Colenso at Waitangi

William Colenso at Waitangi

This script has been taken from William Colenso’s The Authentic and Genuine History of the Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  Colenso had been in the Bay of Islands since 1834 as the Paihia mission printer and was present at Waitangi on the 5th and 6th of February 1840. His account was written from his notes and was first published in 1890. The text was checked by James Busby and his notes are footnoted in Colenso’s book.

Colenso’s punctuation has been kept and, although condensed, the words are still authentic to those as translated and reported by him.

5th February 1840
On 30 January 1840 Hobson issued an invitation through Busby to local Maori to ‘see the Chief of the Queen’ at Waitangi on the 5th February 1840. The Maori chiefs began gathering at Te Tii on the southern edge of the Waitangi River on the 4th February and came across to meet Hobson and Busby in front of the former British Residency on the morning of the 5th February.

Governor Hobson began by speaking first to the whites (Colenso’s term) saying ‘that the meeting was convened for the purpose of informing the Native chiefs of Her Majesty’s intentions towards them, and of gaining their public consent to a treaty now about to be proposed to them.’ He then addressed the chiefs with Reverend Henry Williams acting as interpreter.

Hobson: Her Majesty Victoria, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland, wishing to do good to the chiefs and people of New Zealand, and for the welfare of her subjects living among you, has sent me to this place as Governor.

But, as the law of England gives no civil powers to Her Majesty out of her dominions, her efforts to do you good will be futile unless you consent. Her Majesty has commanded me to explain these matters to you, that you may understand them.

The people of Great Britain are, thank God! free; and, so long as they do not transgress the laws, they can go where they please, and their sovereign has not power to restrain them. You have sold them lands here and encouraged them to come here. Her Majesty, always ready to protect her subjects, is also always ready to restrain them.

Her Majesty the Queen asks you to sign this treaty and so give her that power which shall enable her to restrain them.

I ask you for this publicly: I do not go from one chief to another. I will give you time to consider of the proposal I shall now offer you. What I wish you to do is expressly for your own good, as you will soon see by this treaty.

You yourselves have often asked the King of England to extend his protection unto you. Her Majesty now offers you that protection in the treaty.

I think it not necessary to say any more about it. I will therefore read the treaty....

The full William Colenso file can be read or downloaded on the PDF file attached below
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Kiwi Frontline,
Jun 18, 2017, 6:07 PM