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New Zealand’s First Justice of the Peace Appointed

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

200 Years Ago Today

“His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to appoint Mr THOMAS KENDAL (Missionary) to be one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace in the Bay of Islands, in New Zealand, and throughout the Islands of New Zealand, and those immediately contiguous thereto. Mr. Kendal is therefore to be respected and obeyed as such throughout the said Islands and Places”.
By Command of His Excellency, The Governor.  J. T Campbell, Secretary
- The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser,  Saturday November 12, 1814, the proclamation appointing  Thomas Kendal (sic) as New Zealand’s first Justice of the Peace.

In the same newspaper the Governor also invested three Maori with authority to protect natives’ rights. Governor Macquarie wanted to prevent repetition of “injudicious and unwarrantable treatment” of New Zealanders and had provided for severe punishment for offenders.  Apart from the lawlessness, he said that these actions might prejudice and threaten productive trade between New Zealand New South Wales.

NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie: Appointed Thomas Kendall as N.Z.'s first J.P.

“Dewaterra” “Shungie” and “Korra Korra” quoted in the proclamation (Maori names Ruatara, Hongi and Korokoro) were thus especially empowered to support Kendall carry out the Governor’s orders that British or Colonial ships were not allowed to discharge and land sailors in New Zealand. The three helpers were also empowered to ensure no Maori were taken on as crew by visiting ships without Kendall’s prior permission and that of local Rangatira. 

The three Maori were in Sydney having accompanied Kendall back to Sydney after his earlier survey of the Bay of Islands and now they, along with Kendall, missionaries, tradespeople and settlers were preparing to depart for New Zealand on the brig “Active”. One by one the locals advertised their pending departure in the press, as required by law, so any outstanding debts could be settled.

Mission leader, Reverend Samuel Marsden, was also ready to sail: Governor Macquarie had granted him 4 months’ leave from his post as Principal Chaplain of New South Wales.

As of today’s date in 1814 the stage was set for “Active” to sail for Bay of Islands, its passengers intent on establishing the first Christian Mission and to commence pakeha settlement in New Zealand. Departure was scheduled for mid-November.

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