November 14th. 1868.
My dear Sir,
Thank you for your letter of the 12th. inst. which I received last night. The arrival of the ''Ahuriri'' was, as you can understand, a great relief to us all, as it inspired so much more confidence into our small force at this place. You will, of course, hear from the proper authorities, all about the way in which the new arrivals are disposed of.
I suppose we may look for the return of the ''Ahuriri'' this evening; or, at the latest, to-morrow morning.
Kooti is said now to be at Capt. Westrup's, which he has made his head-quarters for a short time. He means to go to Oweta; and then, according to reports, to return to his mountain home. They say that he has taken his women and children a stage on their return journey already. These are the reports; but it is impossible to say how much reliance is to be placed on them. Meanwhile it is pretty certain that most of Tamihana's people have gone over to him. Some of Paratene's are here, and the rest with the better-disposed of Tamihana's
following, are gone to the Muriwai. Old Paratene himself, however, is still, according to all accounts, at Oweta; and I suppose he must have a few of his people with him. But we are not very clearly informed about these matters. He seems to have said that he is not afraid of Kooti; and whether it is a point of honour with him not to run away from Oweta, now that Kooti is about to go there, or what, I cannot say. I do not suppose that he is at all wavering in his loyalty, or that he has the least sympathy with the Hau Haus. He directed his people to bring away the arms which they had got there.
It is to be hoped that this gang of blood-thirsty vagabonds will get punished this time but it would be, of course, unwise to run the risk of another disaster. I am glad to say that I have not seen any disposition yet, in either Pakeha or Maori, to act rashly in that way. Between ourselves, I do not think our Pakeha force here would cut much of a figure in the field. We want men, who, having had some military training, can act together; and if we cannot have them, perhaps the next best thing may be to give more confidence to our Maori force, by the presence of a considerable - if it be not an efficient - English force. We cannot tell whether Kooti will stay here
for any length of time. He has talked several times of going back, and he may be as good as his word.
Is it not worth while to consider the possibility of attacking Puketapu, before he gets back again? If that place could be taken, and he be met on his return, by an opposing force, while apprehensive of pursuit from this side, it might, perhaps have the effect of damping the ardour of his followers; and so lead, by God's blessing, to their getting punished as they deserve.
While I am writing this, Harris', R. Read's, Greene's, and Dunlop's houses have been set on fire, and will soon be reduced to ashes.
Rihara Rerewhata has escaped from Oweta, and brings word that Kooti arrived there this morning, and threatened to shoot all whom he found there, unless they would agree to join him.
The ''Muriwai'' and ''D. McLean'' were sent over to Whero Whero last night, to bring away any who might be willing to come. They returned about 1.30 a.m. bringing no one; but they learnt from the people who came off, that Renata Whakaari was killed by the Hau £aus yesterday; and that there were seven others, viz:-
Paratene, Wiremu Kiriahi, Iraia Riki, Waaka Puakanga, Kemara Manutahi, Ihinaera Hokopu, and Pera Matawhaiti, the Native Teacher, who had been separated from the rest of the people, and kept under strict guard. It is supposed that these are all intended to be put to death. It is not unlikely that they are dead before this.
It is to be hoped that the Government will not be content with taking half-measures, for the suppression of these fanatical wolves. If they do not get punished, we shall have tragedies of the same ghastly description enacted all over the country; and one district after another abandoned by the Pakeha.
The ''Ahuriri'' has just arrived from Waiapu, but without any men. What the reason is, I have not yet heard. It may be that they do not like to send away all their best men. Would it not be possible to make use of the Regulars, merely for the purpose of their moral support? For instance, say, to station them at Clyde, so as to set all available force at that place free to move to any port where their services may be required? If we do get any more Ngatiporou, neither men nor leaders will probably be as good as those who are now at Wairoa. Another important consideration, is the moral effect of a body of White
Men, upon our Native Allies. I do not imagine that they will work nearly so well by themselves.
You will, I know, excuse the liberty I have taken, in making the above suggestions. We are, beyond all doubt, in a very great strait just now; and I have given you the thoughts which have occurred to me, under the feeling that every one is bound to contribute what he can towards the first appreciation of the present position of affairs, on the part of those who are in authority.
I am much obliged to you for the permission to travel in the Government vessels.
Yours very truly
D. McLean Esq.