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'The Trail Of Waitangi' - The Treaty

(ii) Accusations and Opposition by the New Zealand Company and others.

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With the New Zealand Company now attempting to establish an independant dominion of their own, the British Government had some urgent decisions to make. Up until this stage their intentions had been very fair towards the Maori race, and they had been unwilling to take New Zealand under their control forcibly. There was however a greater risk growing of a collision between Mäori and the ever increasing number of British subjects, and combined with the unruly advance of the New Zealand Company, the British Government were now placed under sudden obligation to claim sovereignty to the Crown and assert the authority of the British Queen.

Realising that the only way to obtain this was with the 'free and intelligent consent of the native tribes', Captain Hobson was sent to New Zealand as Governor with the object of obtaining recognition from the Mäori of Her Majesty's sovereign authority over the whole or any parts of the country which they might be "willing to place under Her Majesty's dominion."

It was at this time, before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, that a multitude of accusations were again blatantly made against anyone wishing to introduce an ordered form of Government. The New Zealand Company of course was desperate to protect their enterprise, and they began to attack verbally and in writing the efforts of the British Crown. The first three Governors, because they were representatives of the Crown, were to be attacked continuously, and of the missionaries Henry Williams bore the brunt of the accusations. Sadly, although all these accusations were in time proved to be false, many of the misunderstandings created, still linger today.

A large percentage of the Europeans, particularly in the north of the country were a 'lawless band' thriving on trading in guns and liquor, and living by other vices. These also, not willing to be subjected to any law or order, spent much time in placing discontent into the heart of the Mäori. Hugh Carleton writes, "Suspicions, implanted or fostered by Europeans to whom the prospect of order was distasteful, were seething in the native mind."

The origins in New Zealand of many of todays issues of discontent against the missionaries were seeded at this time, and are still often evident today 160 years later. These included accusations that the Treaty was a 'device to amuse savages', and that the missionaries 'stole the land' etc., all which were in effect only aimed to attract the peoples minds towards those issues, while the accusers, for their 'love of money' and 'greed for land' continued in their ways for their own gain. Although many Mäori and Pakeha were standing together against these accusations, racial disharmony, although an unnecessary issue, was gradually being fostered.

Henry Williams was not however a man to be messed around with, and his name had been well established by this time as the peace maker over the whole country, his mana having become paramount. In a country where a stranger was regarded as an enemy, he went where he pleased without hindrance, and if he could not see eye to eye with the New Zealand Association then he was most certainly unlikely to budge for the New Zealand Company and their ways. Political action was of course distasteful to him, but upon the arrival of Captain Hobson he was immediately called upon for counsel and assistance, his position becoming more that of an 'advisor to the Crown', rather than that of being in league with them. .....

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