Friday, February 27, 2015

Bruce Moon: Before 1840

It is a curious fact that there are many part-Maoris today (though certainly not all) who have remarkably good memories about their alleged sufferings since 1840 but completely blank minds about what happened to them any earlier.  It is not hard to work out why this should be but more helpful perhaps to assist them in remembering a bit more about their earlier days.

When Europeans first arrived in New Zealand, Maoris were an aggressive warrior race, ready to attack for the slightest reason, as Tasman found out quickly to his cost.[1]

This happened again when, just over a couple of years after Captain Cook,  Marion du Fresne arrived off our shores.  While fishing innocently in calm waters, as he thought, he broke a tapu unknown to him and his fate was sealed.  He and 26 of his crew were massacred and eaten forthwith.[2]  As Lieutenant Roux, one of Marion's officers, noted in his diary, the chiefs "declare war upon the slightest pretext, which wars are very bloody; they generally kill any prisoners they may capture".

Not content with dispatching Marion, about 1500 tribesmen assembled to attack the hospital the French had set up on Moturua Island.  Greatly out-numbered, the French defended themselves valiantly, using their firearms of course, and, with no further losses, killed about 250 of the attackers including many chiefs who were very conspicuous amongst them.

From this episode, the tribes quickly learnt two lessons.  The first was an enduring mortal fear of the "tribe of Marion", confirmed ninety years later by Rev. John Warren.[3]  It was one reason of many chiefs for signing the Treaty of Waitangi though to terminate the carnage of the Musket Wars which followed was another.

The second lesson was of the vast superiority of European firearms over their traditional weapons, so that bargaining for firearms with visiting ships became a highly important activity.  The culmination was Hongi Hika's return from a visit to England with several hundred muskets, many exchanged in Sydney for gifts he had received, and soon followed by the most intense slaughter of the so-called Musket Wars amongst the tribes.

Hongi's  party returning from England reached the Bay of Islands on 11 July 1821 and, shortly afterwards, he began to prepare for his campaign. On 5 September, 2000 Ngapuhi, armed with 1000 muskets, laid siege to Mauinaina pa at Tamaki. It was taken with great slaughter – Te Hinaki and 2000 of his men, as well as many women and children, being killed. The victorious force remained on the battlefield eating the vanquished until they were driven off by the smell of decaying bodies.  It has been noted that "deaths in this one action during the inter-tribal Musket Wars outnumber all deaths in 25 years of the sporadic New Zealand Wars."[4] 

[1]         Tu-mata-kokiri  who confronted Tasman in turn got their comeuppance, being exterminated by Ngai Tahu and Ngatiapa, the last battle being in the Paparoas about 1800.
[2]     For a good account of this episode, read Ian Wishart's "The Great Divide", 2012, ISBN 978-0-9876573-6-7.
[3]     See T.L.Buick, "The Treaty of Waitangi", 1914
[4]     Many of the details in this account are taken from "The Encyclopedia of New Zealand" and other sources, easily obtained by "googling".  Much is summarised by Pember Reeves in "The Long White Cloud, 1898, republished as ISBN 0-85558-293-6


Anonymous said...

We are largely to blame for letting this sham to arrive at this stage , exspediency by politions over the years for their own greedy reasons have allowed Maori fat cats to take advantage of the treaty to mean what they want it to mean.
I some times wonder if there is an underlying threat by Maori that the ordinary citizen is not to be told about, but i think the tragedy in all this is that the average maori was never intended to benifit from the treaty by those Maori fat cats.

paul scott said...

Bruce: Surely part of this is not having a written language, and written history.
For instance ; If I tell people how bravely my father fought against the Japanese in the Solomon's, well they can look up the books .
They say ' you are dreaming, your father didn't get to Guadal canal till 1944. Your old man he looked at the weather for the planes to go out and he shot crocodiles and ate them. "

Sandra B said...

Why oh why are so many people franticaly rewriting history. I went to school - like everyone else - and the early Maori wars was part of our History lessons. It appears that there is a lot of money grubbing from rewriting our history. Isn't it about time our Politicians put their foot down and said enough is enough. The money that is being doled out for one claim and another could be going into more important issues. And I have noted that the money that is doled out to the various tribes does not go to the people that seriously need it.

Geoff said...

The Maori, when discovered by Europeans, were illiterate, stone-age cannibals.
I understand their current story is that they were never actually cannibals

Robert Mann said...

Ace article, Bruce. The classical Maori way of life was dominated by war, slavery, and cannibalism. Many chiefs quickly embraced Christianity as their obvious way up from this ghastly way of life. One splendid account is Rev Patricia Bawden 'The Years Before Waitangi' - an expanded version of her M.A. thesis.
It is appalling that a succession of Govts has now for 3 decades grovelled to the neo-racism of the Harawira gang, the Jackson Five, the Nairns, Sir Paul Reeves & embarrassingly many other church leaders.

paul scott said...

Sandra B.
The history of my country is now being written by people like Bruce Moon.
It is crucially important that we have
people in our land who will write truth.
Paul Scott

ONZF said...

This letter was published in the Northland Age on the 3 March 2015.

Mr Peter Jackson,

"Northland Age",


Dear Sir,

Re: Sovereignty and authority to make laws.

History consists of stages or events and each stage or event has a BEGINNING, a MIDDLE and an END.

Bruce Moon’s article “Before 1840” dated the ??/2/15 was the BEGINNING of the Queen’s sovereignty and the authority to make laws in New Zealand. While Resident James Busby wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1835, it was abandoned within 12 months.

The MIDDLE bit consisted of two parts.

1, In Treaty of Waitangi dated the 6 February 1840, the chiefs gave up their territories and governments to Queen Victoria in return for the same rights as the people of England under the dependency of New South Wales.

2, Queen Victoria’s Royal Charter/Letters Patent dated the 16 November 1840 separated New Zealand from New South Wales on the 3 May 1841 and New Zealand became a British Colony with a Governor and Constitution to form a legal government to make laws with courts and judges to enforce those laws, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

The END of this stage or event in our history was the 1860 Kohimarama Conference where over 200 chiefs confirmed their allegiance to the Queen’s Sovereignty and laws and the 1879 Maori Parliament where over 300 chiefs again confirmed their allegiance to the Queen’s Sovereignty and laws.

There is no denying, “The chiefs placed in the hands of the Queen of England the Sovereignty and authority to make laws”. The Treaty of Waitang – An Explanation”, by Sir Apirana Ngata, M.A, LI.B, Lit.D. 1923. Sir Apirana Ngata was the Minister of Native Affairs.

Yours sincerely,

Ross Baker.

One New Zealand Foundation Inc.