W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso

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Those who have carefully read and weighed the foregoing particulars, will, it is believed, see the justice of most of the following conclusions.

1. That at the time (1865) when Mr. Volkner met with his sad fate, we had been at war with the natives for several years, during which they had suffered greatly.

2. That it is well known that the natives had been repeatedly told, both by word of mouth and by letter, by several Europeans high in office (both spiritual and civil) and their friends,—some of whom, as the present Premier the Hon. Mr. Fox, and Dr. Featherston, and Mr. Fitzherbert the present Superintendent of Wellington, are still connected with the Government of the colony,—that the said war was “an unjust and unholy war” on the part of the Government, and that it was shamefully forced upon the natives.

3. That our own repeated killing of their women and children (no doubt, unintentionally), and other barbarities always more or less incidental in long and heavy war, aroused the worst feelings of the natives against us and set them on barbarous reprisals; which, though in their own old mode of warfare was quite common to them, they in all their former wars with us had never initiated.

4. That Opotiki where Mr. Volkner resided was, for many sad reasons, in a very excitable state at the time of the Hauhau party reaching it, and of his being killed.

5. That the fanatical Hauhau party under Patara, sent forth from taranaki, where the war began, by Te Ua the Hauhau prophet, visited Opotiki and the East Coast in order to induce the tribes to join the West Coast natives in the war.

6. That on the arrival of the Hauhau party at Opotiki and their being joined by the inhabitants of that place, their acts and deeds were, under all the exciting circumstances, those of a politico-fanatical emeute, or mad fanatical tumultuous mob.

7. That all history tells us of such sad times and scenes often and every where occurring.

8. That at such times everything is for the time beyond all reasonable control,—even in the oldest and most Christian countries and cities.

9. That maddening acts of zeal committed at such, times, are seldom severely [18] revenged or, if revenged, done immediately on the spot; never after a period of years.

10. That Mr. Volkner, much as we deplore his death, was killed at that time by the frantic mob, as a spy or “betrayer”:—much as in the American war General Washington hung the British Officer Major André. (Perhaps, of the two cases, all things calmly considered, General Washington’s act was the worst.)

11. That many other European settlers, men, women, and children, at least as equally innocent of wrong us Mr. Volkner, were also from time to time killed by the natives.

12. That the murderers of these were by proclamation specially excepted from pardon.

13. That the murderers were subsequently pardoned without trial, although coroners’ juries had returned verdicts of wilful murder against many of them.

14. That the chief Te Pehi, who by proclamation had been also specially excepted from pardon, for his gross perjury and for treacherously attacking the troops of the Queen, was also pardoned without trial.

15. That three natives, names known and given, who had in the same year murdered the Governor’s messenger, and for whose apprehension £1000 bad been offered,—have not been prosecuted, and are allowed to go at large.

16. That the Hauhau prophet Te Ua, and Patara the leader of the Hauhau party who killed in conjunction with the Opotiki natives Mr. Volkner, and who were the originators and directors of all the subsequent mischief were also pardoned.

17. That the “loyal, native” chiefs, including the members of Parliament, say, (1.) that inasmuch as the Government have pardoned the great Haihau leaders in wrong-doing, the Government cannot now refuse to pardon the subordinate ones; and (2.) that the Government have already exacted a dreadful revenge at Opotiki for the killing of Mr. Volkner, killing, in all, more than 50 Maoris; and that it is unjust to shed more blood on account of Mr. Volkner’s death, after, too, such a lapse of years.

18. That it is believed that the doing so would be certainly secretly charged against the Church, or against a section thereof.

19. That the “loyal natives” are, in many parts of the island (more or less, rightly or wrongly,) dissatisfied with the Government.

20. That it should be the steady aim of the Government to endeavour to lessen that spirit of dissatisfaction now so prevalent among the “loyal natives,”—and this not by promises, or flattery, or money, but by prompt and cheerful acts of justice.

21. That care should be taken not to increase the spirit of dissatisfaction, by doing that towards one of their nation which in their opinion is eminently unjust.

