May 22nd. 1869.
My dear Sir,
You of course will have heard all about the Expedition into the Urewera Country. I did not get any further than Ahikereru with my Contingent; but I heard the whole story from Mair, and several of the other Officers that were on the Expedition.
On the arrival of the Force at Ruatahuna, Colonel Whitmore wanted to go on to Waikare Moana; but the Natives kicked, and the Colonel and one of the Chiefs, Henare Te Pukuatua, had a regular quarrel, which ended in Henare and his party parting from the Main Column, and going back another way. This, of course, broke up the Expedition, and the whole returned.
Part of the Force is stationed at Whakatane; part are to be stationed at Runanga, and some here.
I marched back my Force here three days ago, and then went myself to Waihi and Tokanu, to learn the state of affairs up there. I rode here from Waihi yesterday.
Te Heu Heu had returned from Tokangamutu, where he had seen Matuta. He (Te Heu Heu) had nothing of importance; busy about the King natives, that is no more than you will know already; that the King has (or says that he has) no sympathy for Titokowaru, Te Kooti, or any of the rebellious tribes.
Te Heu Heu tells me that there is to be a great Meeting of Friendlies, Kingites, and Hau Haus in September next. The Meeting is to be held at Te Awapoupou, about 10 or 12 miles from Waihi. The King says that he is going to attend the Meeting. All Rangatira pakehas are to be invited to attend.
The object of this Meeting is to settle a definite peace.
Te Heu Heu is coming to Napier in a week or so, to pack up food for his huihui.
Hare Tauteka and Pauriri, with their people, returned to Tokanu the day before yesterday, from a visit to Whanganui. They report all quiet on the road.
I stayed at the Hau Hau kainga of Tauranga, on my way to Waihi, and was civily treated, although they were evidently very much cut up about the slaughter of their friends at Ahikereru and Ruatahuna. I find that they have built a Pah near their kainga, on the shores of the lake. This has evidently
been done in expectation of a visit from Te Kooti.
I told them to remain quiet, and not interfere, either by word or deed, with anything done by the Government and Friendlies; and they possibly would not be molested. This they have promised.
Rewi's wife is now here. She has just come from Tokanganutu, being sent by Rewi on a visit to the people of Taupo, to whom she is related. She has no news, (or perhaps does not choose to give any). What she says corroborates what Te Heu Heu tells me.
I have very little news here that will interest you; but I write on the principle that not hearing, you might be led to believe all sorts of reports.
Every one can see that the Native Department. as it now is, is in a great mess. I hope soon to see you at the head of it, when one may expect better management.
There is no doubt that the Defence and Native Department ought to be one; and when you are at the head of these Departments, I, and everyone who has anything to do with them, will be immensely relieved. I should have left Taupo before this, but I have been waiting in this hope.
Believe me to be
- St. George.