Friday, July 12, 2013

Mike Butler: Lest we forget the Waikato war

The Waikato war was fought 150 years ago but land confiscations that resulted from defeat are still as raw today, a Waikato-Tainui spokesman told Radio New Zealand on Friday, the anniversary of that war. Although Waikato-Tainui executive chair Tom Roa said the tribe has moved on from grievance mode to one of prosperity, his attitude on the confiscations implies that despite 1995 “settlement” of $170-million, grievance is never far from the surface.

Reports of the commemoration of the 1863 Waikato war make much of tribal bitterness at land confiscations but don’t consider what would have resulted if the government of the day had failed to act.

If British victory in the 1860s wars set the course of New Zealand’s development, it is likely British inaction would have led to escalating attacks on small coastal settlements by well-armed, lawless, and hostile tribes that dominated the interior of the North Island.

The resulting casualties would have far exceeded the 619 anti-government Maori and 162 British, colonist, and pro-government Maori killed in the 1863 campaign. The colonial government had no option but to win

Proposed confiscations were contentious at the time. Former chief justice Sir William Martin then argued that the confiscation of Maori-owned land would only result in a “brooding sense of wrong”. Even Native Minister Donald McLean said the confiscations were an expensive mistake.

But the threat of land confiscation was the one option that pushed chiefs to decide whether to join the new economy or try to relive the glory days of perpetual war.

The confiscated Waikato territory initially comprised 1,202,172 acres (486,501ha), including virtually all of Waikato north of a line drawn from Raglan to Tauranga. Approximately 314,364 acres (127,218ha) was returned to those Waikato Maori who were judged not to have rebelled. The area finally confiscated totalled 887,808 acres (359,283ha).

Waikato-Tainui spokesman Roa said the invasion of Waikato had a horrendous effect, causing Maori to become a landless, poverty stricken people. But the poverty was largely to do with the fact that Waikato tribes shunned the settler economy.

After the wars ended in 1872, the King Country remained closed to settlers for more than a decade, until Ngati Maniapoto leaders agreed to the construction of the North Island Main Trunk railway in the mid 1880s.

The re-written history included in the the Waikato-Tainui Deed of Settlement presents the fiction of the Crown engaging in war against Maori in the Waikato for no apparent reason and unjustly taking large areas of land.

The deed fails to accept that Waikato Maori were deeply involved with Wiremu Kingi in the Taranaki War of 1860, and Kingi himself was involved in Waikato fighting.

If there is any doubt about what took place in New Zealand during the 1860s, there are numerous letters, statements, and news reports from the time that that show it was a struggle between supporters of the Maori king against supporters of the British Queen. Missionary Reverend Morgan summed up the struggle when he wrote to parliament at the time saying:
The vital question with the Maori Kingites now, is whether the King or the Queen shall possess the mana of New Zealand. Hence the frequent expression of the Waikatos now in arms, “we are going to fight for New Zealand. We sent the king’s flag to Taranaki, and it is our duty to follow the king’s flag. We are fighting for the mana of our island”.

The British government acquired sovereignty over New Zealand by treaty of cession, by proclamation, by occupation, and by conquest. After more than 20 years of settler occupation and government, the wars of the 1860s meant the issue of sovereignty finally was decided with unwilling tribes on the battlefield, by conquest.

A commemoration dawn service was held at Mangatawhiri on Friday morning, marking the date when, on July 12, 1863, troops crossed the Mangatawhiri Stream into Waikato, sparking a nine month conflict in which 4000 tribalists fought 14,000 government troops comprising soldiers, settlers, and pro-government Maori.

The 1995 payout is not the first confiscation settlement Waikato tribes have received.

The Waikato-Maniapoto Maori Claims Settlement Act 1946 was a final settlement of grievances over the confiscation of Maori lands in the Waikato and provided for the establishment of the Tainui Maori Trust Board to receive ₤5000 a year in perpetuity plus a further ₤5000 and £1000 a year for 45 years, to cover arrears since 1936, when negotiations with the Labour government began. Tainui received £4155 in 1948 as part of a surplus lands settlement.

