Before annexation, the British, the
Americans and the French were active in various trades around
New Zealand. Their whalers, traders and sealers were working around
the New Zealand coastline. Deep-sea whaling commenced during the
years 1791-2, the first arrival being the whaler, "William and
Ann". Shortly later, in 1792, the whaler "Britannia" began operating
in Dusky Sound (South Island).
From 1797 American whalers arrived, and during the 1830s the
French whaling ships turned up in significant numbers. Seals were
hunted, and their skins taken for the Chinese market. Spars were
also cut for the Chinese market and the Indian Navy. The flax
Tensions arose sometimes. The Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga tribes
allegedly killed the crew of the French whaling ship "Jean Bart".
In retaliation, the French corvette "l'Heroine", under the command
of J-B. Thomas Médée Cécille, burnt a village
and reportedly took a captive back to France.
The missionaries were also present at this time, and before 1840
there were three groups : the Anglicans, represented by the Church
Missionary Society, the Wesleyans and the Roman Catholics. The
French Bishop Jean Baptiste François Pompallier, set up the first
Roman Catholic Marist mission in Hokianga in 1838.
The Bay of Islands became the stopover for traders and whalers,
and the shantytown of Kororareka grew as a result. On route for
Dusky Sound, in the south, the whalers called in at Kororareka
for provisions, and also for women, in the numerous brothels which
had sprung up. New Zealand became a country without law and order,
left to its own devices - and vices.
In view of the degrading situation, 13 Bay of Island and Hokianga
chiefs, backed by the Church Missionary Society, requested Britain
to intervene, in 1831. At first Britain was hesitant to act, but
was prematurely pushed to a decision by the actions of "The New
Zealand Company", coupled with rumours of French plans for their
own colonisation of New Zealand.
The French navy had been exploring New Zealand, showing the flag
in support of its whaling fleet and of its nationals, of whom
James Reddy Clendon, born 1st October 1800 in England, acted
as United States Consul in New Zealand from 1838. The consul was
based in the Bay of Islands. James Clendon was a witness to the
signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and a member of the
first Legislative Council 1841 -1844.
Baron Charles Philippe Hippolyte
Adding to the general confusion, a
Baron Charles Philippe Hippolyte de Thierry (1793 - 1864) whose
family had fled France for Great Britain at the time of the French
Revolution, met with the missionary Thomas Kendall, in Cambridge
in 1820. De Thierry arranged with Kendall for the purchase of land
in New Zealand.
The deed of sale indicates that Kendall bought 40.000 acres of
land in the Hokianga area on behalf of de Thierry, for the price
of 36 axes. The land was bought from the chiefs Muriwai, Patuone
and Tamati Waka Nene. It became debatable later on as to whether
the Māori truly understood the concept of the document they were
De Thierry had plans for the systematic colonisation of New Zealand,
similar to those ideas of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. It was not until
1837, 15 years later, that de Thierry arrived in New Zealand to
claim his land. During this long lapse of time the Māori chiefs
from Hokianga had sold portions of de Thierry's land to other Europeans,
who settled the land and thus brought economic opportunities to
the local people. Māori were aware, by this time, that their
land was of more value than 36 axes.
In spite of this, on de Thierry's arrival in New Zealand the Hokianga
chiefs generously offered him a smaller portion of land, on the
understanding that he renounce his claim to the 40.000 acres in
the deed of sale.
However, before de Thierry arrived back in New Zealand, the British
Government had nominated James Busby, in 1833, to act as "Official
British Resident". When De Thierry returned to Hokianga in 1837
aboard the vessel "Nimrod", accompanied by a small group of colonists,
he found himself in a New Zealand heading for British annexation.
De Thierry subsequently wrote an autobiography, naming himself
as the principal pioneer colonist of New Zealand.
The nomination of James Busby
James Busby was named
as "Official British Resident" in May 1833.
In part, James Busby's orders were to organise the
Māori chiefs into a united body, capable of controlling the growing
instability of the situation in New Zealand concerning unregulated
land sales and settlements. The "Elizabeth" incident was also
a major factor in the appointment of James Busby.
Captain Stewart, of the merchant ship "Elizabeth",
had arranged the transport of Te
Rauparaha, chief of the Ngati Toa tribe, to the South Island
in 1830, in return for a load of flax. From the South Island,
Te Rauparaha was then able to lead surprise raids against the
Ngai Tahu tribe at Akaroa.
Stewart also assisted in transporting the Ngai Tahu
Chief Tamaiharanui to Kapiti Island, where Tamaiharanui was subsequently
tortured and killed by the Ngati Toa. (Because of this incident,
Ahu, a relative of Tamaiharanui, went to Sydney to request intervention
concerning the control of British citizens in New Zealand.)
In March 1834, Busby held a meeting at Waitangi
with northern Māori Chiefs. Busby put forward the idea of voting
on a national flag, so that ships built and registered in New
Zealand would fly the Independent Tribes flag and therefore be
recognised according to maritime law. The new flag was voted,
and was also hoisted and flown on land, at the Bay of Islands.
In October 1835 Busby called for a second meeting
when he heard rumours that Baron de Thierry had plans of setting
up an independent state at Hokianga. 34 northern Chiefs then signed
a Declaration of Independence, calling themselves the Confederation
of United Tribes. They shared Busby's concern, along with that
of the British government, that the necessity of some sort of
regulation governing contracts and disputes between European and
Māori should be set up.
In 1837 Busby sent a report to the Secretary of
State for Colonies, informing the British authorities of the greatly
increasing land purchases not only by settlers from New South
Wales, but also from French and American citizens.
However, Busby's particular
statute and the limitations imposed did not allow him much control
over the situation in general, and in 1838 the British Government
replaced Busby with a British Consul, by the name of Captain William
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