August 25th. 1849.
By the Overland Mail, which leaves for Auckland on Monday next, I take the liberty of addressing Your Excellency with reference to my recent land negotiations at the South, and the cause of my return to this settlement on the 17th. inst.
Having furnished your Excellency, through the Colonial Secretary, with the official reports of my proceedings up to the 23rd. of May last, I have now to add that I have been engaged since that date -
1st. In visiting the interior tribes of the Wanganui, at a large meeting held at Manganuioteao, which I was solicited to attend, in company with the Rev. Mr. Taylor, by some of the principal Chiefs on the river, who were apprehensive that the inland boundaries of the Rangitikei purchase interfered with their claims, and who desired my assistance and advice in adjusting various disputes among themselves; and in reconciling differences that were likely to cause an unfriendly separation between the natives
living in the vicinity of the English settlement, who wished to claim the exclusive privelege of trading with the Europeans, and those in the interior, or Tuhua district.
2nd. I was afforded an opportunity of superintending the laying out of a native village at Putiki, and facilitating the surveying of native Reserves required, preparatory to the issuing of Crown Grants for the New Zealand Company's Block at Wanganui, which I had not previously had the means of getting done, being deprived of the services of a surveyor before the land question was settled.
3rd. Accompanied by a surveyor, I visited the natives of Wangaehu, Turakina, and Rangitikei, giving them copies of plans and deeds of the purchase, staking out certain reserves, and deciding on the most eligible position for 1 or 2 reserves for the future location of friendly natives, as a protection to the settlers who might select land in the vicinity of a road to Taupo, on the North bank of the Rangitikei, which is frequented by the interior tribes when visiting Manawatu and Wellington. The selection of one of these reserves is postponed till I have more time to go some distance into the interior, where, as the settlers
make progress in establishing themselves in that direction, a more suitable spot for this purpose may be chosen.
4th. To encourage a friendly disposition towards the settlers arriving on the purchase, I visited the Ngatirangitahi village on the South bank of the Rangitikei, and was glad to find the Chiefs willing to assist the Europeans, by supplying potatoes, corn, and other produce on reasonable terms; their young men gladly offering their services for any employment in the shape of house-building or fencing, which the settlers might require, which cannot fail to produce a good effect on their less civilised neighbours, the Ngatiapa, who are disorganised and most disorderly.
5th. From Rangitikei, I proceeded to Manawatu, where I commenced preliminary investigations respecting the purchase of that district, to which the majority of the natives are as yet opposed.
One class of the Manawatu claimants, the Ngatiupokoiri, from the East Coast, are likely to abandon and dispose of their present possessions, which embrace a fine tract of country in the interior of Manawatu,
extending to the grassy Heretaunga valleys lower down towards Ahuriri and the Coast. I hear that Te Hapuku, who was on his way to a meeting at Manawatu when I left, desires to dispose of some of his country, so that in the course of a few years, if the natives are judiciously managed, and not too suddenly urged to sell land, they will, of themselves, make overtures for disposing of whatever districts they do not require. On the other hand, if they are suspicious of, or discover an anxiety to obtain their land, they will refuse to sell at any price, as at Wairarapa, and will hold it tenaciously.
While at Manawatu, I received instructions from His Excellency, the Lieut. Governor, to visit Taranaki, in consequence of some excitement among the Ngatiawa at Wellington, owing to the apprehension of Kai Karoro, who shot Parata te Whanga, about 6 years ago, for committing adultery with his (Kai Karoro's) wife. Kai Karoro, being nearly related to the Puketapu tribe, messengers were despatched from Wellington to this place, to give them intelligence of his imprisonment there. I overtook, and passed on the road, getting here in time to convey the first information, which frequently occasions the most excitement to his relatives, who do not appear to entertain a resentful
disposition; although they naturally coincide in the view taken by the Wellington natives, that as the case was entirely among themselves, of such an old date, and justifiable by their laws and customs, they would prefer its being left to their own adjudication.
I gave them the necessary explanations, pointing out that it was the earnest desire of the Government to preserve their race (the Maori) from destruction. Therefore they brought murderers, and other offenders to justice, to prevent a repetition of such crimes.
The settlers at Taranaki seem most anxious that more land should be purchased, to afford them a wider range of choice for selecting their compensation land, to about 7000 acres. I shall use every exertion to ascertain how far this can be done, and shall accordingly report the result of my enquiries for Your Excellency's information.
I am certain Your Excellency will be glad to learn that the Taranaki Hospital is very much appreciated, and greatly resorted to by sick natives, from different parts of the country. While I am writing, three have presented themselves for admission; two of them having come across from the interior of the
Whanganui River, to be attended on by their old friend Dr. Wilson, whose long experience of the natives, and knowledge of Hospital management, will render his services, by your Excellency, a permanent advantage to our settlement.
The "Cornwall" from London on the 20th, April, called here last week, on her way to Nelson, Wellington, and Otakou, leaving Miss Wright, Mr. Churton of Whanganui, and a few other passengers, at this place. Capt. Campbell of Whanganui, has also arrived, intending to remain for a few years, to avail himself of our school, to forward the education of his children.
I omitted noticing, in the preceding part of this letter to Your Excellency, that the interior tribes of Whanganui are anxiously looking forward to your Excellency's contemplated visit to Taupo. On the occasion they propose going there in a body, to discuss the merits of their claims, with Te Heu Heu; whose intention of removing his brother's bones to Tongariro, is objected to, and viewed by different tribes, as an attempt on his part, to lay claim to more of the country surrounding Tongariro than he has a legitimate right to. It strikes me, if I were permitted to be in your Excellency's train, that your
knowledge of many of the natives in that part, I might elucidate some information respecting the registering of native claims, as recommended by Lord Grey, or at least an approximate idea might be arrived at, of their positions.
I have the honour to be
Your most obedient servant