In addition, Waikato-Tainui last year received the first relativity top-up payment. Waikato-Tainui and South Island tribe Ngai Tahu have such in their settlements allowing a percentage of all treaty settlements over $1-billion in 1994 dollars. The top-up amount offered to Waikato-Tainui was $70-million, although Tainui politician Tukoroirangi Morgan argued they were entitled to in excess of $120-million.

Waikato-Tainui call the Waikato war an “invasion”, and argue that because their main chief Te Wherowhero did not sigh the treaty they were not obliged to keep to the terms of the treaty. Similarly, the government held that Maori who fought against the government had repudiated the treaty.

But in 1985, when the Lange-Palmer Labour government allowed claims back to 1840, Waikato-Tainui then alleged the colonial government had breached the treaty. The Treaty of Waitangi is reproduced at the start of the 1995 Waikato-Tainui Deed of Settlement.


Anonymous said...

But of course the pro Maori politically correct news media will only present the new revised version of our nations history. Thus reinforcing the case for secessionists, cementing the feeling of injustice and deprivation amongst the young part Maori. So the grievance industry goes its merry way further undermining the stability of New Zealand. I despair for the saftey and future well being of my children and grandchildren.

br said...

So long as the history revisionists can spread their "official" Maori propaganda; especially in our schools. The more the claims will become an established way of life in New Zealand.
Couple this with both the major parties having to govern with the Maori Party (or Parties) in coalition, the more power Maori will get, use, and wield.
New Zealand is suffering from what seems an incurable almost terminal disease namely "A political, cultural and ethnic Indigenous Cancer".

The treatment of such a cancer demands the need to treat the source.
In this case it is Political survival in government at all costs, and the elimination of the present MMP system.


Anonymous said...

Why is it always assumed that under our undemocratic MMP system (voters have no say on whom is included in the party list) that a majority party must form a coalition with a minor party? Surely the two majority parties c/should form a coalition thereby representing the overwhelming majority of electors? Such a coalition could then resolve some of the now endemic problems in NZ such as the Treaty crap, the Maori seats and even, heaven forbid, MMP itself! After all both the major parties vie for the centre and there should be enough sensible heads in each to make such a power-sharing work.

Anonymous said...

Correct, Anonymous, but we would need some real statesmen on both sides to achieve a coalition. Someone of the calibre of Winston Churchill, who cleverly guided the British coalition during the second World War. But I don't think NZ has ever produced anyone even approaching this calibre, so on we go sliding down the racist path which I believe will eventually end in bloodshed. And all so unnecessary when the vast majority of us just want equality and harmony. Like many in this fair land, I despair!

jh said...

In David Slacks book "Bullshit, Backlash and Bleeding Hearts" he talks about ?? "that area ... all being intensively farmed".. I can't locate it at the moment but I think we are talking same place, same events. I was a bit perplexed as to the "intensity" picture he painted?

jh said...

If I was a member of a tribe I would have my name down (just to be in , like bonus bonds). The most ambitious strategy would be a land tax, apportioned over the whole population and/or other fees.. which is kind of where all this talk is going. A classic move in Judo is where the one half pushes and the other suddenly gives way and flips him. I often think of Maori claims in terms of the Merchant of Venice.
What Maori are doing is periodically pushing to come with an injection needle and extract blood from any surplus. The reality is that the surplus comes from a pool used by poor Pakeha as well as poor Maori as over time oppurtunites even out.

Tony R said...

all of the above - very good.

Our nation is systemically being 'maorified' in every way possible while we apathetic NZ'ers do very little.

We need to stand united and have a voice - or there will be bloodshed - or as in my case maybe NZ wont be my home.

But then they would have won !!

John said...

The brand new One Law for All Party
is one mechanism hopefully that will knock some sense into the population