Object #1004805 from MS-Papers-0032-0004

6 pages written 14 Sep 1853 by Sir Donald McLean in Wairarapa to Sir George Grey

From: Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0004 (36 digitised items). Contains letters to and from McLean with regard to the business of purchasing of Maori land in Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and elsewhere; also contains details of various purchases and related business

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

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English (ATL)

Otaria Wairarapa

14th Sept., 1853



My dear Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving yours letter by Mr. Fitzgerald who did not arrive here owing to the freshes in the river until Saturday last and I am afraid as we have had a good deal of rain that the same cause has detained the early arrival at Wellington of the letters I sent in on the 4th and 8th inst.

I am at present engaged in the most difficult part of the Wairarapa negotiation and using every exertion to gain an opening into te Maniheres and Ngatueri's country, the latter chief with his followers has fought hard against the sale for the last two days, but I expect that this day must exhaust his opposition considerably and enable us to gain some ground.

The renting system has had such a hold on these people that it is most difficult

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English (ATL)

to convince the old men particularly, that it must be abandoned to give place to better and more permanent arrangements.

I conceive that the Government is pledged to the chief's and tribes who have already sold their land as well as in vindicating the law of the country to put an end to such a system and I am really glad that it has been already checked in this Province to the extent of Seven hundred and fifty pounds a year.

I have witnessed even during my short stay here some of the evils of this system, at Mr.Kellys I observed that the natives regarded him in his own house as a mere tenant on sufferance that could be at any moment ejected, one of his servants was struck by an insolent native having no claim to the place because he was prevented from taking all the food he wished out of the kitchen.

At Mr.Gillies' station where I am now stopping the Chief Ngatueri from a caution by Gillies to some of his natives not to break his mill, with which they were grinding, was violently attacked and knocked down by that chief and ordered to move off the premises that night with all his family goods and chattels leaving the house for his

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English (ATL)

Ngatueris occupation in fact those frequent quarrels must generate very bad feelings for which the natives themselves may eventually suffer, in the meantime with a few exceptions the settlers are obliged to put up with insults and use the most humiliating forbearance on their not only towards the chiefs but to every insignificant member of their tribe or otherwise subject themselves to the loss of all their improvements and property the result of many years hard labour and toil.

I must not however enlarge on these subjects at present as the purchases are progressing and I trust that all the settlers may be secured in their homesteads notwithstanding the threats of the natives and I trust that such a system will never again be allowed to gain ground in New Zealand.

Taking into consideration that your Excellency has some difficulty in getting such large sums of money as the present purchases require, I must content myself at present with the thousand pounds for which I have forwarded

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English (ATL)

a requisition and I shall give the earliest intimation if any further amount is likely to be shortly required I should be very glad if your Excellency could come up for a short time to witness the progress the negotiations are making. The purchase which I am endeavouring to accomplish now is at the head of the valley extending from the new line of road to Donalds but it excludes as yet some of the best portions of that district but I suppose we must not reject any land that is offered.

In estimating the sum required for purchasing the Wairarapa it should not be forgotten that a large extent of country besides the valley must be acquired, the valley is estimated at 300,000 acres but I should say that there are 4 or 500,000 acres that must fall in along with it to complete the purchase so as to join on to the Castle Point district.

I am anxiously waiting for instructions as to whether Captain Smith can be employed to assist in the surveys, it is most essential that they should be carried on with the least possible delay.

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English (ATL)

Mr.Fitzgerald has instructions to commence with the reservesin the lower part of the valley at once. Capt.Smith could go on at the top, and Mr.Pelichet for whom I have written might go on with the surveys on the coast line unless these surveys are done shortly disputes might arise, which could not be easily adjusted until my return here in May next, by employing Capt.Smith Mr.Fitzgerald could be spared from here to resume his Wellington duties in the course of 3 weeks or a month.

I hope to be able tomorrow to furnish some estimate of the sum that may be required to carry on this purchase, of the time it will take to complete it, or such portion as should be concluded before your Excellency leaves, and of the date on which a start might be made to pay te Hapukus £3000.

There are several other points on which I should wish to write to your Excellency but the natives are occupying every moment of my time so much so that it is scarcely possible to write at all, I must therefore plead this as my excuse for any hastiness or freedom that may appear in this communication.

