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THE TOHUNGA.

A SUPPRESSION BILL. . GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS ! BEFORE THE 'HOUSE. . < "RUA" AND HIS WORK. The Tohunga Suppression Bill, intrtH duccd by the Native Minister, tho Hon. Jas. Carioll, was called ou in the Houaa of Representatives yesterday for its second reading. The essential provision of the Bill 19 contained in clause 2, which reads : — EveTy person who is or pretends to be a tohungaj or who gathers Maoris around him •by practising on their . superstition or credulity, or who mis-'. leads or attempts to mir.lead anyMaori by pi of casing or i/rsiendhigv! to possess supernatural powers in the . treatment or cure of any disease jpjv in tho foretelling of futuro events or ', •otherwise, is liable on suuiaiaay con-J viction before a Magistrate or two Justices to a, fine not exceeding ten pounds or to imprisonment • for &; period not exceeding three months. In moving tho second reading of tha Bill, the A 7 ative Minister said that for years the. Maori had been moro or less victims to those who professed occult arts and those who preyed on weaker minds by offering to foretell events, and arranging witcherips and sorceries. That class of person "had been only too frequent in. native districts, much to the harm and ■detriment of the Macrk and to their undoing. They paralysed inciustiie3 ia which the Maori was engaged. The totungas were opposed to the law, and encouraged the natives to oppose thejeivi- . lising influences whicji emanate from tlie • Europeans. Tho ro-uK was that many natives had forsaken their cultivfttipps and occupations, withdrawn their children, irom school, and abandoned themselves to tho whims \uid caprices of some tohungd. A typo of the person he»wqs referring to was the notorious' Rua. Ho started hi 3 work in the Umrera country, and had thus reached a "iaTger" number of people than would otherwise bo possible. The dwellers in the Urowera country — the Tuhoe tribe— were the last to become leconciled to European rule.^Rua. v had assumed control over the major portion of his people, and persuaded them to defy law and .authority in many ways and forms. It could bs understood how people not subject to the influence ofi generations of. education could be "taken.' in" by tha pleading and teaching of these "prophets." Abundant evidence could be obtained to show conclusively that tha eS'ccts of the "teachings" ot thess " tphungas had been evil and disastrous. All tohungas the same baneful effects wliere they practised and where they pleached. Rua had. not only cxer^ cised a bad effect- on tho natives in his district — ho had excited the feelings' o£ the European section of tlie community. T hero was always an idea that one Should be careful in "legislating against ' tha liberty of the subject. In this particular matter the boundary line hald been passed ; and where it was seen that universal harm was being dono tho State should Step in aud protect_thp,s^ .who trero b£ihg injured; He 'submitted tho -Bill with conrfidence to the House. No. race going; , i through an evolutionary pTocess had been free- from susceptibilities of on© form "or another, but the Maori had not lcrched that stage where public .opinion guaranteed the suppression of tohungas. Mr. Hcrrips favoured the Bill, -and said ., his only complaint was ' that- ""it had not been introduced long ago. "The trouble would be greatly lessened .if properly-qualified doctors .tvete. Jtatioacd in the thickly-populated Maori -districts—iho tohunga's occupation would then be gone. • ' ' " Tho only fault Mr. Hckc had to find with the Bill was that it" contained no provision for the pakolm tohuhga. Many people forgot that there were such things as pakelia tohungas. At the sanic limo he believed that tho -Bill went in the right direction,' , but. "it did not go far enough. Mr. J. Stevens congratulated the Native Minister on having brought down a Bill that should {wye, tjje support of all. He gave sgdip striking instances ' of the" baneful effects of the praotiec of tohungaism, and , .he" .declared ' th'atT it behoved tho 'House to do t all 'th^atrwas necessary to cave the lives of hundreds of the native people. Mr. Parata said ho was glad ttf, say that the tohunga was a quantity peculiar to tho North Island. Ono did come to his district in the South,,' but ho promptly" got him shifted. (Laughter).' Quacks and tohungas should bo rigorously put down. Ho hoped tho House would pass the Bill. Mr. Wilford said it had been tho cuttom in the past to treat tho tohunga as a happy child in a world of hiG own make believe. Tho evil had grown to serious dimensions in practically a short space of time. Natives' were being induced to part with large tracts of land by these tohungas. Tho Bill should be made moro drastic in its provision for tho suppression of the tohunga. Mr. Ngata said thcro was a lack of definition about tho Bill — a lack of definition of tohunga. It did not deal with political tohunga. He traced/ tho doings of the tohunga back .along the ages to show what the tohunga was hundreds of years ago before the .idvent of the white man. What they, were dealing with to day was a bastard' tohungaism. Ho admitted that th* Bill did not go far enough in the matter of the punishment provided for, but \ it gave too muoh power into the hands ' of constables who would initiate pro- - ceedings. It should be remembered' ! that in suppressing the tohimga ii»< many districts the Government was tak« , ing away the only means, of providing -i for the native sick. He mentioned thi» ' to show that the needs of the natives „ in the matter of attention for the suf* fering, were not receiving the attention they should. He did not wish it j to be supposed that he was supporting ! tohungaism, but, legislate as they, ' would, they would never suppress to-i hungaism until they were able to say,.,' "Here is the substitute." The administration of the Act would require a good deal of tact and wisdom. The reason that tohungaism flourished as' it 'did was largely duo to the fact that tho greatest curse of the white people — consumption — was tho curse of the Maori, and many people, hoping against hope, were induced to seek relief at the hands of tohunga3. He had great pleasure in supporting the Bill. ""' Mr. Major approved the measure. Mr. A. L. D. Frascr declared that tho people demoralising the native raco should have been severely dealt with long before for attention had been repeatedly drawn to the matter. After the Minister had replied the second reading of . tho measure was agreed to on tho voices, and the Bill wao reforrod to the Native Affairs Committee.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19070720.2.61

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THE TOHUNGA., Evening Post, Volume LXXIV, Issue 18, 20 July 1907

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1,123

THE TOHUNGA. Evening Post, Volume LXXIV, Issue 18, 20 July 1907

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