Object #1002794 from MS-Papers-0032-0002

6 pages written 3 Feb 1845 by John Skevington in Waimate District to Sir Donald McLean in New Plymouth District

From: Protector of Aborigines - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0002 (34 digitised items). Includes correspondence with George Clarke, Chief Protector of Aborigines and others relating to Maori affairs in the Taranaki and Wanganui area. Includes list of the principal chiefs of the Puketapu tribe (1845), many of whom had settled at the unoccupied Ngati Toa pa at Te Uruhi on the Kapiti Coast; a report by Rev. Skevington on a dispute between Taupo and Wanganui Maori; description of the boundaries of the small block including the town and suburbs of New Plymouth, 22 Nov 1844 and lists of expenses incurred by McLean carry out his official duties

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

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English (ATL)

Waimate
Feb. 3rd. 1845


Dear Sir,

I proceed, in compliance with your request, to give you a brief account of the origin of the quarrel between the tribes of the Taupo, and those of Ngatiruanui and Bgarauru - of the defeat sustained by the Taupos on a former occasion; and of the measures taken to induce them to return in peace, previous to your arrival at Wanganui on the 13th. ult.

Sometime near the close of the year 1840, the people of Taupo came down for the first time. Previous to that period, the natives of this neighbourhood had had very little intercourse with those of Taupo, and that had been of a perfectly amieable character. With any reasons for their hostile movement at that time, the people here are quite unacquainted, and the only one assigned by the Taupos is, - that having been defeated by another tribe, they came to avenge themselves, by killing some of this people, whom they suppose to have been so much reduced by the Waikato wars, as to be unable to resist them, This, you are aware, is quite in accordance with their heathen customs.

On the occasion referred to, they came in the night, without any previous notice, and entered a small Pa up the Waitotara river, a few miles from Ihupuku, in which a small party belonging to the Ngarauru tribe resided. A part of the inhabitants were taken prisoners, a few were killed, and some escaped to Ihupuku. Shortly after the Taupos moved down the

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English (ATL)

river, and built themselves a Pa at Patoka, a hill within one fourth of a mile from Ihupuku. In the neantime messengers were despatched from the latter place to Waimate and Taranaki, to request the assistance of their allies. That assistance was very promptly rendered, and in a few days they had assembled at Ihupuku.

On their arrival they sent three individuals as messengers of peace to their foes, expressing their unwillingness to fight, and their hope that the hostile party would return in peace.

These messengers were most treacherously taken prisoners; and one of them, who was dressed in European clothing, was stripped of every thing. The same night, the people collected materials, and before the morning, had erected a Pa and an encampment, on a plain at the foot of the hill on which the Taupo Pa stood.

On that or the following day the Waimate people went armed to cover a party who were going for food.

Before they reached the plantations they were followed by the Taupo people, who commenced a most unprovoked attack upon them, and killed one man. A conflict then ensued, in which the Taupos were driven back to their Pa. In the pursuit, the Waimate people were joined by their friends, and they sat down before the Pa. Many of them, however, supposing the matter was ended for the present, returned to their ancampment. A few individuals went and shook hands with some of the Taupos, but others were engaged in taking slaves.

The Taupos, perceiving that they were thus losing their men, offered rasistance; and the conflict recommenced, - when nearly one hundred of them fell, including the principal man of the party, - Tauteka. Three individuals were then taken slaves, were killed a day or two afterwards. Many were taken slaves, and a comparatively small

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English (ATL)

at Wanganui.

