May 18th. 1850.
In accordance with your direction, I beg to report the recent disputs between Mr. William Bayly, and Parata and other Puketapu natives.
Mr. Bayly and the natives signed a Contract in English, the latter engaging to clear 20 acres of fern at 10jn per acre.
The natives say W. Bayly (which is denied by him) afterwards shewed them the land pegged out. After clearing it, it was discovered, on measurement, to contain only 12 instead of 20 acres.
I recommended a compromise, but it was rejected by the natives, who threatened to seize Mr. Bayly's cart and bullocks for the £5. I then endeavoured to get the case in the Resident Magistrate's Court, but that, and the interference of native assessors was rejected by Parata, who said he would be his own judge. Subsequently I persuaded them to complete the heaping and burning of the 12 acres cleared; after which I tendered them £3.1.3 from Mr. Bayly, being at the rate
of 10/- per acre. The money was refused, and the threat of robbery repeated. I told Parata, if he plundered, trouble would follow. "Perhaps," said he. "I shall be taken to prison; but no, you have no power. The gaol is not strong enough to hold me. Honi Heke was not imprisoned, neither will I be."
I advised a reference to Captain King, which was agreed to, on condition that his thoughts would be with them. But if he did not give them the payment they asked, they would take the cart and bullocks.
To avoid the risk to the settlement, of an adverse decision, apprehended by Rawiri, an Assessor, and other natives, two pounds to make up the five pounds, the sum demanded on the 1st. instalment of the Contract, I received from you for the natives, on condition only of their abandoning the second part of the Contract.
I have the honour to be Sir Your most obedient servant
H. Halse Sergt.
Captain King R.M.
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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