James Busby, T.L.Buick

British reply to 1831 Maori petition for protection

A few months back I visited St Paul’s Church in Paihia, the site of the original Anglican Church Mission.

This plaque at the gate talks about the petition by which 13 Ngapuhi chiefs asked King William IV for protection.

They had three main fears:

  • further revenge by the French for the massacre of Marion du Fresne and his crew in 1772
  • revenge by tribes (now well-armed) for the rampages of Ngapuhi when only they had muskets
  • troublesome British escaped convicts and the like in lawless Kororareka.

The King’s response was to send James Busby to the Bay of Islands to live among the Maori as British Resident.

Below is Busby’s address to the hospitable crowd of 600 Maori who welcomed him to New Zealand.

I particularly draw your attention to the second half of the address, beginning “At one time Great Britain differed but little from what New Zealand is now.”

As usual, I’ve done my best to break up the continuous paragraph to make it easier on your eyes — but clearly plain English was not yet in vogue.


MY FRIENDS –You will perceive by the letter which I have been honoured with the commands of the King of Great Britain to deliver to you, that it is His Majesty’s most anxious wish that the most friendly feeling should subsist between his subjects and yourselves, and how much he regrets that you should have cause to complain of the conduct of any of his subjects.

To foster and maintain this friendly feeling, to prevent as much as possible the recurrence of those misunderstandings and quarrels which have unfortunately taken place, and to give a greater assurance of safety and just dealing both to his own subjects and the people of New Zealand in their commercial transactions with each other, these are the purposes for which His Majesty has sent me to reside amongst you, and I hope and trust that when any opportunities of doing a service to the people of this country shall arise I shall be able to prove to you how much it is my own desire to be the friend of those amongst whom I am come to reside.

It is the custom of His Majesty the King of Great Britain to send one or more of his servants to reside as his representatives in all those countries in Europe and America with which he is on terms of friendship, and in sending one of his servants to reside amongst the chiefs of New Zealand, they ought to be sensible not only of the advantages which will result to the people of New Zealand by extending their commercial intercourse with the people of England, but of the honour the King of a great and powerful nation like Great Britain has done their country in adopting it into the number of those countries with which he is in friendship and alliance.

I am, however, commanded to inform you that in every country to which His Majesty sends his servants to reside as his representatives, their persons and their families, and all that belongs to them are considered sacred.

Their duty is the cultivation of peace and friendship and goodwill, and not only the King of Great Britain, but the whole civilised world would resent any violence which his representative might suffer in any of the countries to which they are sent to reside in his name.

I have heard that the chiefs and people of New Zealand have proved the faithful friends of those who have come among them to do them good, and I therefore trust myself to their protection and friendship with confidence.

All good Englishmen are desirous that the New Zealanders should be a rich and happy people, and it is my wish when I shall have erected my house that all the chiefs will come and visit me and be my friends.

We will then consult together by what means they can make their country a flourishing country, and their people a rich and wise people like the people of Great Britain.

At one time Great Britain differed but little from what New Zealand is now.

The people had no large houses nor good clothing nor good food.

They painted their bodies and clothed themselves with the skins of wild beasts; every chief went to war with his neighbour, and the people perished in the wars of their chiefs even as the people of New Zealand do now.

But after God sent His Son into the world to teach mankind that all the tribes of the earth are brethren, and that they ought not to hate and destroy, but to love and do good to one another, and when the people of England learned His words of wisdom, they ceased to go to war against each other, and all the tribes became one people.

The peaceful inhabitants of the country began to build large houses because there was no enemy to pull them down.

They cultivated their land and had abundance of bread, because no hostile tribe entered into their fields to destroy the fruit of their labours.

They increased the numbers of their cattle because no one came to drive them away.

They also became industrious and rich, and had all good things they desired.

Do you then, O chiefs and tribes of New Zealand, desire to become like the people of England ?

Listen first to the Word of God which He has put into the hearts of His servants the missionaries to come here and teach you.

Learn that it is the will of God that you should all love each other as brethren, and when wars shall cease among you then shall your country flourish.

Instead of the roots of the fern you shall eat bread, because the land shall be tilled without fear, and its fruits shall be eaten in peace.

When there is an abundance of bread we shall labour to preserve flax and timber and provisions for the ships which come to trade, and the ships that come to trade will bring clothing and all other things which you desire.

Thus you become rich, for there are no riches without labour, and men will not labour unless there is peace, that they may enjoy the fruits of their labour.


Thanks to my wonderful volunteer researcher Trina for alerting me to this excerpt from T.L. Buick’s 1914 book The Treaty of Waitangi.

You can download the whole book here.

21 thoughts on “British reply to 1831 Maori petition for protection

  1. Should be required reading for all colonial apologists and forcibly memorized by rote of our unelected koha driven panderer attorney general.

  2. “We will then consult together by what means they can make their country a flourishing country, and their people a rich and wise people like the people of Great Britain.” – lost in translation…..or on the signing of a treaty.

