ' stored or to be restored, was in the most tangled and complicated condition it was | possible to conceive. The appointment of a Commission was merely folio wing -out., the proposal of the preceding Government, and the only difference was in the -, number of persons appointed on such: It ' * was necessary to appoint the Commission to satisfy the natives that the colony"'’.', meant to do justice to them, but at the :: same time he took it that it was necessary to show the Maoris that Government were fully determined to carry out their purposes, and have their will upon that coast; to show them in fact that settlement rndpt go onandthe authority of the lawibetiphlla! It was with the latter idea of cotmn&ng 1 the Maoris that they had the power to do H that, that he meved the Armed Constabp- , lary across the Waingongoro river.* Qraat J ’- changes had taken place since that time, * so great that people had almost forgotten > ! the state of things that existed there* ’ fourteen months ago. Why, when he : ‘ asked for money to make roads,-a member' of the late Government tried to gfct ! *hlra‘ !f to promise that he would raake no roada fr; - without the consent of -the natives. People felt convinced that it* meant war, 1 and from various influential quarters the Government were urged 'not do advene©-' the Constabulary across the river until

the Royal Commission had complcteu * * labors. He knew that in that case the , Royal Commission would be a farce—l hat the only thing to give the Royal Commission a chance of success was a display of force at the same time. He, therefore, . -moved the force across the Waingor.goro, which was merely in pursuance of the ' very principles he had laid down at the outset. He did not do this without a ' deep sense of his responsibility, for he knew if things went wrong, settlements were ruined, and people murdered, he should be resting under a heavy responsibility, and should be accused of bad judgment and so on. The point of divergence between himself and the Government occurred after the survey of the land and its preparation for the market. At that time he ought to have been permitted to have paid a visit to Te Whiti, with such a force at his back a 8 would have commanded respect; to have gone, in point of fact, with as large a force of the Armed Constabulary as could have been collected together, and have said to Te Whiti, “This is a very small - -country, too small to hold two . separate authorities. If you are the man of sense some people suppose you to be, , you will see that for yourslf, and you will also see which of the two authorities • must prevail. Either the Queen or you must prevail, and I must see that the authority of the law shall from this time < forth prevail at Parihaka as well as elsewhere. ” He would have told him that ho could no longer. he permitted to harbor criminals ; that such a thing was fraught with danger to the community ; and particularly that he could no longer be permitted to give lefuge to murderers, and should have told him that there was one murderer there who must be arrested, and that he had come to arrest him, and then and there he should have arrested that man. If Te Whiti had quietly consented, there would have been no necessity for the arrest of Te Whiti himeelf, except this, that it would have been done through the necessity to destroy his ; prestige among the Maoris. His prestige •so far as it went was hostile to our authority ; but if he resisted, he should have apprehended him with as little hesitation as he would have apprehended any other person who resisted the law. Whether he resisted or not. this step would from that time forth have placed him under the control of the law, and his attitude so far as was hostile to the Government would have been seriously shaken. He had been charged by a section of the Government press with departing from the recommendations of the Commission ; but this he distinctly dcglcd, aud he regretted that the writers ot fliese articles did not, before asserting, ascertain what the lines of recommendation of the Commission were. Allowing Te Whiti the power to harbor criminals at Parihaka was a direct encouragement of crime. He believed Hiroka only murdered M'Lean out of private malice ; but immedirtely he went to Parihaka and said it was because of the land —he became- a hero and honored guest, and so remains. It was but human nature that Maoris who may be a little disposed in that way would go and do likewise. No doubt, if Tuhi had not, by the activity of the Armed Constabulary, been prevented fcbm going to Parihaka, he would have tbM the same tale, and would, no doubt, have been similarly treated. He believed they>would have gone and arrested him, but if 'it would have been right to have dirested Tuhi, it must be also right to ■ arrest Hiroki. It has been said that- they were, no more bound to arrest Hiroki than any of the murderers itt the Waikato or in the King

country ; : but to his mind that argument'had no : force. .It would have been undesirable to have attempted the arrest ofthe murderers of Moffatt at Upper Wanganui because it would have been useless to do so; but suppose they had (Some Up to Putiki, and stayed week after week and month after month, would they not I have been bound to go and arrest them ? Certainly so. ' With the Waikato and King countiy that would simply bring about a .war, but there was a strong force within two miles of Parihaka, where Hiroki is flaunting himself. He did not attach so much importance as some people did r to the expense, because he knew it Was over-estimated. He did not resign in'September last because he hoped, by giving up certain points to that portion of the Ministry which differed from him, to obtotSu hhrown way in the essential point. Those gentlemen had a perfect right to ~ their judgment, and, doubtless, exercised good of the colony. He conswtored .it useless to negotiate with Te npjjd&r Until -his power was broken the prisoners could not be liberated, as . - return previous to that would only strengthen Te Whiti’s power. The success they had experienced up to the present time whs entirely duo to their showing a determination to have their own way.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18810325.2.10

Bibliographic details

MR BRYCE ON NATIVE AFFAIRS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 302, 25 March 1881

Word Count
1,223

MR BRYCE ON NATIVE AFFAIRS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 302, 25 March 1881

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