Matenga Taiwhanga to Charlotte Weale, 23 February 1883, G98-67

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Taiwhanga, Matenga


Indigenous person






New Zealand

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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 22 / G98-67


Copy of translation
Kaihoke Bay of Islands
Auckland New Zealand
Feb 23 1883

To Charlotte Miss Weale
Salutations to you and to Mrs Selwyn and to Lady Martin and to all the elders of the Church of Christ in England. I have received the other letter you wrote to me after I had sent mine. I am glad to receive your letters. William and his two friends have arrived in New Zealand through the merciful goodness of God. The gratitude of the people here toward you is great, also that of the native clergy and the chief women who have received your tokens of love from England. … sees the greatness of your love toward their relation and to the people in their village. Sidney Taiwhanga come to me before he went to England to ask me to write a letter for him, but I did not. I had nothing to write about. Land, laws, politics etc I was afraid. It was for our father in the Church Bishop Cowie, Archdeacon Edward Clarke to write, as for me I was not able, not in a position to write such a letter. As to the marriage of Sidney Taiwhanga I do not know much about it. Sidney is aman who seeks to know European laws. His thoughts are not stable, not steadfast to the Maori ways. He may be compared to what the apostle Jude has said: raging waves of the sea, wandering stars, for he is always moving about restlessly. But he is a good man at Kaikohe for maintaining the pews of the Church. He comes to Church and is a regular communicant. With regard to other matters connected with him I do not know. Jackson and Wi Te Paneri live a long way from me about 40 miles is the distance between Kaikohe and Kaihu. But perhaps your letter which I have now received may stir me up to go to Kaihu although it may be some time before I do so, to see what fruit their travels have produced, and to pick up some of the fruits of their journey that is if they are tree bearing fruits. I do not know anything of the affairs of the government with which Sidney is so concerned except the Treaty of Waitangi. The Ngapuhi tribe have made a house and a stone of the Treaty of Waitangi. I have seen it. In the district of the Ngapuhi…the Church of Christ is living and prosperous, and their faith is always growing. But there are many things to encourage and many things to discourage amongst the people. I continue to go every month to Mongakatria, and I see the tomb of our fair Richard Takawau, he is buried outside the Church of the Good Shepherd. My father James Kapa is still alive, between 40 and 50 years he has been working in Christ’s mission as a teacher long before I was born he was a sower of seed in God’s field. He was a friend of the first Christians here and remembers. Taiwhanga’s daughter is another, she lives with me now to go to school here and Simon Thomas Chapman is another and several more. I am so glad Mrs Grace was so good as to translate my letters to you that you may know my thoughts.

Raihana Taikawau died in the faith and others also are following in his steps. Some are not now worshippers nevertheless if we pray to god for them, they will be brought back into the fold of Christ. I am fighting against drunkenness, I do not want any strong drinks at all to come to us to Maories. I am desirous that all the children should go to school. They are learning English, and make good progress in all the various things taught them. I am desirous we should live beside our European friends in peace, that we may be one tribe. You who are a European are continually telling us the same. I say let there be the same law for the Maori and for the European. The Maoris are like basket of potatoes … which the Europeans in New Zealand put on the scale, weigh, and so find out the value which they say is right to give to the Maori for it. We look at the payment but we do not know what it really ought to be. Like this are our … MP in Maori. To the Europeans make the good and the bad law in New Zealand. So the law mad ein 1882 caused … miles of our land to be alienated, therefore was the sending of the petition to England which you say was a waste of money. Understand oh friend Miss Weale, that for years gone by, up to 1882 we see we have been injured, therefore my simile of the basket of potatoes… therefore Sidney and his friend floated over the deep waters to the other side England. The work of going to England is … Sidney again to do, he is now going round our Island to get a petition signed, in two weeks a thousand have signed the petition of the Maori chiefs, yet the work is not finished, in about three more weeks or spaces of time all the signatures of the whole island will have been obtained.

Yet I am very glad that Sidney William and Jackson saw the Prince of Wales, his wife and children. Perhaps it will not be long before those three go to England again.

Some disturbance took place at Whanganui in December between the Maories and the government on account of a road. Mr Bryce and his men caused the difficulty. …and others put an end to it. … is the chief of that part, the name of the tribe is Rarawau but they are of Ngapuhi also. As far as I can learn that dispute has ended satisfactorily. No more evil will happen in New Zealand if Christians are strong. Friend I pray earnestly to God that the work of Sidney and his friends may be just both for Maories and Europeans, that the two tribes may be governed right that what they do with regard to the land may be good for days to come. I have not seen William and Jackson but have heard they are resting quietly and continuing their worship of God.

This tribe where I live named Te Arawa is living peacefully and worshipping the true God and are in obedience to the Queen. I thank you much for all your counsel, for your prayers for me and for my tribe, may you live long to teach us. May the almighty god take care of us all.

From Matenga Martin Taiwhanga
A kinsman of Sidney Taiwhanga