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#3. New Zealand Prosperous.#--The natives being at peace, and the price of land being reduced, settlers streamed steadily into New Zealand. In 1853 there were 31,000 white people in the colony, and they had bought from the natives 24,000,000 acres of land. They had a million of sheep, and their exports were over 300,000 in value. The Government was quite solvent again, having a revenue of 140,000 a year. A very large number of farms were by this time in full work, those in the North Island being chiefly used for crops, those in the South Island chiefly for sheep. But the New Zealand Company had disappeared. In 1850 it was a quarter of a million pounds in debt, and it was wound up, leaving its shareholders with heavy losses.
An important event in the history of New Zealand occurred on 30th June, 1852, when the English Parliament gave the colony power to make its own laws and manage its own affairs, practically without interference from London. A bill was pa.s.sed providing that there should be six provinces, each with its own provincial council, consisting of not less than nine persons to be chosen to manage local affairs. There was also to be the General a.s.sembly, consisting of a legislative council, appointed by the Governor, and a House of Representatives consisting of forty members to be chosen by the colonists. The Governor, who was now Sir George Grey, did much to bring these new arrangements into force and to adapt them to the needs of the settlers. Having ruled well for eight years and brought the colony into a prosperous condition, and being required to set in order the affairs of Cape Colony, he left New Zealand on the last day of 1853, much regretted by the Maoris and also by the majority of the colonists.
[Ill.u.s.tration: THE MAORI KING.]
Colonel Wynyard acted as Governor for the time being, and summoned the first Parliament of New Zealand to meet in May, 1854. He had much difficulty in getting the system of Cabinets of responsible Ministers to work smoothly. The colonists from different provinces had interests which lay in opposite directions, and political matters did not move easily. He was glad when the new Governor, Colonel Gore Browne, arrived in September, 1855. At that time New Zealand had 45,000 white settlers in it, and the discovery next year of rich goldfields in Otago attracted many more, and gave a great impetus to Dunedin. Everything promised a splendid future, when again the Maoris became troublesome.
#4. The King Movement.#--The Waikato tribe had always been averse to the selling of their land. They said truly enough that the money the white men gave for it was soon spent, but the land was gone for ever, and the settlers were fencing in 40,000 additional acres every year. They called a meeting on the banks of Lake Taupo to discuss the question. A large number of chiefs were present, and they agreed to form a Land League, all members of which undertook to sell no more land to white men. At this time also a new project was formed. The Maoris felt their weakness whilst divided up into so many tribes. Union would make them strong. They resolved to select one chief to be king of all the Maoris, and for that purpose they chose the redoubted Te Whero Whero, who hoisted the Maori flag. But he was old and inclined to die in peace, and, dying soon afterwards, was succeeded by his son, a young man of no ability. Many of the Maoris held aloof from these leagues; they were of tribes hostile to the Waikatos, or else they were glad to get the white man's money, and felt that they had still plenty of land for their own use. But in the heart of the North Island, some 4,000 or 5,000 Maori warriors nursed a wild project of driving the English out of the country. They gathered muskets and powder; they strengthened their pahs and filled them with potatoes and yams. Governor Browne took no steps to check them, and suffered several thousand muskets to be bought from English ships along the coasts.
#5. Taranaki War.#--Meantime a quarrel had been going forward which gave the Maoris a pretext for fighting. In 1859 Governor Browne had visited Taranaki, and announced that if any of the natives had land to sell he was ready to buy it. A Maori offered him 600 acres, proving that he was the owner of the land. The Governor gave him 200 for it; but the chief of the tribe to which this Maori belonged was one of the Land League, and refused to let the land be sold. The Governor after inquiry came to the conclusion that as the rightful owner of the land was willing to sell it, no one else had a claim to interfere. He sent surveyors up to measure the land. They were stopped by the chief. The Governor sent some soldiers to protect the surveyors. The whole of the Taranaki Maoris rose in arms, and swept the few soldiers down to the coast. They then ravaged the whole district, burning houses, crops, and fences; and all the settlers of Taranaki crowded for defence into the town of New Plymouth.