22. That Christian justice (which we have endeavoured to teach the natives) is ever tempered with mercy.

23. That the Imperial Government dislikes our repeated shedding of Maori blood, especially for long past political offences; and that our Government has been informed, that “it has given the Imperial Government great pleasure to hear, that” (out of thirty Maori prisoners in one batch condemned to death) “there were no executions.’’

24. That the sad death of Mr. Volkner by the hands of the infuriated political religious Hauhau natives in the emueté at Opotiki in March, 1865 (nearly 7 years ago) has been fully avenged, and that in the way the Governor himself chose.

25. That our Laws do not admit of double punishment for one crime.

Fiat Justitia! Let justice be done.

There’s a heart that leaps, with a burning glow,

The wronged an the weak to defend,
And strikes as soon for a trampled foe,
As it does for a soul-bound friend.—
’Tis a rich rough gem, deny it who can;
And this is the heart of an Englishman.”

I am, &c.,

W. Colenso.
Napier, Dec, 9, 1871. [19]



A letter to the Editor of the “Hawke’s Bay Herald,” on the kind of Policy necessary to be shewn towards the Maoris.

(Reprinted from the “Hawke’s Bay Herald” of April 9, 1869.)

A word in season.”—“A time to speak.”

“Can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

Sir,—In the Herald of this day your article concludes with these words: “All that is wanted is Confidence, the want of which shuts out capital and labour, and impairs the energies of all.” These are true words, and to them I heartily assent. But how is this confidence to be brought about? First, we must have peace; a true, substantial, firm, and lasting peace; from this will naturally spring confidence, and mark, from this only. To this end let us all (Governor, Government, and people) be determined to do two things: 1—To do justice; 2—To acknowledge error.

1. To do justice—prompt and quick, even and fair, commonsense, not tedious, legal, justice. “Do ye to others as ye would they should do to you” if you were in their p1ace.

2. To acknowledge error, frankly and fully, wherever and whenever such has unfortunately been done; even to the retracing of our steps if needful and possible. (Let us not think too highly of ourselves as the “superior,’’ unerring race, adorned with a thousand highflown superlatives of our own inventing! Let us consider the fable of the man sitting astride on a lion, and the lion’s truthful remark. Let us endeavour to consider our political conduct in the light of God’s truth,—to which scrutinising light it will have to be submitted.)

In order to this:—

I. Let the war be immediately and everywhere stopped.

II. Let a truce be proclaimed.

III. Let an accredited messenger be sent from the Governor to the Maori King Tawhiao (not as King, but, as the acknowledged head of many great tribes), to ask his aid towards making peace; and from him to the various Hauhau leaders; and a similar messenger to the Chiefs of the principal friendly Maori tribes. The basis of such peace to be:—1. A general amnesty. 2. The return of all (nominally) confiscated lands, subject to certain conditions; such as, on the one side, all useful surveys and substantial improvements to be repaid; on the other, certain spots which it is necessary should be ceded to be paid for, 3. Common freedom to all religions however (to us) absurd.

IV. Let Peace Commissioners be appointed from both sides, and a place be mutually arranged for their meeting.

V. Let powers be given to them to settle equitably our difficulties, and all great vexed questions.

If this be done, and the British Commissioners be fit and high-minded men—men of comprehensive views, and able to grasp the whole subject,—and if all the terms then and there agreed to be hereafter honestly and promptly carried out,—then, I venture to prophesy, a firm and lasting peace to the Colony of New Zealand; otherwise you will not, cannot have it—at least for a long generation, a long and weary time of bloodshed and misery to both races: and, note well, that such a peace so obtained by conquering or destroying isolated tribes, whenever that may be, will not be lasting.

