waitangi and kenya

15Jan11

[the speaker] believed that a proposal had been made that the native reserves should be very greatly diminished. It was said that they should not keep natives in the reserves; that if they were allowed to remain in reserves they would not come out and work. He strongly protested against that argument. The natives of British East Africa were there long before we went there, and if the land belonged to anybody it was to the natives of that country. We had taken the country for good or evil, and we had done a good deal for the natives in the way of giving them security, law and order, and the opportunity to earn wages if they wished. We had given them many of the advantages of civilisation and also some of its disadvantages. But, as we had taken nine-tenths of their land from them, it was only fair that they in the House of Commons who had any say in the matter should preserve to these the land which yet remained to them. They knew what had happened when Crown Colony government ceased and self-government was given in certain Colonies. They knew that the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand guaranteed the lands forever to the Maoris and their children, yet the Maoris did not now own a quarter of the land which they used to do. The Waitangi Treaty had been absolutely torn up. He asked the hon. Gentleman to look very closely into any proposals that were made for a change in the land laws in British East Africa.

Wilfrid William Ashley in the House of Commons. He was a conservative MP, who had some close connections with Kenyan settlers (his daughter would marry the son of Lord Delamere, the settler leader).

Hat tip to Aaron B, who points us to this debate from 1908 on land tenure. Watch how it unfolds between Ashley and Cathcart Wason, mythbusting the plight of the Maori between them.



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