Most of them were ruined, and many of them left for other colonies.
Governor Browne now sent round from Auckland all the soldiers he had; but, in accordance with their agreement, the Waikato tribes sent warriors to a.s.sist the Taranaki tribe. Their Maori king having no great influence, these were placed under the command of Te Waharoa, a Maori chief of much skill and popularity. Many skirmishes took place, in which the natives, through their quickness and subtle plans, inflicted more injury than they received. But General Pratt having arrived from Sydney with fresh soldiers, and prepared to sap the pahs and blow them up, the Maoris became afraid, and Te Waharoa proposed that peace should be made, which was done in May, 1861.
#6. Second Maori War.#--Governor Browne then called upon the Waikato tribes, who were then in arms, to make submission and take the oath of obedience to the Queen's laws. Very few did so; and when Sir Duncan Cameron arrived to take the chief command with more troops and big guns, he stated that he would invade the Waikato territory and punish those tribes for their disobedience.
But then came news that the English Government, being dissatisfied with the way in which matters were drifting into war, was going to send back Sir George Grey. He arrived in September, 1861, to take the place of Colonel Browne, and after a month or two summoned a great meeting of the Waikatos to hear him speak. They gathered and discussed the land question. Grey said that those who did not wish to sell their land could keep it by the treaty of Waitangi; but that no one must hinder another man from selling what was his own. The land for which Governor Browne had given 200 at Taranaki was still in the occupation of armed Maoris, and it must be given up. Grey reasoned with them, but they were obstinate. Bishop Selwyn went among them and exhorted them to peace, but made no impression.
Meanwhile General Cameron set his men at work to make roads, and during the year and a half while the Governor was trying to bring the Maoris to reason, he was making good military highways throughout the North Island.
In October, 1862, the Maoris held another great meeting among themselves to discuss their position. They had grown confident, and thought that the Governor's mildness arose from weakness. They resolved to fight. The Governor sent soldiers to take possession of the land at Taranaki. Te Waharoa sent word to the Taranaki Maoris to begin shooting, and he would soon be with them. He was as good as his word, and laid a trap for a body of English soldiers and killed ten of them.
The Waikatos sent an emba.s.sy to all the other tribes, urging them to join and drive the white men out of the country. Te Waharoa was chosen to command in a grand attack at Auckland, and for that purpose the Maoris in two columns moved stealthily through the forest down the Waikato valley towards the town, threatening to ma.s.sacre every white man in it. But General Cameron was there in time to meet them. They fell back to a line of rifle pits they had formed, and from that shelter did much damage to the British troops. But at last the Maoris were dislodged and chased with bayonets up the Waikato, losing fifty of their men. They had stronger entrenchments farther up, where a thousand men were encamped with women to cook for them and to make cartridges. So strongly were they posted that Cameron waited for four months whilst guns and supplies were being brought up along the roads, which were now good and well made. By getting round to the side of their camp, and behind it, he made it necessary for them to fall back again, which they did.
#7. Rangiriri.#--They now made themselves very secure at a place called Rangiriri, where a narrow road was left between the Waikato River and a boggy lake. This s.p.a.ce they had blocked with a fence of thick trees twenty feet high, and with two ditches running across the whole length.
In the midst of this strong line they had set up a redoubt, a sort of square fortress, from the walls of which they could fire down upon the attackers in any direction. About 500 Maoris well armed took up their position in this stronghold. Cameron advanced against them with 770 men and two guns, each throwing shot of forty pounds weight. At the same time four gunboats with 500 soldiers were sent up the river to take the Maori position in flank. At half-past four on a July morning the British bugles sounded the attack, and the fight lasted until the darkness of night put an end to it. During that fierce day the British charged again and again, to be met by a murderous fire from behind the palisades and from the walls of the redoubt. Forty-one soldiers had been killed and ninety-one wounded, the line of palisades had been captured, but the Maoris had all gathered safely within the redoubt. During the night the troops were quartered all round so as to prevent them from escaping, and a trench was cut to lead to a mine under the redoubt so that it could be blown up with gunpowder in the morning. The Maoris saw this project and could not prevent it. In the early dawn, after a night spent in war dances and hideous yelling, some of them burst out by the side towards the lake, and rushed past or jumped over the soldiers who were resting there. A heavy fire, poured into them from their rear, killed a great many of them. Seeing this, a large party of the Maoris, and among them Te Waharoa and the Maori king, stayed in the redoubt. But they knew that they were trapped, and next day they surrendered, in all 183 men with a few women. Sixty or seventy of the Maoris had been killed, but several hundreds escaped.
