Object #1003122 from MS-Papers-0032-0227

4 pages written 23 Mar 1854 by George Sisson Cooper to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0227 (70 digitised items). 67 letters written from Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Wellington. Contains correspondence between McLean and Cooper with regard to the purchase of Maori land in Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa; the correspondence also contains information and discussions about general Maori affairs in these areas, and about personal matters. Includes two letters from Mclean to Cooper, 24 Mar & 1 May 1854

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

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English (ATL)

Wharepu Thursday Evg.

March 23rd, 1854.



My dear McLean,

On the day after you left (Tuesday) Hamarama, Aperahama, Raharuhi, te Witarauhi and a large party of old women came to offer Waiongana for sale. The land they offered is marked on a rough sketch which I enclose. From it you will see that the place called Wgahiunga at the confluence of the 2 rivers is cut off, the line being about ten chains seaward of the Devon line --- this is for Mahau; the land then runs between the two rivers as far as they go in nearly parallel courses leaving Mangoraka where it bends southward (at an old pa Pakohenui) and thence following a line nearly parallel (as far as I can ascertain) with the course of Waiongana to the parirau of the mountain. The principal names of the land through which this imaginary line passes are Pulceowaka, Whatunui and Pawiri nikau. All the landbetween Waitahi and Mangaraka as well as that inland, to the Eastward of the river, and the Puketapu claims eastward of Waiongana, are excluded from this sale. Rawiri, Tahanar Poharama, Raniera, Hone Ropiha, Hura, Waka --- in short all the principal men hereabouts, are strongly In favour of the sale. Old Rawiri is especially strenuous in the matter --- he says that all former offers of land thereabouts were moonshine and he never agreed to them, but always cautioned rne to mind, what I was doing --- but this time it is Waiongana itself which comes in, the very kouras and eels crawling out of the river, and therefore he advised me strongly to make a payment. All the rest spoke nearly in the same strain. Yesterday morning Whaitere and Ilahau came in with a strong party to oppose the offer and repeatedly stated that a fight would be the certain result of making any payment. I had a long private conference with Waiters and we discussed the matter very amicably but I found him as firm as a rock. I then examined Tahana very closely as to the rights of the affair, and found that it was really a "tangi moni", arising from their having been passed over in the division of the payment for the Hua. I thought that probably their offer might not stand for this reason and that making a payment for Waiongana might only occasion a row and I should gain nothing by it, so I agreed, on Tahana's recommendation to give them £3 for their claims. Rawiri was out of the way at this time, and when I had done with Tahana I found the opposition party starting homewards. Tahana repeated what had taken place between himself and me, and the offer was rejected by Aperahama and his party, who turned round and urged for a sum of £1000 to be paid at once for Waiongana --- in this Rawiri joined, I then called him aside and went over the whole affair carefully. He objected to the arrangement I had made with Tahana. He said that although it was a tangi kai, still it was a bona fide offer, and that nearly every sale here had arisen from some such quarrel --- that these people had an undoubted right to sell as I might see from his joining with them --- that the opposition was all sham and their bravery that of the lips and not of the hand --- that he himself would take the money to Whaitere who could not refuse it as his word was no longer tapu, he having taken money secretly, from you. I told him I was on the horns of a dilemma, if I refused the money they would go back angry and I should lose the land, whilst if I paid it, a row might ensue; to this he replied that my last fear was groundless, but that the first one was quite right. He would be answerable for a peaceful result and the land coming in if I made the payt. I told him in reply that if I agreed I could only pay £50 or £100 now, and the balance of the £1,000 which I tnought a fair price (and in this the Supt. agreed) whenever the difficulties were smoothed away. This morning they came again and repeated their demand, and after again consulting wilh all the Chiefs and finding them unanimous in their opinion (in which Hone Ropiha, who was absent yesterday, now Joined) I consented to give them £100, on condition that it was to remain in my hands until all was settled. The result of this remains to be seen: the Natives present were all greatly pleased at what I had done, and the kai tuku party, with Rawiri Tahana and Raniera at their head started off in high glee for Mangoraka, there to have it out with Whaitere and Mahau. My belief is that we shall get the land, and that without much difficulty, I don't think the opposition will proceed to extremities, further than perhaps burning some wheat and ploughing up a few acres of potatoes, but they will soon come round. I have not said a word about arrangement of details (reserves etc) thinking it better to leave all those till the raruraru is over.

I send Pirika with these letters, thinking it necessary for you to have immdeiate information of what I have done, and I hope you will sand him back at once with a letter saying what you think of it all, and giving me any advice you think necessary for the future in regard to the affair.

I hope this letter will give you a sufficient insight into the affair. I fear it is not very clear, but I feel regularly obfuscated by my long discussions with the Natives, with a touch of influenza to boot, so as it is getting late I will say good bye. Kind regards to all your companions. Tell McKellar I had not time to let his mother know about Pirika.


Faithfully yours
G. S. Cooper.

Friday morning. No news this morning. Pirika having declined to go I have with some difficulty induced the Supt. to sand Paneta --- a better arrangement at any rate, as it saves expense Paneta can report all the speeches to you, having been present throughout the discussion.

Imlay starts for Wnanganui tomorrow. I have just seen Henry McKellar and he says they have no message for his brother. Yours G. S. Cooper.

I reopen the letter to say that Paneta turns out to be too ill to go, so I have been obliged to pick up a Ngatiruanui boy, who cannot give you any information --- but it is too late to waste time now in searching for anyone else.

Part of:
Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0227 (70 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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