I have long entertained those views; I now openly avow them. I know, in doing so, I shall be assailed by the unthinking, with—

1. What of the murders, atrocities, massacres, and cannibalism?

2. What of the present numerous semi-military bands?

3. What of the expense and loss?

4. What of our British name and reputation?

I reply, to the first question—Who began the war with the “Hauhaus”? Who unjustly treated them—men, women, and children—by illegal wholesale banishment without trial Who, on those Chatham Island “prisoners” returning to their own lands, in a most creditable, and gallant, and peaceful manner, foolishly and insanely, and without authority, attempted to capture and destroy them! instead of bringing them bread and water, and giving them the right humid and [20] welcoming them back? Who carried on the war against them in Maori fashion? Quietly mark this, and note—they have (for the first time with us) also carried on the war against us and our Maori allies in Maori fashion, which we call murder, massacre, and atrocities, (and so deceive ourselves, as if such were really different from our own “ civilised” mode of warfare!) but hitherto we have only begun to know what it is; and note well, I beg, that to the present time the hunted “Hauhaus” have not retaliated upon a single European living quietly on lands fairly purchased or leased. We have already killed something like seven or eight to one; besides inflicting irretrievable loss and evil. Moreover, fanatical outbreaks and rebellious emeutes, everywhere occurring in this world’s sad history, are never rigorously revenged.

To the second question, I reply—The sooner they are disbanded the better for the colony.

To the third——Bear it; it can be borne to restore peace and confidence; it is by far the better, the easier, and the cheaper load.

To the fourth—It will gain additional lustre, which ten years war and eventual success will never bring it. Our Maori foe cannot, will not reflect tauntingly upon it, as we have driven them from all their strongholds, and killed seven or eight to one.

Having said a word to the unthinking, I would also say a word to the really thoughtful among us, including the God-fearing man, and in particular to those of all the Churches who believe in God’s particular Providence and in his stern retribution.

1. Note how successfully this handful of men (“Hauhaus” and “rebels” we call them) have sped; note how they have been hunted; the enormous powers of all kinds brought to bear against them—armies, seven or eight to one—the most improved ordnance and big guns, as well as superior rifles and ammunition; heaps of prayers and invocations, public and private; all the power and strategy of the “superior” race, both “spiritual and carnal,”—and note the result. The different Hauhau leaders, on whose devoted heads in particular high prices have been set, who have bravely stood to the death in every fight amid showers of balls, are all still safe, as if they were invulnerable, while not a few of our best and good men are gone! With death in every form, including starvation, and want and misery, and with little of human aid, they have been long familiar.

2. Note also, I pray—The strange, the utter reversal of what is promised to the God-fearing man, of what has hitherto been his lot—freedom from fear and dread. How comes it that so great a panic everywhere prevails? That instead of a few of the “superior” race overawing a whole band of Maoris (“one putting a thousand to flight,” as was formerly the case), now two Maoris even at a distance, or even a fire on some distant hill, are enough to arouse ugly misgivings, and to cause a whole settlement of stalwart whites to flee as affrighted hares! Everywhere the majority of the settlers are suffering from this foolish affection, even where they are dwelling together in large numbers, and where there has been, and is, no cause whatever for any such fear. How comes all this? Think over those questions quietly, and dare to follow them out. Is ours altogether a righteous cause? Have we the God of battles with us, or have we not?

Now it is just because I believe all this, that I am not sorry that Mr. M’Lean is no longer Government Agent; for while he held that situation and stuck to his old schemes (policy I cannot call them), no real confidence could ever arise, as a firm and lasting peace could not possibly under such schemes ever be restored;—for, at the most, as soon as a so-called peace had been at an enormous expense patched up in one place it would break through in another: it would only be the old, miserable union of “iron end miry clay.” I know very well that some few (if they dare speak their thoughts) would say, “Exterminate.” To this I reply, You can’t do it; and if you could, it would take you years to accomplish. Be warned in time: your (present) friendlies” (mercenaries, on whom some of you depend so very much) would not allow of it.

Sir, I did hope that the arrival of a son of Her Majesty the Queen among us, the first arrival too of a Prince of the blood royal on these shores, would be advantageously made use of in the way I have above indicated. From my knowledge of the national feelings of the New Zealander, I cannot help stating as my firm belief, that such might have been beneficially done,—and even now it may not be too late.—I am, etc.

William Colenso.
Napier, April 6, 1869. [21]


Extracts from the Speech of the Bishop of Litchfield, Dr. Selwyn, (late Bishop of New Zealand) in his place in the House of Lords.

