Letter from W.B. White
to Donald McLean Esq.
dated 3rd. June 1857.
3rd. June 1857.
My dear McLean,
Kemp has just started for home. We returned from the North last Saturday, and have been very successful in the preparatory steps to extinguish the Native Title over a very large track of country. We had a very arduous time of it, - the season being late for this excursion. We were three weeks from Mongonui, and have procured the whole country from about 7 or 8 miles North of Ahipara, to about the same distance from Parangahau. One Run (a large one) being made at "Ohora" besides a smaller Block near this, "Otingi", about 2,000 acres; with a promise as soon as these purchases are settled, that the Block formerly offered at Whiteface, and one at "Pukeke" between Doubtless beyond Rangamitiri (?) about which there is at present some difficulty, shall be sold to Government. We have at least 25 to 30,000 acres. We have engaged the services of the Messrs. Campbell, to survey the land to the North. I will survey Otingi. I have all but completed Oruru.
I am in need of drawing paper; and as I have no means of posting them properly, I should be glad if you would get two of the largest sheets of paper mounted in one for me; as now the Winter has set in, I must do all my plotting and I should like to make as large a map as I can, to include Oruru.
I find Yates has been active during my absence at Oruru. He has taken Puru up to Auckland to petition to remain at Oruru. You will perceive that it is to Yates' interest as a trader to keep these people. But the poor farmers must suffer. A good many sheep have been killed by the natives' dogs. Hunt's section has been stripped of wood for them for their fences. In fact, very great dissatisfaction exists at Oruru in consequence of these people remaining. Unless they go, many of the settlers will abandon their farms, as they say it is useless to attempt to farm against the difficulties imposed on them. Dogs, pigs, lands, their woods destroyed for firewood, fencing, and ---(?) stealing. I am much displeased at Busby's want of faith, in not carrying out his portion of the resolution passed at the Meeting. Waka is fully of my opinion; but Busby, though he agrees, has no decision of character. When Kemp and I were at Ahipara, we all had a long talk about it. Busby proposed to come in with brother's child,
whose property the Oruru reserve is, and cultivate a patch for her, and put the rest off. If he should fail in putting them off, he wishes to hand the section over to me, - whether as a guardian or to purchase, I do not know; but in either case, I do not see my way clearly. These Yates tribe bribe the natives, and I have no doubt that they have created a doubt in Busby's mind about whites, besides his vascilating character. I am informed one of Puru's pleas to the Governor is that they are indebted to the Europeans; and to carry this plan out, Yates went or sent to Oruru to tell the people there to come in and draw whatever they wanted, before he and Puru left for Auckland. You will perceive that my mere authority or influence stands no chance against these ways of dealing with the natives. Yates told me himself that an agreement of two or three pounds he could defeat my object with the natives. I of course have not given them anything; and the Chiefs feel rather sore that they got nothing from Government, as they travel about and lose much time in doing what they call Government work. I would suggest your writing to them about Oruru. Busby holds this Run for brother's child, as guardian. No other native has a claim upon it. It is acknowledged to be the child's property. I can therefore see no right that these people have to be there. They are no tribe,
but a mixed lot of about twenty, and have other lands to go to. They must go, or the Europeans will have to leave the place; for this instance is beyond description. Besides it was this bad conduct and these depradations on the Europeans which called forth the order. I feel positive they would have gone long since, but for the influence brought to bear on them. I am informed, - but I will enquire more fully into it, - that Lope (?) Yates' man, has been repeatedly heard to tell them, from Yates, not to go, and much besides. John Weathall, and I believe his brother, heard him do this, but I will find out particulars. As I said before, it is the interest of such traders as Yates, to keep the natives about them, but the farmers suffer all the loss. Besides it makes the trader to depreciate the value of produce, and putting the natives against the Europeans. The farmer being in debt, and under the power of the trader, is obliged to take just what is given him. The European without the means to keep his produce, or send it to a better market, is obliged to take the price fixed by the trader for native produce. It is a regular mean trick. Would it do, do you think, if the Governor was, himself, to write to Busby or Waka, to take possession of this reserve for brother's child; and not allow a robber to collect on it, to the annoyance of the settlers?
With such a letter I feel satisfied Busby would act; but he seems afraid to stir, being doubtful.
Will you send down the terms on which surveys are undertaken for the Government as the completed one to be quoted at their usual terms. I would strongly urge that you procure an authority for me to get all the Government lands surveyed. Unless it is done soon, the Government will come off very badly, for the boundaries are contracted a little, every opportunity.
I am very anxious to go to Auckland, but hardly like to spare the time. These Yates' with Brodie's assistance, are promulgating most infamous reports respecting me. The latter has written to the Government a most scurrilous letter, which I am much in hopes to be permitted to trounce him for. However, I have written for a strict investigation into my conduct, and examination of my books. Write to me fully, and as soon as you can; and believe me,
my dear McLean,
yours very sincerely
Donald McLean Esq.