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How the Treaty of Waitangi was Reinvented After 1975

By: Martin Doutré part 5 of five




So, it becomes very clear what had happened with the various documents:


(a) Reverend Maunsell had not been able to use his official document, sent to him from Government House in the Bay of Islands and signed by acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland, as it had arrived 3 days too late. He had used, instead, materials on hand to conduct his meeting on the 11th before 1500 Maori, conveniently gathered in for their hui business meeting. His document for the hui meeting was an authorised Maori text, printed by the Church Mission Society. Two hundred of these authorised Maori treaty text documents had been produced by Paihia Mission printer, William Colenso on February 17th 1840.

(b) At the April 11th meeting another unauthorised piece of paper had been used in no other capacity but to receive the overflow of signatures that would not fit onto the printed Maori text document. Reverend Maunsell wrote a letter to Hobson, describing what had transpired locally and gave it to Captain William Symonds, who, supposedly, was heading southward, by a circuitous route, to eventually join up with Reverend John Whiteley at the Kawhia Mission.

(c) Captain Symonds later changed his mind en route, after looking over Maunsell’s list of signatures and deciding that his efforts should be focused on Manukau, where he’d had only moderate success, despite two meetings with the chiefs there.

(d) Symonds, unbeknown to Maunsell, returned to Manukau, this time with a different document (Maunsell’s signed, Maori printed text from the C.M.S Press and the orphan English treaty document, (used only to accommodate the signatures). During his third attempt at Manukau, on the 26th of April, Symonds managed to get an additional seven signatures, bringing his tally in the Manukau area to ten signatures in three meetings. Captain Symonds then took or sent all of the signatures, affixed to the two pieces of paper used by Maunsell, Ashwell, and himself, to Hobson. The official document, which was the only one envisioned by acting Lieutenant Governor, Willoughby Shortland, to be signed in Manukau, Waikato Heads and Kawhia, came back, from Reverend John Whiteley to the Bay of Islands after September 1840. We know full well from the May 12th report of William Cornwallis Symonds that he was talking about the printed Maori document being used for the presentation at Waikato Heads, as well as his 3rd attempt at Manukau, with the English copy being used solely to accommodate the overflow signatures obtained. Symonds writes: ‘I have the honour to submit to you for the information of His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor, a Report of my proceedings in the Manukau and Waikato districts in my late mission to obtain the adherence of the Principal Chiefs on the West Coast of this Island to the Waitangi Treaty and herewith - transmit to you a Copy of the Treaty signed by upwards of Forty of the more influential Chiefs of that part of the Country’. Underlining added.

Symonds is stating that the signed treaty he is submitting contains ‘over forty’ signatures. The actual tally is: The orphan English copy has 32 signatures obtained by Maunsell on the 11th of April 1840 (at Waikato Heads) and another 7 signatures obtained by Symonds at Manukau (third attempt there) on the 26th of April 1840 = 39. The printed Maori copy, read to the assemblies at both gatherings, contains the very first of the 5 chiefly signatures obtained at Waikato Heads on April 11th by Reverend Maunsell, bringing the final total to 44. If we then include the 3 Ngati-whatua signatures that William C. Symonds acquired in Manukau on the 20th of March 1840 (his 2nd meeting there), which were recorded upon the official government issued, Maori language document, pre-signed by Willoughby Shortland, then the full tally for the Manukau and Port Waikato districts is 47. Historian Claudia Orange, in her website, wrote: ‘The names of the Waikato chiefs on this sheet [printed C.M.S treaty] were witnessed by Robert Maunsell, but there is no indication of the date or place of signing. The chiefs were possibly visiting Maunsell’s mission at the Waikato river mouth. Ngati Pou lived on the east and west banks of the river further upstream; Ngati Te Wehi were at Raglan. Some uncertainty surrounds this sheet as far as its date of printing [signing?]. It seems highly likely, however, that it was dispatched with the English treaty copy sent to Maunsell to enable him better to explain the terms of the treaty’. Underlining added.

These statements by Claudia Orange are unnecessarily vague, poorly researched and evasive. They are “Red Herring” statements designed to lead us off the path and get us to believe that Maunsell stood before 1500 Maori and presented only Freeman’s Formal Royal Style memorial document in English to Maori, when 99% of those present did not speak English or understand it sufficiently. Social historians, working for the grievance industry, have to continue to push the lie that the “Printed Maori” sheet was sighed on a totally different, unknown and unrecorded occasion at Port Waikato. However, more recent forensic evidence proves conclusively that the Formal Royal Style English language document and the Printed Maori sheets were wax-glued and stick pinned together to form one “make-do” treaty.

The only government issued document ‘sent’ to Maunsell was a handwritten Maori language one, authored by Freeman under Shortland’s direction and carried overland or via waterways by Symonds, commencing on the 13th of March 1840.