In use house of Lords on July 27, the affairs of New Zealand were brought under discussion

Earl Granville trusted that the difficulties of the Colony, and the irritation in it, would only be temporary, and that the Colonial Government would learn the real nature of the responsibility which it had assumed and adopt those measures of conciliation towards the natives which would put an end to the state of brigandage rather than war which prevailed in it.

The Bishop of Lichfield thought he should be wanting in his duty towards the colonists of New Zealand, as well as towards the natives of that country, if he were not to address a few words to their lordships on the present occasion. He therefore appealed to the Government to lend such assistance as would enable the colonists to put en end to that system of brigandage, in a country in which the wars from time to time had occurred had, he must say, been conducted in a most honorable and chivalrous manner. There were repeated examples of that. Now, however, when the native forces were broken up into small sections, the same results had followed which always ensued in other countries under similar circumstances. The natives, being unable to beat us, had divided themselves into two parties. One of those shut themselves up in the fastnesses of the country, and the other formed murderous detachments, and, taking advantage of their intimate knowledge of the country, carried desolation in all directions…. The New Zealanders were essentially a law-loving people. When he first went out, to that colony the natives paid willing deference to the authority both of the magistrates and missionaries, and it was not until the unfortunate proclamation was made that the natives might sell their land to the Crown only, that the idea of the Queen’s sovereignty began to be degraded in the eyes of the people…. The agent of the Government for the purchase of ground has done incalculable injury by going about the country in a very injudicious manner. The proclamation warning the natives that if they fought on what was called the Queen’s ground they would become the Queen’s enemies, was far from being a fulfilment of the contract originally entered into with them…. Could we listen to the cold-blooded sayings that the natives were perishing fast, that this was a war of extermination, and that it must take its course? If, indeed, the natives were to perish, in God’s Providence, from off the face of the earth, let us lift up our prayers for the remnant that is yet left. Let us try to fulfil our original contract. When on one occasion a native chief gave him some land on which to build a college, he said—“I give you this land as a site for a place of education for the youth of both races, that they may grow up together in the new principles of the faith of Jesus Christ.” That, he would undertake to say, was the prevailing feeling throughout the whole of New Zealand. Every New Zealander desired to be a faithful subject of Her Majesty until that unfortunate idea of the Queen’s right to the pre-emption of land took the precedence over every other idea, and the whole notion of government was lost in the simple question of, in what manner and by what quickest possible means the property of the soil in New Zealand should be transferred from the natives to the Crown. Their great mistake in New Zealand had been their asserting from the beginning a sovereignty over a country which they could not govern. They had repeated all the errors committed in Ireland centuries ago, and had punished crime by the confiscation of land. Large tracts had been taken from the natives, and so-called military settlers were placed in them to defend the district. On one occasion he knew that a dealer came to these settlements and bought up the land of those supposed defenders of the country, who went away leaving the place undefended, and then a number of peaceful settlers came instead of those military men and scattered themselves over the district, and although they were exposed to every kind of danger, they were never injured because they were living in the King’s country. In other parts, indeed, where peculiarly exasperating circumstances had occurred the case had been different, The men who had done all the mischief on the east coast and at Poverty Bay were men who had been carried off as prisoners to the Chatham Islands [and that without any trial, or investigation whatsoever, W.C.] where they were told that if they conducted themselves well at the end of two years they would be set at liberty. There they behaved in the most exemplary [22] manner, but at the expiration of the two years they were informed that they were not to he set at liberty, whereupon a look of despair came over them, as if every hope they had of life were cut off. They had been placed on lonely and remote islands, they had looked forward to the day of their emancipation, and with that view they had behaved exceedingly well. But when they saw no hope left to them, was it surprising that they took matters into their own hands and escaped? Those men went back into their own country, where they were followed up by a military force, driven into the woods, their places stormed, and their houses burnt. The most unwise thing of all was that, in spite of warning, the military officers who had followed up those escaped prisoners went and settled down on the land which had just been taken from them. The New Zealanders would not be like the Scotch, the Irish, or the Welsh, if under such circumstances they had not resisted these excursions. He trusted that none of their lordships would believe that the New Zealanders were a nation of murderers. There were, no doubt, a few murderers among them at the present moment under the force of circumstances, but there was not one cannibal, unless it was under similar circumstances to those which led French women during the frenzy of the revolution to lap the blood of persons who had been decapitated by the guillotine. When maddened by the influence of some fanatic, some excess of that kind might, perhaps, be committed by a native New Zealander, but as to cannibalism in the real sense of the term, which was sometimes gravely charged against them, and at other times, he grieved to say, alleged against them in order merely to point a jest, such a thing had entirely ceased since the colony was established.... he was convinced that the colonists, instead of looking to some other power for the protection which might be denied them by England, would far rather cling to this country, as they had ever yet clung to it, as their own mother, their own friend, and their own protector, but not to enable them to do acts of injustice towards the natives. Such acts, he must say, in defence of his own brother settlers, had not been attempted excepting on very rare occasions. The general feeling of the settlers, he could assure their lordships, had been that of friendliness towards the native race. There were a few persons among the settlers, as there were also a few among the New Zealanders, who would at times rush into violence but the great majority of the colonists lived in peace and harmony with their native fellow-subjects, end their good will was in a great degree reciprocated by the natives. [23]


