The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1889. TE KOOTI.
The obstinacy of Te Kob'ti m persisting m paying a visit to Poverty Bay, despite the dissuasion of the Hon Mr Mitchelson, will, there is every reason to fear, result m bloodshed. Although nearly a score of years hare passed since the cruel massacres with irbLh his tttmt will for ever be associated, the settlers have not forgotten the burning of homes, and the bloody deeds which form part of the tragic history of that terrible time, and there are sons and brothers, husbands and fathers yet living who are sworn to wash out the record m the blood of the phief offender whenever opportunity may §erve-r-in a word there are lots of people who have over and over again declared thejr determination (to use an American phrase) to shoot Te Kooti "on eight." There are tribes or hapus of Maoris who have juet as strong a hatred of To Kooli, and even among those who are not thus at enmity with him, there is a strong diplike to his visiting their districts at the head of a large following, though from a totally different motive, vis., because their visitors come down upon I them like a crowd of locusts and cat I them out of house and home Last session petitions were presented from the last-mentioned Natives setting forth that the frequent visits of Te Kooti and his large following to the several districts of the East Coast, especially Opotiki, tended greatly to impoverish the Natives, and asking that the ex-rebel might be restrained ; and m asking a question m the Legislative Cpuncil the $on Mr Wahawaha fully explained the pase of the petitioners, IJe said that (' the Natives of those parts were living m small communities of from fifteen to fifty m a settlement, and were, therefore, not m the habit of supplying themselves with a great quantity of food. Te Kooti on the other hand, was m the habit of travelling with as many as from two hundred to seven hundred followers, and when they reached these settlements the resident Natives were too few even to cook the amount of food required by their visitor, who proceeded' to, help themselves. After visits of this sort the resident Natives were obliged to go and search the bush for any kind of vegetable food they could lay their hands on. . ; Te Koftti travelled about m this way quite unnecessarily, and simply beoause he and his followers were too lagy to grow any food for themselves. He knew from personal experience that the Urewera were very lazy peoplo ; and the room m which the Council assembled was larger than any plots of ground they ever cultivated. In, reply the Hon Mr Stevens (for the Government) admitted the correctness of the statements made, but pointed out that " Te Kooti having been pardoned some considerable time ago, he was quite at liberty to visit the Native districts as ho chose." The Government was " not able to use coercire measures," but had, on several occasions, taken steps m the direotion of persuasion, and had practically induced Te Kooti to abstain from visiting this territory, to a certain extent. It did not appear that any other course was within the power of the Government ; but so far as endeavoring to induce Te Kooti not to indulge m this inconvenient habit the Government would £ake all the steps they could." In view of To Kopti's announced determination to visit Gisboine, the Government, by Mr Mitchelson, amply redeemed this promise, the Minister doing all that lay m his power t.O dissuade Te Kooti from carrying out big intention, and although unsuccessful, succeeded m extracting a pledge that hp and his followers yrould go unarmed. According to opo account Te Kooti's object m going to the locality ig "to visit the graves of hie ancestors " ; while another has it that his desire to go thither is "on account of some land there m which he is interested, and to which he cannot get a title through not being abjlo to appear m person at the Native Land Court." Whether either or both of these reasons be the correct motive or motives of his journey, there is a very reasonable probability that m i making it thus obstinately, he may be I travelling to his own grave. That, however, is his affair, and we do npfc see what more for the moment the Government can do except to be prepared for a jpospible. energenov, is the y6Bfl(j of I
collision between Te Kooti'a party and , that of the settlers or Maoris who re- | gard his visit as an outrage and an insult. Yesterday's telegrams state that the Government do not anticipate any serious disturbance, and that even the local authorities entertain no serious apprehensions. It ip, however, satisfactorily evident, that should the event prove otherwise, every possible precaution is being taken, as it is added that I " the Government are m constant comi munication with the local authorities, and the telegraphic wire will be kept . open all night. Extra police have been , sent to the district, and the local Volunteers have been supplied with ammunition just sufficient to protect the settleri, but should matters assume a graver complexion troops will be at once deepatched."