  3. “but to love and do good to one another, and when the people of England learned His words of wisdom, they ceased to go to war against each other, and all the tribes became one people.”

    Appears to be looking with rose tinted glasses, as fighting had just finished in the First Anglo-Ashanti war and the First Anglo Burmese wars.

    The Liberal wars were still raging and would not end until 1834.

    Mind you, he could not have known that the UK was to be further involved in the First Carlist War, which did not start until 1833.

    Or does he purely mean wars against each other, or does he also mean wars with neighbours?

    Either way he is painting a portrait with his eyes shut.

    JA: Anyone with their eyes open can see he is talking about the benefits of joining together as a nation as opposed to fighting tribe against tribe or race against race.

    And that is precisely the message Griever Maori need to get.

    Our sports teams combine against the rest of the world with stellar success – Maori, Europeans and Pacific Islanders together.

    Why can’t our politicians?

  4. Trina, the response appears to be a promise of richness, well being and consultation between 2 peoples. As I said, lost in translation or on the signing of a treaty.

  5. The other day I was at work talking to two older ex army caucasions, both native white NZers.

    We chatted about the treaty and how it is ruining this country and benefits only one people.

    We agreed that the treaty has been deliberately misconstrued via certain words and phrases to suit the maori agenda and continue this gravy train and the greatest of NZ cons.

    We were all agreed.

    Yesterday I was on with the same people, plus a caucasion who is married to a part maori lady with two children.

    The conversation arose about the treaty and how certain tribes are doing ever so well and making a profit with their treaty settlements.

    The man married to the maori lady went on to tell us all the benefits his children and wife gets via Ngai Tahu.

    I listened but did not get involved in the debate as it became quite obvious that the first two ex NZ army fellas had now changed sides and were saying the polar opposite of what they said only the day before.

    I shouldn’t have been surprised as I’ve heard it so many times before with so many caucasion NZers.

    Like JA says we suffer from being nice all the time and don’t want to upset anyone.

    One of them old army fellas came to me later when the other bloke was out of the room and said, “There’s no one like the white man when his back is against the wall, these maori are taking the piss”.

    Astonished at what he said my reply was, “Maori will be taking your homes, your wealth, the shirt off your back and you still won’t say anything”!

    I’m afraid people of NZ that that particular conversation and the jist of what was said and heard is the microcosm of how NZ operates.

  6. Excellent article and Buick’s book should definitely be required reading especially for everyone at school.

    Yes, Ngai Tahu are one of the few tribes who actually help their people. I’m not sure exactly how but I think it is to do with education. The Wakatu Incorporation in Nelson also give out money for education purposes.

    I agree with Peter, and the majority of people in this country who are privately anxious and against what is going on, are just weak, not nice when they won’t stand up and be counted publicly. They don’t have a spine and when/if they finally decide to do something, it will probably be too late.

  7. I cannot find any iwi that does not have education assistance; sport ; marae grants; kaumatua grants; medical and dental assistance for its elderly; tangi assistance; even provision of home heating.. helen you state ngai tahu is one of the few that does assist. To help me out could you name iwi in receipt of settlement funds that do not provide assistance as you seem very knowledgeable about who does what. Etc

  8. Very true Helen.

    Could this be a part of their plan perhaps?

    This is one of the reasons our Forebears, as I have been told by the Veterans concerned so willingly paid the Ultimate Sacrifice, that we their Descendants would not have to suffer this B.S. ever again.

    Yet here we are again at the crossroads with a lot of distractions in the public arena.

    Should we as New Zealanders allow our offspring to suffer even more by being conned into another world war or do you think we should collectively state emphatically something along the lines of we don’t accept your beliefs or motivations and well . . . ‘Just stick it to the man’
    and tear him another as it were, before another monu’mental’ massacre happens to bring the economy right?

    Surely this will cause fewer casualties and cause this mindset to be crushed in a very short time?

    Just another thought!

  9. It’s a very sad state of affairs in New Zealand that the white man is so meally mouthed, and even cowardly.
    My God we’re in trouble if the white man will never ever stand up and be counted for once in his collective puny life.
    Capitulating to radical maori just because we’re scared shitless of them will only make them stronger and the rest of us weaker.
    John Key is the epitamy of wimp and appeaser who says ‘no’ then say OK maybe a little, but don’t tell no one. The man simply can’t say an emphatic “NO” and stick to it.
    The problem we have is that he’s the best we’ve got as the rest, Labour, Greens and Co would give all to maori and bankrupt the country in months.
    Diane. It seems you like privilege and think maori deserve it to right the wrongs of the past. Yet I’ll take a stab that you’d be one of the ones who’d be the first to call white only clubs, social occasions, welfare system for whites only, and the special privilege that maori get only it be for whites etc racist.
    It’s not the white man’s fault that maori are where they are, it’s their radical leaders.