Translation of a few “Hauhau” Prayers, written by To Kooti with his own hand in his pocket memorandum hook. A little book very much worn with constant usage and long carrying about in his clothes, and more than once repaired by stitching together with fibres of New Zealand Flax.

faithfully translated by w. colenso.

A Prayer used in the Chatham Islands.

O God, if our hearts arise from the land in which we now dwell as slaves, and repent and pray to Thee and confess our sins in Thy presence, then, O Jehovah, do Thou blot out the sins of Thy own people, who have sinned against Thee. Do not Thou, O God, cause us to be wholly destroyed. Wherefore it is that we glorify Thy Holy Name. Amen.

A Prayer on going to bed.

O God, look Thou down on me dwelling in misery. Here I am invoking Thy Name from my bed, because Thy Angel has preserved me (during the day), by him have I been magnified. And what, indeed, is my own goodness? Thy Servant is altogether evil: my sins are great, they cannot be counted. Alas, O Lord! succour me, in my wanderings, and in my bed; and I will praise Thy Holy Name from day to day. For this we give glory to Thy Holy Name. Amen.

A Prayer offered in the night while in bed.

Here is Thy evil Servant lying on his bed, much like a dead man, without thoughts or desires towards my Creator. Alas! while I was thinking of error and confusion, suddenly there came love from my Father in heaven, and then I broke forth into wailings and lamentations for myself, that I had not been mindful of my heavenly Father. But now, O my Deliverer, remember me; drag me out of the net of death, and place Thy Holy Spirit, within me this night. Glory to Thy Holy Name. Amen.

A Prayer on rising from bed.

O God, here Is Thy Servant awaking on my bed. I now begin to pour forth my prayer; let It reach Thy presence. Let me not be cast forth by Thee, because of my sinning in this night; rather turn favorably unto me, and save my body and my soul, and make me to be [or to do] like one of old in the days of Thy Servant David; and that I may tread in Thy footsteps, and diligently seek Thy honour and Thy Glory. O my Fattier, do not forsake me. Come Thou, O Lord, and succour Thy Servant. Therefore I glorify Thy Holy Name. Amen.

Another Prayer, on rising from bed.

O Jehovah, O Christ, O Holy Ghost, remember me, now awaking in my bed; for Thou hast watched over me during this past night. O Christ, deliver me from the hand of the devil. Forsake me not throughout this day. O my Lord, turn favorably towards me; draw me up out of the depths; let me be even as Peter, who was taken up by Thee out of the raging sea. Even so, this one now praying. O Lord, take me up from within the net of death. Wherefore I glorify Thy Holy Name. Amen.

A Prayer for deliverance from foes.

O Jehovah, Thou art the God who deliverest the people repenting, therefore do Thou listen hither this day to the prayer if Thy Servant, concerning our Enemies. Let them be destroyed and turned to flight by Thee. Let their counsels be utterly confounded, and their faces covered with sadness and confusion. And when Thou sendest forth Thy Angel to trample our Enemies to the earth, through Thee also shall all their bones be broken to pieces. Glory to Thy Holy Name. Amen.


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