18th. March 1872
My dear Sir,
Enclosed are several native communications, which I have respectively numbered 1,2,3,4. I forward them thus in a private note, as I do not wish the contents to become known, unless yourself desire to do so.
No. 1 enclosure is from Ngatiraukawa; who held a large meeting at Tirau, about 25 miles from Cambridge, on the subject of the roads from Taupo. You will perceive that they are all, in that quarter, friendly. A spirit of opposition, however, manifested itself shortly after; resulting in the meeting, of which No. 2 advises, and the subsequent deputation, consisting of Rewi and Te Ngakau, to Capt. Mair's party at Te Niho-o-te Kiore. This enclosure was written by Te Waata, one of Thompson's "Kai whakahaere ritenga."
No 3, is, as you will perceive, " a love epistle", and should not be sent to you, but for an expression contained therein;which was the occasion of its being brought to me. That expression I have underlined, and reads - "Kei Akuhata te marama tuturu
a te Ngakau - alias Wiremu Hunia te Tuatararana ko Manuhiri". This epistle was given by the writer of it, a brother of Te Ngakau - to be sent, by a party, to Te Houra. He, Pouaru no Hoani, son of Te Tuatara, and Maori-like it was opened, and when those ominous words were seen, it was brought to me.
Enclosure No. 4 was brought to me by the bearer, opened as it is now. The contents are merely a reiteration of their settled purpose to - "whakekahore nga mahinga a te pakeha"; and not only to do so, but from all I can gather, I feel but too confident that that side is determined to - "pei nga pakeha i Waikato" and that August is the month indicated and determined upon for that trial of strength; which they say will be an easy vistory for them, as Divine influence will enable 100 of them to rout a thousand of us. Their tohungas are all preaching in that direction, and from Te Whiti, the prophet of the West Coast, to the minor tohungas inland, is heard only that prophecy, which the majority of the Kingites seem to credit; although I can scarcely think these views are held by Manuhiri, Rewi, or Hunia; although they foster them in "the rabble". While Hauhauism was rampant in Tauranga, Hunia te Ngakau was the great upholder of "Te Poti" in public; while he scorned it
in his own mind, and so it may be in the present case.
As you will see in Te Waata's letter. (and as you are otherwise fully aware), Rewi and that party desire to see His Excellency, and to ask certain things to be done - among other things, the giving back Waikato to them; which, if not granted, =te rau o te patu" is to be resorted to, and "te maraina tuturu", for that is Akuhata.
For many months, at all their Meetings, this apparently ambiguous "whitu maraina" was rung out. It commenced with Te Whiti in (South of) Taranaki; and has been repeated ever since in Waikato. On all points when I press them closely for an interpretation of this "Whitu maraina" the invariable answer is that the King party will then commence to recover their lost possessions in Waikato. When I argue against the possibility of doing so - to Kingites only - they reply that Te Kooti, with all the power exerted against him, cannot be taken, and that he must be divinely sustained; and that, if they rise against us, we have not the thousands of English soldiers to meet them, with that we once had." They simply hold their peace when I answer that Te Kooti, who was once powerful, is now reduced to a few miserable men and women, imperfectly armed, and nearly starved with
hunger and cold, and dare not remain long in one place, even in the supposed Uriwera; that if he were numerously attended. we could get at him; but as it is, he is like a hunted rat, a single one that cannot be seen; that Te Kooti cannot surely be more divinely inspired on that account, a couple of bush-rangers in New South Wales - Paihakena - who for say, 5 years, commit all sorts of depradations with the greatest audacity - and defy the law although hunted by numerous bands of constabulary, assisted by black trackers, that are equal to dogs in tracking; and in a country and bush much more accessible than New Zealand. I point out again, the end of the various prophets that have arisen, Te Ua, Himeona, Panapa, Hakaraia, and Kereopa; and ask them to mark the probable end of the new ones. I point out to them that at the commencement of the Taranaki War, where they were going to annihilate the whites - "tapahi korau", as Paora of Ngatiraukawas said - that we were then in number only 65,000, and that now, with all the wasting wars, in number 265=000, while they, who were then numerous, have decreased to a most alarming extent. I ask them not to lean on the broken reed they have already done, of supernatural aid; that their former prophets have deceived them, and are now no more; that God does not
work miracles as once He did, but by "means", and those means are "strong battalions" which we possess, and not they; and on the other hand, that it is monstrous to suppose that God will assist those who murder His minister, as they have done Volkner and Whitely; and that He will leave those who, as a Nation, honour and serve Him.
This "Whitu maraina", it appears, will date from January, and counting from it, inclusive, Akuhata will be the "Marama tuturu". No one knows better than Te Matenga Matekino, the intentions of that fire-brand brother of his, who is like a second Demostheaus to his brethren; and who, by the way, is equally as pusillamimous. Te Houra, to whom Matekino writes, is down near Waikato heads; and he seems anxious she should return before the month indicated in his letter.
No one regrets more than myself, the reasons that lead me to believe we may have war, as few would personally suffer more than I should; but although no alarmist, and hitherto quite opposed to alarmist doctrines, I cannot now close my eyes to the fact that there is at least, impending danger. I trust the result will prove me in error. No one will more rejoice than I shall, notwithstanding the
(even) probability of such a result, I consider it my duty to write to you in this strain.
I could very much wish to see 400 Constabulary in Waikato by the end of July, and the frontier companies of Militia armed with Sniders. With regard to the so arming those companies - the men would feel confidence in their weapon; which, too, means confidence in themselves. The rifles they now have are old and worn, and the men so dissatisfied with them they will not take the trouble to keep them in order; and if they should be required, they cannot be readily loaded - or loaded at all- when lying down skirmishing. If these arrangements were made, and the road through the Moana-tua-tua swamp completed from Rangiaohia to Cambridge, we need fear no surprise of natives.
I do not know what Major Mair's views are on this question. The idea obtains, both in Waikato and Auckland, that Native matters never looked so well. To the outward eye, such is the case; and so long as the Government are made aware of an opposite character - I, for one, would not disabuse the public mind. It is not well to raise alarms, as the alarm itself might tend to hasten the crisis.
Apologising for having written so lengthy a letter on this subject -
very truly yours
P.S. The changing of Tawhiao's name to "Te A", may, and seems to be significant. "Te A" pakeha i Waikato, where Tamati Ngaporo will be no longer a "Manuhiri" in a strange land, and when the Nkakau of Hunia will no longer yearn after the possessions of "Kanana".
This "Whitu marama" is explained by some to mean that if in August there be no war declared and waged, that there will be afterwards a permanent peace; but again the peace of that month may depend upon a contingency which cannot be realised, and so the alternative of war be forced.
The Hon. Donald McLean
N.B. The letters referred to in the foregoing letter, are in an envelope with the original of this letter. They are written in the Maori language.