[Ill.u.s.tration: RANGIRIRI, FROM THE WAIKATO.]
#8. Orakau.#--Meantime General Carey, who was next in command to General Cameron, had been chasing another large body of the Waikato tribe far up the river more than half way to its source in Lake Taupo. It was a wild and mountainous district, and the Maoris were sheltered at Orakau, a pah in a very strong position. Carey spent three days in running a mine under the walls, while his guns and mortars kept up a perfect storm of shot and sh.e.l.l. Then he offered to accept their surrender. They refused to give in. He begged them at least to let the women and children go and they would be allowed to pa.s.s out unhurt. They said that men and women would fight for ever and ever. Yet when the mines began to burst, and the guns poured in redoubled showers of death, they found they could hold the place no longer. They formed a column, and made a sudden rush to escape. So quick were they and so favourable the ground, that they would have escaped if the British had not had a body of 300 or 400 cavalry, who rode after them and sabred all who would not surrender.
About 200 were killed, and although several hundreds escaped yet they were so dispersed that they made no further stand. They left their pahs, and though a series of skirmishes took place, yet the Waikato rebellion was ended, and Cameron had only to leave a sufficient number of military settlers along the Waikato Valley to make certain that peace and order would be maintained.
#9. The Gate Pah.#--There was a tribe at Tauranga, on the Bay of Plenty, with whom Governor Grey was displeased, for they had sent men, guns and food to help the Waikatos, and they showed a warlike disposition. He demanded their submission, and they refused it. He then sent General Cameron with 1,500 soldiers to deal with them. This force found the Tauranga tribe prepared to fight in a strong place called the Gate Pah, built on a ridge with a swamp at each side. They had 500 men in it, all well armed. Cameron had three heavy guns placed in position, and during the night 700 soldiers pa.s.sed round one of the swamps to get at the rear of the Maoris. In the morning a terrific fire was opened, and for two hours the place was swept by shot and sh.e.l.l, but the Maoris had dug underground shelters for themselves, and were little injured. After that the guns were used to break a hole in the palisades, and at four o'clock there was a sufficient breach to admit an attacking party. Three hundred men were chosen, and put in front of the place. A rocket was sent up as a signal, and the attacking party dashed at the breach. As they entered it, not a Maori could be seen, but puffs of smoke all along the earthen bank showed where they were concealed. The a.s.sailants were a dense crowd, on whom every shot told. All the officers were killed. More men kept crowding in, only to drop before the murderous fire. Suddenly a panic seized the men. A rush was made to get out of the breach again, and while the soldiers were running away volley after volley was fired into the crowd. General Cameron did not renew the attack, for evening was falling. There came on a dark wet night; and although surrounded on all hands, the Maoris contrived to slip gently past the sentries, leaving some wounded men behind them.
#10. Te Ranga.#--The Maoris fell back a few miles and chose a strong position at Te Ranga for a new pah. They had only dug the ditches and made some rifle pits when the British were upon them. The troops carried the position with a rush, the Maoris standing up against the bayonets with the coolest courage. A hand-to-hand fight forced the natives out of the ditches, and then they turned and fled. The horse soldiers pursued and killed many. Altogether 123 of the Maoris were killed and a large number captured, while the English lost ten men killed.
