'The Trail Of Waitangi' - The Treaty
(i) An Illegal Company is Formed to Trade in Land
It was in 1837, about 20 years after the first few Europeans began settling in New Zealand, that an association called the 'New Zealand Association' was formed in England with the object of purchasing land from the Mäori, with the aim of selling it on at a profit to intending colonists.
"...I do not hesitate to say, that unless some protection be given by the British Government, the country will be bought up, and the people pass into a kind of slavery, or be utterly extirpated [eliminated]. The European settlers are making rapid advances, and are beginning to hold out threats. Should any encouragement be given to the [New Zealand] Association, thousands would immediately come and overrun the whole country; and the natives must give way. The only protection that I can propose, is that the English Government should take charge of the country as the Guardians of New Zealand; and that the Chiefs should be incorporated into a General Assembly, under the guidance of certain officers, with an English Governor at their head, and protected by a military force [not to use against the Maori', but moreso against the corrupting influences of many Europeans!], which would be the only means of giving weight to any laws which might be established, and preserve that order and peace so much required. The natives have for many years proposed that this should be done, and have repeated their desire from time to time."
These words had also been expressed by the rest of the Mission, who, in a letter to their Society in London in July 1837, had written:
"...it is with much apprehension the Mission view the introduction of the New Zealand Association, as it must terminate in the total ruin of the people as a nation, ...As yet there is no shadow of Government in this country; each tribe, and each individual of a tribe, acts independently of every one; hence those acts of violence which are committed with impunity, and the sale of land which the natives too frequently make for the sake of a little present gain without considering any future consequences.
The missionaries in the North were finding "great difficulties in restraining the natives from disposing of their lands", and in their attempts to prevent the Mäori from being "denuded of their possessions," several large tracts of land had been already placed in trust by the missionaries for some of the tribes in the Bay of Islands.
"What the British Government will do in the present case appears uncertain. But to deliver up a country which is not their own, into the hands of a company of men whose primary object is gain, is a crime that I trust my countrymen will never be guilty of. That something ought to be done there can be no doubt; or we shall soon get about us a lawless band, who will possess a sufficient force to take possession of the country whenever they think proper ...if the country is to be colonized, let it be done by the British Government."
This statement and others, including the very real suggestion that the New Zealand Association would "eliminate the aborigines", stirred up the Associations leaders even more, causing them to further personally attack the character of the missionaries. However, it was soon learnt that the Associations application had been rejected in the House of Commons by a large majority.
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