Object #1001037 from MS-Papers-0032-0124

7 pages written 6 Jul 1848 by Sir Donald McLean in Wanganui to Edward John Eyre

From: Papers relating to provincial affairs - Taranaki. Inspector of police, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0124 (59 digitised items). Includes a letter in Maori giving assurances that they will do whatever is expected of them from the police

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)

Wanganui,
July 6, 1848.


My dear Sir,

I was very much gratified during my illness to receive Your Excellencys kind letter of the 12th Ult., hitherto I have been unable from the severity of rheumatic pains to write a reply being for some weeks deprived of the use of my hands. I am now however recruiting very fast and from the kind treatment and attention which I am receiving from my Wanganui friends I hope soon to regain my usual strength and pursue my journey to Taranaki.

Wm. King and party left here tuesday last for Waitotara but as they will be some time on the coast I expect to be at New Plymouth long before them. Wm. King expresses himself very much satisfied with Your Excellencys last letter and the Union Jack.

By late accounts from Taranaki the settlement was quite peaceable and the settlers were gladly availing themselves of sections of land open for selection in a beautiful block of 12000 acres contiguous to the Companys "block, but which Mr.Bell their agent pretended would not be worth the Companys acceptance although it turns out in the estimation of the actual settlers to be the finest land in the district and by letters from the most respectable and influential of them I find they are highly pleased the Govt. concluded such a desirable purchase which the Companys agent might strive in vain to effect.

The Governor Grey schooner sails for Wellington tomorrow and by her I send for the approval of Your Excellency Messrs.Taylor and Watts accounts of expenditure during the settlement of the land question, including some food to Wm.King who had several sick natives in his party that from the scantiness and quality of the food supplied them at Wanganui really required some nourishing diet for their sustenance, the expence for food to the Wanganui and other natives was indispensable as I had several hundred collected from distant places who were a great tax on the Putiki natives whose potatoes were almost exhausted by them.

I have translated the Wanganui deed which I shall have written on parchmt. for Your Excellency I am also preparing a copy and translation for Mr.Taylor (who kindly afforded me every assistance) to leave with him for the use of the Natives, in the course of next week I hope to finish my Wanganui duties, and shall forward a special policeman direct to Wellington with the report deed and all other papers including native letters for Your Excellency which I have to translate; my reason for previously sending the accounts is in consequence of Mr.Watts who I have dealt with being desirous as he is himself going to Wellington to present them while there for payment. there are three young Taranaki chiefs who accompanied me from there to assist in the Waitara negotiations and who have remained with me and assisted in the survey etc. at Wanganui and I take the liberty of asking Your Excellency whether I am to charge their time while here to the southern or Northern Province both here and at Waikanae they have been most attentive and afforded very essential services.

The Natives of Wanganui strictly observe the arrangement they have entered into respecting their lands and although I have had considerable difficulty in reconciling their various jealousies and inducing them to meet together and be unanimous in parting with their lands as well as in observing those boundaries of which they had previously an indefinite idea particularly as regards that of Kai Iwi, it affords me now much pleasure to be enabled to state that every endeavour was used towards ensuring a satisfactory termination of a question involving the rights and claims of so many different and differently disposed tribes.

Yesterday or rather on tuesday last I received through Hamarama who acted for Mamaku a message from the latter chief who seems to be satisfied with his share of compensation and wishes Hamarama to take it up the river that it may be formally presented to him, or that he may in accordance with an existing custom see it, and then he intends returning it to Hamarama who he considers best entitled to it as through him he claimed the limited portion of land he had in this district. Mamaku begged that I should send him a red blanket and some tob. by Hamarama which request being made in a friendly manner and having reference to the land question I deemed it prudent to comply with, Hamarama had no letter from Mamaku but he repeated his message privately as well as in the presence of several natives without the slightest hesitation, and although I regard both Mamaku and Hamarama as insincere in their general professions they have no object in being so in this instance.

Repeated applications are made to me by the Ngatiapas of Wangaehu and Rangitiki respecting the sale of their land a portion of which adjoins the Wanganui block on to the Wangaehu river which could be settled for in a few days, and this land of itself would be a most valuable acquisition to this settlement as an outlet for cattle or indeed for any other purpose to which land can be converted, this block contains several thousand acres and could be reasonably obtained being the property of one tribe, the land at Rangitiki is in dispute being claimed by Te Rangihaeata so as to prevent Europeans from living there and being an extensive fertile unoccupied district except by the weak remnant of the Ngatiapa tribe Rangihaeata relies with confidence on having hordes of Natives from different parts of the country to join him in taking possession of that land, and it is probable if something is not done towards purchasing this district even if it should lay unproductive or unoccupied for a few years, that Rangihaeata will successfully effect his object of getting many to join him there as I find there is a disposition on the part of some of the Taupo natives to live on that part of the coast. I had a letter today from Te Hakeke the Ngatiapa chief at Rangitiki stating that Rangihaeata burnt down the house of Br.Best who had a station there having first removed all the goods with which he did not interfere his natives were also taking off a horse which he prevented - the Rangitiki chief hopes the land will be purchased to prevent more natives from coming there or to weaken their intention of doing so which a sale to the Gov. would certainly do - to the repeated applications made I have replied that I cannot do anything for them without Your Excellencys instructions and that in all probability Your Excellency will inform me what is to be done in the matter so that I can communicate with them on the subject.

Respecting the hospital as the vessel sails immediately I have only time to say that Messrs. Taylor and Watt are the only people in that line who could be relied on for the fulfilment to supply materials, timber and bricks of a good description can be supplied here.


I remain, My dear Sir, Yours respectfully,
Donald McLean.

P. S. I find all the accounts will not be ready to send by this opportunity the principal of them however are now sent.

Dond. McLean.

Part of:
Papers relating to provincial affairs - Taranaki. Inspector of police, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0124 (59 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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