#11. Wereroa.#--After this action, though skirmishes were frequent, the Maoris made no determined stand, and on the English side affairs were carried on in a slow fashion. General Cameron had under him 10,000 regular soldiers, and nearly 10,000 colonial volunteers. He had nearly a dozen vessels of different sorts, either on the coasts or up the river, and he had an abundance of heavy guns. There arose quarrels between him and the Governor, who thought that with less than 1,000 Maoris under arms more progress ought to have been made. General Cameron resigned and departed in the middle of 1865. The Governor wished him before he went to attack a pah called Wereroa, but the general said he required 2,000 more men to do it, and refused. Yet Sir George Grey, taking himself the command of the colonial forces, captured the fort without losing a man.
The bulk of the Maoris escaped, and kept up for a time a guerilla warfare in forests and on mountain sides; but at last the Tauranga tribes, or the miserable remnant that was left, surrendered to the Governor. Grey, in admiration of their generous and often n.o.ble conduct and their straightforward mode of fighting, allowed all the prisoners to go free; and though he punished them by confiscating a quarter of their land, he did his best to settle them on the other three-fourths in peace and with such advantages as British help could secure them. So there came quietness round the Bay of Plenty.
#12. The Hau Hau Religion.#--Meantime new trouble was brewing in the Taranaki district. There the soldiers were skirmishing with the Maoris, but had them well in control, when a pair of mad or crafty native priests set the tribes in wild commotion, by declaring that the Angel Gabriel had told them in a vision that at the end of the year 1864 all white men would be driven out of New Zealand, that he himself would defend the Maoris, and that the Virgin Mary would be always with them; that the religion of the white men was false, and that legions of angels would come and teach the Maoris a better religion. In the meantime all good Maoris who shouted the word Hau Hau as they went into battle would be victorious, and angels would protect their lives. A body of these fanatics, deeply impressed with the belief in these and many other follies, tried their fortunes against the soldiers at Taranaki, but with small success. Forty of them, in spite of shouting their Hau Hau, fell before the muskets and guns of the white men. Then 300 of them made an effort in another direction, and, moving down the river w.a.n.ganui, threatened the little town at its mouth. w.a.n.ganui was defended by 300 soldiers; but all the out settlers up the valley were leaving their farms and hurrying in for shelter, when 300 men of the w.a.n.ganui tribe, who liked the white men and were friendly with them, offered to fight the Hau Haus. The challenge was accepted; and about 200 of the fanatics landed on a little island called Moutoa, in the middle of the river.
Though surrounded by a pretty margin of white pebbles, it was covered with ferns and thick scrub. Through this at daybreak the combatants crept towards each other, the Hau Haus gesticulating and making queer sounds. At last they fell to work, and volley after volley was discharged at only ten yards distance. The friendly natives, having seen three of their chiefs fall, turned and fled. Many had plunged into the river, when one of their chiefs made a stand at the end of the island, and gathering twenty men around him poured in a volley and killed the Hau Hau leader. This surprised the fanatics and they hesitated; then a second volley and a charge routed them. Back came the friendly Maoris who had fled, and chased their enemies into the stream, wherein a heavy slaughter took place. About seventy of the Hau Haus were slain. The twelve who fell on the friendly side were buried in w.a.n.ganui with military honours, and a handsome monument now marks the place where their bones rest.
#13. Conclusion of Maori Wars.#--In 1866 General Chute came to take command of the troops, in place of General Cameron. A vigorous campaign crushed the Hau Haus after much skirmishing in different parts of the Wellington district. But the chief trouble arose from another source.
The 183 prisoners taken at Rangiriri, together with some others taken afterwards, were detained on board a hulk near Auckland. Sir George Grey wished to deal in a kindly fashion with them, and proposed to release them if they gave their word not to give further trouble. The Ministers of his Cabinet were against this proposal, but agreed that he should send them to an island near Auckland to live there without any guards.
They gave their promise, but broke it and all but four escaped, Te Waharoa being among them. They chose the top of a circular hill thirty-five miles from Auckland and there fortified themselves in a pah called Omaha. But they did no harm to any one, and as they soon quietly dispersed they were not meddled with.