Reverend William Colenso, who had printed 200 Maori treaty sheets for distribution to signatory chiefs, on the 17th of February 1840. He sent a consignment of goods to Maunsell on March 4th 1840 with Captain Gordon Brown, who took his boat across the “Portage” near Tamaki on about the 6th-8th of March 1840 …. Fully 5-weeks before Maunsell’s 11th of April treaty assembly. Of the 200 Printed Maori language sheets, containing the only text Maori were allowed to hear, it would not be unreasonable to assume that Brown gave Maunsell a wad of perhaps 15-20 for local distribution.

There’s no way Maunsell would have made any form of presentation of Te Tiriti O Waitangi, as he was obliged to do, without having on hand Te Tiriti O Waitangi text! William Symonds, who tried on three occasions to get signatures from the chiefs at Manukau, well understood the importance of unfaltering and strong oratory before the Maori assemblies. On two occasions he had the very adept assistant and much-respected orator, James Hamlin to help him. At the 3rd Manukau meeting James Hamlin was absent on the day, having travelled to another mission. Symonds later lamented:

‘I obtained the adherence of seven other chiefs to the Treaty. Te Wera-Wera and several others, however, objected.... This I attribute partly to the Bishop’s [Pompallier’s] influence, partly to the extreme pride of the Native chiefs, and in great measure to my being alone and unable to make that display and parade which exerts such influence on the minds of the savages’ (see W.C. Symonds’ letter to the Colonial Secretary, 12 May 1840. Great Britain Parliamentary Papers 1841 (311) XVII pp. 101-2). Reverend Robert Maunsell, a lettered scholar and linguist, was personally engaged in translating the Old Testament of the Bible into the Maori language at the time he made his treaty presentation to 1500 Maori at Waikato Heads. Of Maunsell’s meeting, T.L. Buick writes:

‘The project had been received by the natives in the most friendly spirit, and signatures had been obtained with the utmost alacrity’ (see The Treaty of Waitangi, by T.L. Buick, pg. 189).

Some years later, in 1845, Rev. Maunsell wrote the following during a time of conflict (Hone Heke’s rebellion): ‘Whether that Treaty was a ‘fiction’ or not, this is no fiction, that the Government stands pledged to secure certain rights to the Aborigines, & that the Aborigines were fully informed of that promise. Whether that Treaty has been attended with injurious consequences or not I do not know. This I know, that if it had not been for those stipulations the Colony could not have been established without war with the Aborigines and other more serious evils than those which at present attend it. The people may not perhaps understand all the particulars of that treaty, but we, their teachers took particular care to explain to them, as far as was necessary to allay the suspicions & jealousy with which they contemplated the movements of Government’ (see R. Maunsell to Secretaries, 23 April 1845, in ATL-Micro-MS-Coll-04-35 (CMS Archives CN/M v. 15 p. 311).

Hobson wrote to Reverend Henry Williams concerning the Maori text Williams was issued before his own treaty mission: ‘...treat with the principal native chiefs, in the southern parts of these islands, for their adherence of the treaty.... I have the honour to enclose a copy of the treaty, which I have signed; and to request you will obtain the signatures thereto of such high chiefs as may be willing to accede to its conditions, first explaining to them its principle and object, which they must clearly understand before you permit them to sign....Such presents as may be required will be put on board and placed at your disposal’ (see Hobson’s letter to Reverend Henry Williams, 23rd of March 1840, MS 91/75, Auckland Institute & Museum Library). The chiefs, who always heard the treaty presentation in their own tongue, understood perfectly that they were ceding Sovereignty to Queen Victoria and becoming British subjects. The only area within the wording of the treaty, where the missionaries were concerned that the chiefs might not understand the full implications of what they had agreed to, related to selling their land directly to the Queen’s representative and having no right to sell it directly to the settlers.

This was of particular concern to Reverend William Colenso, who impressed the problem, with considerable force, upon the mind of Hobson on the 6th of February 1840:

‘The correctness of Colenso’s fears that the natives did not understand the implications and effect of a provision of the Treaty conferring on the Crown the right of pre-emption are substantiated by the natives subsequent dissatisfaction with this clause, which later had to be waived by Hobson in favour of the New Zealand Company and also by Governor Fitzroy. The failure of the Crown to exercise its right of pre-emption [exclusive right of purchase], thereby preventing the natives from selling sufficient land to satisfy their desire for European products became a source of grievance and was a contributing factor to the outbreak of Heke’s rebellion’ (see William Colenso, by A.G. Bagnall & G.C. Petersen, 1948, pg. 97). In the end it was only the totality of signatures acquired at both Waikato and Manukau Heads, based upon an oral delivery of the Maori text to the assemblies, to which Hobson later affixed his seal, legitimising the signatures. Hobson, thereby, acknowledged the wishes of the chiefs at Waikato and Manukau that their stated desire to cede sovereignty to Queen Victoria was duly noted and would be implemented.

In 1840 the chiefs wove a tapestry of unification that some of their progeny now seek to unravel.

Modern-day activists are, apparently, far wiser than the 540-chiefs who carefully considered, then signed the treaty. They, therefore, feel qualified in telling us that the treaty is, in actuality, something utterly different to what all the chiefs heard, questioned and discussed, then agreed to embrace as the best course to follow for the future prospects of the country.



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elocal Digital Edition – December 2023 (#272)

elocal Digital Edition
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