Spencer, Frederick Hamilton
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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C147-227
26 St Stephens Sq
The letters and paper you have so kindly forwarded to me are from Wiremu Katene a former MHR, of wch I now … a precis.
For Mr Spencer and Mr Gorst etc the account of Mr Gorst’s and Lord Derby’s speech has reached here. This is to let you know that the maori race are … engaged in writing a petition to the parliament of England it was began in 1883 and contains 11,400 signatures, among which are Tawhiao’s and party, and this is to let you and Mr Gorst and your fellow gentlemen know that I am here at Wellington engaged in preparing this petition in the presence of the Governor and the Government and it has been before the presence of Parliament. I have been here in Wellington for three months engaged in urging the governor to give me an answer in writing of which a copy has been given him, and his word is. ‘That he has no power to say whether the petition should or should not go to England, but that he thinks it would be useless for it to be sent, as it would only be returned again, and that it is for this government to carry on such troubles.’ Another word of his is. ‘That if somebody should go to bring the petition to England that he would write an explanatory letter.’ And that is all he has said. I have been trying to get him to write his answer but in vain.
The conversation above given was on Oct 2 1884. I was accompanied by a Maori MHR on going to government house I had also been on Sept 19 1884 to the ministry to ask them to give me a written answer. The minister for maori affairs said that they would write me a reply but they have not done so, though two months have elapsed, I have written twice but I have not received any reply. I have also written again to the governor and this was the burden of it. ‘It is now known that he maori race are orphans, therefore they seek their first parent, viz England.’ And though you and your ministry do not give us any reply, yet we will continue to persevere and will continued to look forward.
Herein Taiwhanga and party were the first to go to England but they obtained nothing. With the full knowledge of this Tawhaio and party went and got nothing though they laboured hard. Now this petition will be urged and brought forward and this is a copy of the petition that will be sent to you and Mr Gorst and will be a support to Tawhiao and party, but you Mr Gorst know best whether the government and parliament of England will fulfil Tawhiao and party’s claims which were laid before Lord Derby and you and Mr Gorst will write to me at Bay of Islands Auckland Province.
Some of the items are wanting attending and correcting. Some are the same and some are different to Tawhiao’s but the treaty of waitangi is the foundation of all this petition.
That is all. Dwell there with Mr Gorst the noble of England you who form a mountain of refuge for the maori race of New Zealand, but man’s work is nothing, is the perfector of all tho … everything.
My you all be blessed by the Almight one.
MHR from 1871-1879
To Mr Spencer
Minister of the Church
To Mr Gorst MHR
The printed petition is too long to translate just now, for I have not a minute to spare as I am leaving here on Thursday morning but I will try to send a translation from Naples .
Yours very faithfully
Fred H Spencer