A wild outburst of Hau Hau fanaticism on the east coast of the Bay of Plenty stirred up the fires of discord again, when a worthy old Church of England missionary named Mr. Volkner was seized, and, after some savage rites had been performed, was hanged on a willow tree as a victim. More fighting followed, in which a large share was taken by a Maori chief named Ropata, who, clad in European uniform and with the t.i.tle of Major Ropata, fought stoutly against the Hau Haus, and captured several pahs.
#14. Te Kooti.#--When the last of these pahs was captured an English officer declared that one of the friendly chiefs named Te Kooti was playing false and acting as a spy. Thinking to do as Governor Grey had done with Rauparaha, this officer seized the chief, who, without trial of any sort, was sent off to the Chatham Islands, a lonely group 300 miles away, which New Zealand was now using as a penal establishment for prisoners. This conduct was quite unfair, as Te Kooti, so far as can now be known, was not a spy, and was friendly to the English.
Nearly 300 Maoris were on the Chatham Islands, most of them Hau Hau prisoners. They were told that if they behaved well they would be allowed to return in two years. When two years were past and no signs of their liberation appeared, Te Kooti planned a bold escape. An armed schooner, the _Rifleman_, having come in with provisions the Maoris suddenly overpowered the twelve soldiers who formed their guard, and seized the vessel. One soldier was killed whilst fighting, but all the rest were treated gently. The whole of the Maoris went on board and then the crew were told that unless they agreed to sail the vessel back to New Zealand they would all be killed. Day and night Maori guards patrolled the deck during the voyage, and one of them with loaded gun and drawn sword always stood over the helmsman and compelled him to steer them home. They reached the sh.o.r.es of New Zealand a little north of Hawke Bay, and landed, taking with them all the provisions out of the vessel, but treating the crew in a kindly way. A ship was sent round with soldiers who attacked the runaways, but they were too few, and too hastily prepared, so that Te Kooti easily defeated them. Three times was he attacked by different bodies of troops, and three times did he drive off his a.s.sailants. Cutting a path for himself through the forests, he forced his way a hundred miles inland to a place of security. But his people had no farms, and no means of raising food in these wild mountain regions, and the provisions they had taken from the _Rifleman_ were used in a few months.
#15. Poverty Bay Ma.s.sacre.#--Then, roused to madness by hunger, of which some of them had died, they crept cautiously back to the Poverty Bay district. Falling at night upon the little village, they slaughtered men, women, and children, as well as all the quiet Maoris they could catch. The dawn woke coldly on a silent village, wherein fifty or sixty bodies lay gashed and mangled in their beds, or at their doors, or upon their garden paths. An old man and a boy escaped by hiding. After taking all the provisions out of the place, Te Kooti set fire to the houses and retreated to the hills, where, on the top of a peak 2,000 feet high, he had made a pah called Ngatapa, which was defended on every side by precipices and deep gorges. There was only one narrow approach, and that had been fortified with immense care. The colonial troops under Colonel Whitmore, and bodies of friendly Maoris under Ropata, attacked him here.
The work was very difficult, for after climbing those precipitous hills there were two palisades to be carried, one seven feet high and the other twelve. But science prevailed. After great exertions and appalling dangers the place was captured by Ropata, who climbed the cliffs and gained a corner of the palisades, killing a great number of Te Kooti's men in the action. During the night the rest escaped from the pah, sliding from the cliffs by means of ropes. But in the morning they were chased, and for two days the fugitives were brought back to the pah in twos and threes. Ropata took it for granted that they were all concerned in the ma.s.sacre at Poverty Bay. Each of the captives as he arrived was stripped, taken to the edge of the cliff, shot dead, and his body thrown over. About a hundred and twenty were thus slaughtered. But Te Kooti himself escaped, and for the next two years he lived the life of a hunted animal, chased through the gloomy forests by the relentless Ropata. He fought many fights; his twenty Hau Hau followers were often near to death from starvation; but at length wearied out he threw himself on the mercy of the white men, was pardoned, sunk into obscurity, and died in peace.
