The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Tawhiao
Tawhiao, the second Maori king, son of Potatau (Te Whero Whero), the first New Zealand king (q.v.), was originally ailed Matutaera. and was chosen to succeed his father in June 1860. In Feb. 1875, after years of hostility and estrangement, Tawhiao had an interview with Sir Donald M'Lean, Minister of Native Affairs, who informed him that the abandonment of the confiscated Waikato territory which he had demanded was quite out of the question. Tawhiao suggested that the Governor should meet him at Te Kuiti. Sir Donald MᶜLean's propositions were — (1) That Tawhiao should exercise his authority over tribes within his district; (2) that he should choose his Council of Chiefs to keep order and repress wrong; (3) that the New Zealand Government should assist him; (4) that the Government should build a house for him at Kawhia and grant to him certain lands on the Waipa and Waikato rivers. After a considerable amount of negotiation the conference broke up without any definite agreement being arrived at. The Governor did not go to Te Kuiti; and though several chiefs assembled, Tawhiao held aloof, as his invitation was not responded to. In May 1878 he had a meeting with Sir George Grey, who had become Premier of New Zealand, at Hikurangi. Sir George told him the Government would give him five hundred acres of land near the grave of his father, would restore other lands to his people, would erect a house for him at Kawhia, and consult him as to surveys and roads. Tawhiao neither accepted nor rejected these proposals. On May 6th, 1879, Tawhiao, in company with numerous chiefs, had another interview with Sir George Grey at Kopua, where he utterly repudiated all compromise with Europeans. "All foreign innovations," he concluded, "must be swept away. Then there will be no evils." The discussion lasted several days, some of the chiefs rejecting the Maori king's claims and expressing their preference for the Queen and the Treaty of Waitangi. The conference ended fruitlessly, and Sir George Grey wrote to Tawhiao before leaving that he was not doing so in anger, but in sorrow, "because you have not been wise enough to accept the benefits offered to you, and because the hope which I have cherished for years, that I might be the means of placing yourself and your people in a condition of prosperity and peace, has been again deferred." In 1881 Tawhiao, to the surprise of all New Zealand, visited the confiscated territory in the Waikato, and was profuse in his professions of friendship towards the settlers, surrendering his guns and those of his party to the resident military officer of the district in token of peace. In Jan. 1882 Tawhiao visited Auckland, and was received with great cordiality by the colonial authorities. At the various entertainments given in his honour, he urged amity and just dealing and forgetfulness of past evils.. He had a satisfactory interview with the Premier, Mr. (now Sir John) Hall. In 1884 Tawhiao visited England, having previously taken the pledge by Sir George Grey's desire. He arrived at Plymouth on May 31st, his object being to enlist the influence of the Queen in checking the aggressions of the New Zealand Government. The Maori king was successful in obtaining an interview with Lord Derby, then Colonial Secretary, who promised to forward a memorial to the Queen; but the tone ultimately taken up was that, New Zealand having been granted responsible government, the Colonial Office could not interfere in a matter eminently of local concern. Tawhiao and his attendant chiefs left England on their return to the colony on August 22nd, 1884. The King was much annoyed at not being received by the Queen personally, objecting to seeing only her shadow, as he called Lord Derby. Throughout his later career Tawhiao's attitude towards the New Zealand Government was one of passive protest to their land policy. In 1892 Mr. Cadman, the Native Minister in the Ballance Government, induced him to abandon even this and accept a pension of £225 per annum.