'The Trail Of Waitangi' - The Treaty

(iv) The Treaty of Waitangi Is Taken South

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Straight after the signing of the Treaty, Captain Hobson commissioned Henry Williams to take a copy to Turanga (Gisborne) and further south. Henry left Gisborne in the hands of his brother, the Rev. William Williams, and we now follow Henry's part from his paper "Early Recollections".

"...I passed on to Port Nicholson, and was opposed by Colonel Wakefield [of the New Zealand Company] and his party, who had appointed themselves a colonial government, consisting of a council and magistrates, placed on the commission by the authority of the chiefs. [The Company's settlers had "accepted a constitution" from chiefs of the Port Nicholson District; under which they proceeded to exercise what was commonly called "Lynch law"].

Colonel Wakefield, the first time I met him, was very insolent, but afterwards retracted what he had said, and withdrew his objections to the treaty being signed. It was accordingly signed by the chiefs, about twenty. I passed on to Queen Charlotte's Sound, and saw all who were to be seen. We crossed over to Kapiti, Waikanae, and Otaki, the stations of the Rev. Octavius Hadfield. The treaty was explained at all those places and signed. On this visit I saw in the Bank at Wellington a map of New Zealand, about six feet in length, and was told by the authorities of the New Zealand Company, that the coloured portion was the property of the New Zealand Company, from the 38° to the 42° parallel of latitude. At this time there was no one in connection with their commission who knew anything of the [Mäori] language. A man named Barret could speak a few words in the most ordinary form. This man alone was the medium of communication between the Company and the Mäories in all their affairs, and the deeds of purchase were drawn up in English, not one word of which was understood by the natives. Nor had communication been held with the places included in this pretended purchase, except at Port Nicholson, Kapiti, and Taranaki, neither party understanding the other.

On one occasion while I was at Port Nicholson, passing down the harbour with several members of council, Mr. St. Hill, Dr. Evans, &c., and Captain Chaffers, Dr. Evans enquired of Captain Chaffers how far South the Company's territory extended. His reply was, across the Island, and from 38° to 42°. I knew that communication had not been had. I enquired who had been seen at Wanganui, Taupo, Kawhia, Rotorua, Turanga, Ahuriri, &c.; no answer could be given, for this simple reason, that none had been held.

Wiremu Kingi came with me to the Bay to see the governor and the natives from Taranaki. He talked of returning with them to Waitara and Taranaki generally, their former place of residence, or country of their birth."

After obtaining signatures in the South Island, Mr Williams returned to Paihia, which he reached on the I0th of June. The Governor expressing his gratification, in strong terms, at the completeness of the success. ......

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