War was not really at an end till 1871; as up to that date occasional skirmishes took place. But there never was any fear of a general rising of the Maoris after 1866.
#16. Progress of New Zealand.#--These wars were confined to the North Island. Otago, Canterbury, and Nelson felt them only by way of increased taxes. Otherwise they were left in peace to pursue their quiet progress.
They multiplied their population sixfold; they opened up the country with good roads; a railway was cut through the mountain to join Christchurch with its seaport, Lyttelton, by a tunnel half a mile long.
A similar but easier railway was made to join Dunedin to Port Chalmers; gold was found in various parts, especially in Otago, and on the west coast round Hokitika. For a time New Zealand sent out gold every year to the value of two and a half million pounds, and this lucrative pursuit brought thousands of stout settlers to her sh.o.r.es.
[Ill.u.s.tration: THE CARGILL FOUNTAIN, DUNEDIN.]
In 1864 the New Zealand Parliament chose Wellington to be the capital of the colony, as being more central than Auckland. In 1868 an Act was pa.s.sed to abolish the provinces, and to make New Zealand more completely a united colony. A great change began in this same year, when the first Maori chief was elected to be a member of the New Zealand Parliament.
Before long there were six Maoris seated there, two of them being in the Upper House. These honourable concessions, together with a fairer treatment in regard to their land, did much to show the Maoris that their lives and liberties were respected by the white men. They had lost much land, but what was left was now of more use to them than the whole had formerly been. Their lives and their property were now safer than ever, and they learnt that to live as peaceful subjects of Queen Victoria was the happiest course they could follow. The Government built schools for them and sent teachers; it built churches for them and cared for them in many ways. Thus they became well satisfied, even if they sometimes remembered with regret the freer life of the olden times.
But Sir George Grey, who was the warm friend of the Maori, was no longer Governor. He had finished his work and his term of office had expired.
Sir George Bowen came out to take his place. Grey after a trip to England returned to take up his residence in New Zealand, and a few years later allowed himself to be elected a member of its Parliament.
Subsequently he became its Prime Minister, sinking his own personal pride in his desire to do good to the country.
From 1870 to 1877 the affairs of the country were chiefly directed by ministries in which Sir Julius Vogel was the princ.i.p.al figure. He started and carried out a bold policy of borrowing and spending the money so obtained in bringing out fresh settlers and in opening up the land by railways. This plan plunged the colony deeply into debt, but it changed the look of the place, and although it had its dangers and its drawbacks, it has done a great deal for the colony. At first the natives refused to let the railways pa.s.s through their districts, but in 1872 a great meeting of chiefs agreed that it would be good for all to have the country opened up. Some maintained a dull hostility till 1881, but all the same the railways were made, until at length 2,000 miles were open for traffic.
Between 1856 and 1880 nineteen different ministries managed the affairs of New Zealand, one after the other, the same Prime Minister however presiding over different ministries. The most notable of these have been, Sir William Fox, Edward W. Stafford, Major Atkinson, and Sir Julius Vogel.
In 1880 the colony had increased to 500,000 white people, owning 12,000,000 sheep and exporting nearly 6,000,000 worth of goods. The Maoris were 44,000, but while the whites were rapidly increasing, the Maoris were somewhat decreasing. They had 112,000 sheep and nearly 50,000 cattle, with about 100,000 pigs.
The heavy expenditure of the borrowing years from 1870 to 1881 was followed by a time of depression from 1880 to 1890, during which Sir Robert Stout and Major Atkinson were Prime Ministers; but at the end of that period the colony began rapidly to recover. Its population approached 750,000, with 42,000 Maoris; its sheep were nearly 20,000,000 in number; and its farms produced 20,000,000 bushels of wheat and oats.
It sent 4,000,000 worth of wool to England, and about 1,000,000 worth of frozen meat. The general history of the last twenty years may be summed up as consisting of immense progress in all material and social interests.
[Ill.u.s.tration: VICTORIA DEFENCE FLEET.]