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THE PETITION OF "WI TAMIHANA TE "WAHAROA alias WILLIAM THOMPSON, THE KING-MAKER.

Perhaps brie of the moat unique specimens qf Maori . nio.desty. and. originality of . idea among all the mountain ■ of' curious . documents, petitions, proclamations, &e., which tlie native difficulty lias, evoked, is this latest petition, of the King-maker to. the faithful lieges of Queen- Victoria in Parliament assembled at. "Wellington; It is a document peculiarly characteristic, as exhibiting; the temper of the natives of Waikato in regard to the late war—its origin, progress, and conclusion; and emanating, from, perhaps, the foremost politician,, most influential chief, and best educated' man of the native race, is well worthy of serious consideration. The effusion is more argumentative than, petitionary, more cursive and. sophistical than straightforward and plain, more, metaphorical aiid flowery than true, and, withal, contains sentiments,

which if put forward by a " humble peti- " tioner" of the pakeha race, would, by some distinctive mode of reasoning, be condemned as rebellious and arrogant; .but coming from an interesting specimen of the New Zealander of the nineteenth century — the profusely floured, sugared, and Christianized pet and protege of the great Aborignes-' Protection Society, the sentiments contained in Wi Tamihana's petition, will bo looked upon as the patriotic outpourings of an oppressed and down-trodden race, and will receive due consideration and sympathy accordingly. But what is it that this petition of Te Waharoa " humbly " shewet h?" This : that both Pakehas and Maoris have been equally to blame for the late disastrous war, that they have both fallen headlong into many grievous errors ; that the notorious king movement was a praiseworthy " aspiration after . law and " orderthat the barbarous massacre of the escort of the 57th, at Oakura, was a justifiable act of open, warfare ; that the W aikato : campaign was commented " without any " clear understanding (i.e. Without unlimited "argumentation and Icoreroinrj), and that " its manner of conduct was dark like- " wise,; " further that he (\Yi Tamihana Te "Waharoa) exerted himself to an extraorr | dinary degree in warning the Pakehas in the. exposed and frontier districts of the coming storm, and that inasmuch as they did not instantly act upon his advice of removing to a. place of safety, any of them that were afterwards : murdered merely met with their deserts. Thompson lias been extolled as a model of a native politician and a most accomplished reasoner, but we fail to discover any indica-r tion of these abilities in his petition. It seems to us that his arguments upset and stultify each other. <We will endeavour to demonstrate this. It might be as well to remark first, that, so far from, the war in Waikato being undertaken on our part without " any clear understanding,'' it wa3 begun on the very clear understanding that the Waikato tribes meditated a murderous attack upon the out settlements, and, perhaps, upon the city of Auckland itself, and that it was necessary to take the initiative in self-defence. Thompson himself admits this ; for he takes considerable credit to himself for having warned the settlers of the intended attack. The argument of the king-maker that because the settlers did not , heed this timely warning—did not, in fact, bolt post-haste into Auckland, abandoning their farms, goods, and chattels, &c., for the

benefit of the considerate Wi Tamihana and his conquering legions, therefore their riiurder was a just penalty for their indiscretion —is a piece of reasoning worthy of the champion cf the butcherers of the escort at Oakura. By the same rule, if A warns B to abandon his household and its contents, on pain of death to liirn (B), and demolition pf his (B's.) possessions, and tlie said B, failing to acquiesce ; in tile propriety of such a step, remains;, and is murdered in. due course, he, the said B, justly incurs death and spoliation as the legitimate punishment for his stubbornness and audacity. Very good Maori logic, but hardly in accordance with our notions of the laws of meum el tuum, and the boast that " Every Englishman's house is his castle." With regard to Tamihana's argument that had the war " been " left, as. he proposed, to be carried on by word of mouth " all. would have been well, and things would have gone on. smoothly enough. We would direct attention to the Governor's conference with the assembled natives of Waikato at Taupiri, to whipH Thompson alludes, and simply ask what was the result of that meeting ? Did the arguments, coaxing, forbearance, or threats of His Excellency produce any salutary effect? "Was not the tone of the principal native speeches delivered at that, meeting defiant, arrogant, and such as to dispel all hope of a pacific solution of our difficulties with the "Maoris ? Or would aiiy possible amount of speechifying and remon T strance have averted tlie' late war in Wai, kato ? Does not Thompson himself admit that it would not when he says that Wi jvingi refused to submit the dispute in reference to the Waitara block to investigation ; that the Taranaki war arose out of this dispute; that the tribes of Taranaki would not at all consent to return the Tataraimaka blo-'.k to its rightful owner— : tho Government: and that the alleged encroachment upon this supposed native territory by right of conquest caused the massacre of .the Oakura escort; for by a further step in the process of reasoning it is apparent that the Oakura massacre and the consequent renewal of the war in. Taranaki were the' real cause of the war in Waikato. So much for the kingmaker's allegations that the ...war originated on the side of the colonists, and that the various murders,, massacres,, and. outrages subsequently committed, by the natives were justifiable acts of warfare. The- comparison drawn between JCingi Matutaera Potatau; the First of !New Zealand, and Queen Victoria, Nicholas of Russia,, Buonaparte, and last but not least, Pomare, is truly refreshing, and would, were it not for the evident fact that it was made in sincerity, be more calculated to excite our merriment than anything else. With the extremely modest request under the head of jKTp: 2, viz., " lor Waikato to be " given back to me," (Wi Tamihana), and tlie remaining assertions and arguments put forward, in this interesting petition, we shall deal in a future issue. ...

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18660827.2.28

Bibliographic details

THE PETITION OF "WI TAMIHANA TE "WAHAROA alias WILLIAM THOMPSON, THE KING-MAKER., New Zealand Herald, Volume III, Issue 869, 27 August 1866

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THE PETITION OF "WI TAMIHANA TE "WAHAROA alias WILLIAM THOMPSON, THE KING-MAKER. New Zealand Herald, Volume III, Issue 869, 27 August 1866

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