I reached Wanganui on the 6th. ult; and on the 7th., had an interview with Te Heu Heu. In the commeneement of the conversation, he was rather violent, but moderated considerably towards the close; and proposed that a piece of land should be given to them as satisfaction for their dead. The Rev. Rich. Taylor had visited them several times previous to my arrival, and had been most grossly insulted by him. On consultation with that gentleman, we thought it best to carry Te Heu Heu's proposal to the people at Ihupuku, although we saw considerable objections to it; and were not very sanguine in our hopes that they would assent to it; but thought it was something to induce them to commence negotiating. The Taupo party had deeided to leave for Ihupuku on the 8th., but we induced them to remain until our return. The objections we had anticipated were made to the arrangement they proposed, and we returned to state them. The delay of that day, however, defeated their designs, for they learnt from the Maori who accompanied us, that some of the allies of the Ihupuku people were expected on the day we returned; and thus they lost all hope of being able to take the place by surprise. Turoa was very much disappointed, and expressed his displeasure in no measured terms. But Te Heu Heu and the Waikato Chiefs appeared willing to return in peace. We hoped that the matter would end there, but Mr. Taylor's natives stated that they had heard that the Taupo party were going away in the night, or early the following morning. We at once decided that I should proceed to Ihupuku early in the morning of the 10th., to convey that information, and to remain with the people over Sunday the 12th.

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English (ATL)


We heard, however, no more of this movement. On the morning of the 11th. the people assembled at Ihupuku to hear from me a report of our interview with the hostile party; and on hearing that Te Heu Heu had expressed his wish to make peace, requested me to tell him that they rejoiced to hear that he had entertained a wish so much in accordance with their own; and that if he would pay them a visit, he would be most kindly received.

Soon after the above Meeting, you arrived; and with all subsequent measures you are well acquainted.

I ought to have observed that Mr. Justice Chapman arrived here on the first of January; and that I was favoured with his company to Wanganui. His Honor took great interest in everything connected with the natives. he used all his influence, and submitted to considerable inconvenience to assist us in bringing the above affair to a satisfactory termination.

Any information in my possession I shall be most happy to forward,


Yours truly (Signed)
John Skevington.

To:-
D. Mac Lean Esq. New Plymouth.

English (ATL)

Copy (Revd. R. Skevington's account of the quarrel betwixt the Taupo and Ngatiruanuis, dated 3rd. Feb. 1845. Embodied in Report to Chief Protector.)
Waimate
Feb. 3rd. 1845


Dear Sir,

I proceed, in compliance with your request, to give you a brief account of the origin of the quarrel between the tribes of the Taupo, and those of Ngatiruanui and Bgarauru - of the defeat sustained by the Taupos on a former occasion; and of the measures taken to induce them to return in peace, previous to your arrival at Wanganui on the 13th. ult.

Sometime near the close of the year 1840, the people of Taupo came down for the first time. Previous to that period, the natives of this neighbourhood had had very little intercourse with those of Taupo, and that had been of a perfectly amieable character. With any reasons for their hostile movement at that time, the people here are quite unacquainted, and the only one assigned by the Taupos is, - that having been defeated by another tribe, they came to avenge themselves, by killing some of this people, whom they suppose to have been so much reduced by the Waikato wars, as to be unable to resist them, This, you are aware, is quite in accordance with their heathen customs.

On the occasion referred to, they came in the night, without any previous notice, and entered a small Pa up the Waitotara river, a few miles from Ihupuku, in which a small party belonging to the Ngarauru tribe resided. A part of the inhabitants were taken prisoners, a few were killed, and some escaped to Ihupuku. Shortly after the Taupos moved down the river, and built themselves a Pa at Patoka, a hill within one fourth of a mile from Ihupuku. In the neantime messengers were despatched from the latter place to Waimate and Taranaki, to request the assistance of their allies. That assistance was very promptly rendered, and in a few days they had assembled at Ihupuku.

On their arrival they sent three individuals as messengers of peace to their foes, expressing their unwillingness to fight, and their hope that the hostile party would return in peace.

These messengers were most treacherously taken prisoners; and one of them, who was dressed in European clothing, was stripped of every thing. The same night, the people collected materials, and before the morning, had erected a Pa and an encampment, on a plain at the foot of the hill on which the Taupo Pa stood.

On that or the following day the Waimate people went armed to cover a party who were going for food.

Before they reached the plantations they were followed by the Taupo people, who commenced a most unprovoked attack upon them, and killed one man. A conflict then ensued, in which the Taupos were driven back to their Pa. In the pursuit, the Waimate people were joined by their friends, and they sat down before the Pa. Many of them, however, supposing the matter was ended for the present, returned to their ancampment. A few individuals went and shook hands with some of the Taupos, but others were engaged in taking slaves.