  10. I am unsure why the change of subject David? I asked Helen a question. And you do not know me at all so please do not make assumptions on my thoughts or my feelings on our countries state of affairs.

  11. Well said, David.

    Diane, I don’t specifically know which tribes don’t pass money down to those who are not well off, apart from hearing from all and sundry that they are not receiving one cent of the millions. It’s all going to the elite.

    So, I just named the two tribes I DO know contribute in various ways to those affiliated to them. I’m not knowledgeable as far as the details go but I don’t doubt those of Maori descent who have said (it’s been widely publicised in case you ask me where I heard it) they haven’t seen a cent.

  12. We must have posted at the same time, Diane.

    I think David was just responding to something I said. He wasn’t changing the subject.

    David, I meant to comment on Key. Like you said he just can’t say no and mean no, he has to give them something. They have long learned to ask for the moon. They may not get it but they WILL get something, So they creep up and ask for some other ridiculous thing and, no, they might not get that but they WILL get something. And so it goes on.

    We are now up to the claim for water. They may not get it but they WILL get something. Then it will be the very air we breathe before they claim the sky!!??

    What a load of suckers we are!! Or should I say ‘they’ are because ‘we’ know it’s all a load of total bollocks.

  13. I can’t and will never understand radicals and their supporters. To me it’s completely illogical to lay claim to water, air, sky, clouds, oxygen, and it is to any normal thinking person on planet earth.
    OK it’s only water for now, but the rest will also be claimed for sure at some point.
    But this is New Zealand and we have lilly livered politicians, loony lefties, self hating white people, appeasers and apologists, who, funny enough occupy the corridors of powers to the detriment of this once great country.
    Our freedoms of speech have been completely eroded by our elected and unelected leaders unless one is, of course radical maori or their supporters. Everyone else is quickly branded racist in order to shut down any reasonable debate.
    Our media is completely bias and our investigative journalists must be the joke of planet earth.
    Our media is complicit in what’s going on in NZ but refuse to even debate is rationaly. Every debate on our TV screens is done by radical maori and their sycophantic followers with no opposing views.
    Even if there is an opposing viewpoint one can gurantee that they will completely outnumbered and highjacked, and made out to be racist, and therfore ridiculed.
    Maori are now being allowed even to write their own history for goodness sake, and change so many facts of what they were before the white man got here.
    We are being led to believe that maori are indigenous, which they certainly are not as in their history they came here by boat like everyone else.
    They never owned water, mountains, rivers or anything else. Their one great love was to slaughter each other from village to village.
    It was the white man who stopped all that and gave them civilization.
    I have no idea where this will al end but i do know it has to end at some stage else this country will never be the rich country it should be.
    For me the Waitangi treaty should be burned. All payments will stop forthwith. No more privilege for anything just because one has maori ancestry. Maori will have to join the rest of the world and do it like the rest. All them disgusting maori council will be stripped of all their wealth they have ripped the tax payers off for. If it causes riots then so be it.
    But it can only happen when we all decide that we’re sick to death of their collective bleating on about wrongs that were committed 150 years plus ago. No maori is disadvantaged today, only by their own hand. And they’re well versed and practiced to blame all their ills today on what the white man once did and is still doing.
    Their collective leaders are masters of the grievance industry and only ever seek to make personal fortunes off the backs of disfunctional maori families and criminals.
    The maori party and others like Willy and JT say ” we need more money to fix the problems of maori”, But they have no intention of fixing anything only boosting their fame and personal fortunes from the tax payer. These people are true human parasites and they feed not only on the NZ tax payer, but their fellow maori at the bottom of the heep.

  14. We are both on the same page, Marvin. I totally agree with you.

    I’m wondering what it will take to finally wake up the lily livered white people so they will stand up and with a united voice, let the spineless Government know that it all has to stop. Game over. From now on we must all be equal.

    I’m sure there are many part-Maori out there who will back them all the way too.

  15. I too would like to join John Ansell and have my say on what’s going on in NZ. I’d love nothing more than to get up and say my peace via a well written and presented speech.
    With my job I risk being defenestrated the very next day and branded racist. I ask is it racist to want everyone to be on a level playing field? Of course it’s not, but the card will be played to stiffle all debate and shut one down. And they’ll even find support from the mealy mouthed as they’re too afraid to stand up and be counted, and feel safer to support maori rather than someone who is actually right but alone in the darkness.
    I hear radicals, their supporters and general people who walk round with their eyes closed say “there is no preferential treatment of maori, it doesn’t happen”!
    I believe the word for this is disingenuous (If I’ve spelled it right).
    This helps them see with only tunnel vision and refuse to see what’s happening around them, plus it keeps the status quo and they don’t have to upset anyone.
    I hope and pray for change. I hope and pray for logical thought, honesty, integrity of our politicians, of the 90% of NZ who remain silent and afraid.
    There is a saying: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

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