I remain, etc. (Signed)
Donald McLean
His Excellency
Sir George Grey K.C.B. etc.etc.etc.

English (ATL)

Otaria Wairarapa

14th Sept., 1853



My dear Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving yours letter by Mr. Fitzgerald who did not arrive here owing to the freshes in the river until Saturday last and I am afraid as we have had a good deal of rain that the same cause has detained the early arrival at Wellington of the letters I sent in on the 4th and 8th inst.

I am at present engaged in the most difficult part of the Wairarapa negotiation and using every exertion to gain an opening into te Maniheres and Ngatueri's country, the latter chief with his followers has fought hard against the sale for the last two days, but I expect that this day must exhaust his opposition considerably and enable us to gain some ground.

The renting system has had such a hold on these people that it is most difficult to convince the old men particularly, that it must be abandoned to give place to better and more permanent arrangements.

I conceive that the Government is pledged to the chief's and tribes who have already sold their land as well as in vindicating the law of the country to put an end to such a system and I am really glad that it has been already checked in this Province to the extent of Seven hundred and fifty pounds a year.

I have witnessed even during my short stay here some of the evils of this system, at Mr.Kellys I observed that the natives regarded him in his own house as a mere tenant on sufferance that could be at any moment ejected, one of his servants was struck by an insolent native having no claim to the place because he was prevented from taking all the food he wished out of the kitchen.

At Mr.Gillies' station where I am now stopping the Chief Ngatueri from a caution by Gillies to some of his natives not to break his mill, with which they were grinding, was violently attacked and knocked down by that chief and ordered to move off the premises that night with all his family goods and chattels leaving the house for his Ngatueris occupation in fact those frequent quarrels must generate very bad feelings for which the natives themselves may eventually suffer, in the meantime with a few exceptions the settlers are obliged to put up with insults and use the most humiliating forbearance on their not only towards the chiefs but to every insignificant member of their tribe or otherwise subject themselves to the loss of all their improvements and property the result of many years hard labour and toil.

I must not however enlarge on these subjects at present as the purchases are progressing and I trust that all the settlers may be secured in their homesteads notwithstanding the threats of the natives and I trust that such a system will never again be allowed to gain ground in New Zealand.

Taking into consideration that your Excellency has some difficulty in getting such large sums of money as the present purchases require, I must content myself at present with the thousand pounds for which I have forwarded a requisition and I shall give the earliest intimation if any further amount is likely to be shortly required I should be very glad if your Excellency could come up for a short time to witness the progress the negotiations are making. The purchase which I am endeavouring to accomplish now is at the head of the valley extending from the new line of road to Donalds but it excludes as yet some of the best portions of that district but I suppose we must not reject any land that is offered.

In estimating the sum required for purchasing the Wairarapa it should not be forgotten that a large extent of country besides the valley must be acquired, the valley is estimated at 300,000 acres but I should say that there are 4 or 500,000 acres that must fall in along with it to complete the purchase so as to join on to the Castle Point district.

I am anxiously waiting for instructions as to whether Captain Smith can be employed to assist in the surveys, it is most essential that they should be carried on with the least possible delay. Mr.Fitzgerald has instructions to commence with the reservesin the lower part of the valley at once. Capt.Smith could go on at the top, and Mr.Pelichet for whom I have written might go on with the surveys on the coast line unless these surveys are done shortly disputes might arise, which could not be easily adjusted until my return here in May next, by employing Capt.Smith Mr.Fitzgerald could be spared from here to resume his Wellington duties in the course of 3 weeks or a month.

I hope to be able tomorrow to furnish some estimate of the sum that may be required to carry on this purchase, of the time it will take to complete it, or such portion as should be concluded before your Excellency leaves, and of the date on which a start might be made to pay te Hapukus £3000.

There are several other points on which I should wish to write to your Excellency but the natives are occupying every moment of my time so much so that it is scarcely possible to write at all, I must therefore plead this as my excuse for any hastiness or freedom that may appear in this communication.

I remain, etc. (Signed)
Donald McLean
His Excellency
Sir George Grey K.C.B. etc.etc.etc.

Part of:
Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0004 (36 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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