The Taupos, perceiving that they were thus losing their men, offered rasistance; and the conflict recommenced, - when nearly one hundred of them fell, including the principal man of the party, - Tauteka. Three individuals were then taken slaves, were killed a day or two afterwards. Many were taken slaves, and a comparatively small party escaped to earry the intelligence of their defeat to Taupo.

This I believe to be a correct statement of the facts as they occurred; but I think it but just to this people to observe, - 1st, that the attack upon them was entirely unprovoked, and most uncalled for; 2nd. - that they had not then, as a body, embraced Christianity; that they had only had one visit from a Missionary, and had enjoyed the imperfect instructions afforded by a native teacher but for a few months; and 3rd, - that they much deplore the excesses into which they are betrayed by the survival of the old feelings on that occasion.

A few months after, te Heu Heu, who was not present on the former occasion, came with a party to seek satisfaction. The people of Ihupuku, being taken by surprise, and not being prepared to defend themselves, foll back to Tihoi, leaving behind them an old man and woman, who were too feeble to travel. They killed these, burned the Pa, and then returned.

Having been appointed to commence a Mission among the inhabitants of this neighbourhood, I arrived here for that purpose in May 1842. From that time to the present, the people here have been kept in a state of almost continual agitation by repeated reports of the approach of the Taupo tribes, accompanied by others who were reported to have joined them.

About the first of the last month, I was about to visit Ihupuku and Wanganui, in the regular discharge of my official duties, when reports again reached us, stating that Te Heu Heu and his party had already arrived at Wanganui. To these reports I paid very little attention, as I had so often been deceived, - until my arrival at Ihupuku, when I found there could be no doubt of their being at Wanganui.

I reached Wanganui on the 6th. ult; and on the 7th., had an interview with Te Heu Heu. In the commeneement of the conversation, he was rather violent, but moderated considerably towards the close; and proposed that a piece of land should be given to them as satisfaction for their dead. The Rev. Rich. Taylor had visited them several times previous to my arrival, and had been most grossly insulted by him. On consultation with that gentleman, we thought it best to carry Te Heu Heu's proposal to the people at Ihupuku, although we saw considerable objections to it; and were not very sanguine in our hopes that they would assent to it; but thought it was something to induce them to commence negotiating. The Taupo party had deeided to leave for Ihupuku on the 8th., but we induced them to remain until our return. The objections we had anticipated were made to the arrangement they proposed, and we returned to state them. The delay of that day, however, defeated their designs, for they learnt from the Maori who accompanied us, that some of the allies of the Ihupuku people were expected on the day we returned; and thus they lost all hope of being able to take the place by surprise. Turoa was very much disappointed, and expressed his displeasure in no measured terms. But Te Heu Heu and the Waikato Chiefs appeared willing to return in peace. We hoped that the matter would end there, but Mr. Taylor's natives stated that they had heard that the Taupo party were going away in the night, or early the following morning. We at once decided that I should proceed to Ihupuku early in the morning of the 10th., to convey that information, and to remain with the people over Sunday the 12th.

We heard, however, no more of this movement. On the morning of the 11th. the people assembled at Ihupuku to hear from me a report of our interview with the hostile party; and on hearing that Te Heu Heu had expressed his wish to make peace, requested me to tell him that they rejoiced to hear that he had entertained a wish so much in accordance with their own; and that if he would pay them a visit, he would be most kindly received.

Soon after the above Meeting, you arrived; and with all subsequent measures you are well acquainted.

I ought to have observed that Mr. Justice Chapman arrived here on the first of January; and that I was favoured with his company to Wanganui. His Honor took great interest in everything connected with the natives. he used all his influence, and submitted to considerable inconvenience to assist us in bringing the above affair to a satisfactory termination.

Any information in my possession I shall be most happy to forward,


Yours truly (Signed)
John Skevington.

To:-
D. Mac Lean Esq. New Plymouth.

Part of:
Protector of Aborigines - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0002 (34 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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