May 20th. 1870.
I wrote you some time since stating that I found it advisable to leave Opunaki flax company in consequence of its directors being mostly composed of the Richmond and Atkinson faction. There was an other company in the course of formation and they asked me to join them as manager, as soon as land was obtainable, Mr. Charles Brown and myself applied to Mr. Parris, for the portion of the abandoned Block between Nuitot and Oau Nui, we have not been able to get any definate answer from Mr. Parris. He told me he had no instructions to deal for flax land, his instructions at present were to get the road carried through and nothing further. But he had no objection and would not oppose parties going and treating with the Natives themselves.
I told Mr. Parris that instructions were left here in writing by the Honourable Native Minister, to the effect that all negociations were to go through his, the Civil Commissioners hands, and that being the case I should not attempt to deal with the Natives individually.
Under the circumstances we have been obliged to make an application direct to you through the Civil Commissioner as the only way to get a definite answer.
If Mr. Parris would have the civility to give us
a direct answer, we would be satisfied, but the fact is we are aware that all who voted for Carrington and Kelly against son in law Mr. Richmond are in his black books, and we do not feel disposed to submit to the dictates of party spirit. In making this application we are no so unreasonable as to press the matter we merely wished to have some certainty that when the time came, our claim for that particular block should be entertained, and that the commissioner would deal with the natives, when he considered it prudent to do so. Although an applicant, and dependant on this to earn a livelihood for my family, I believe, it would be impossible to treat with the Natives at present. The Pariaka Natives are not improving on the contrary they are becoming bouncable and insolent to those now at Opunaki.
I believe it will be found necessary to arm and put on pay or half pay some of the friendly natives there to act as a sort of native police, to check the Pariaka natives in their depredations.
I wrote you some time ago on this subject, and as a friend, and supporter of your Government, and will again repeat it that if some small protective force is not raised at Opunaki, there will be something happening there that will embroil the District. Had Mr. Whiteley's advice been taken to place a few men at White Cliffs, that murder and the heavy expenses consequent would have been avoided. Because I stated
that the outsettlers were not safe in the outdistricts and that a force of 50 men should be stationed at White Cliffs and Okato, Mr. Parris stated publicly a week before the White Cliff massacre that I was an alarmist, and went to Major Stapp and requested him to report me and get my commission canceled as Capt. of Volunteers. This Major Stapp refused to do, but advised me to be on my guard and demand a court of inquiry if Mr. Parris reported me.
Mr. Parris went no further and the massacre proved me quite right, and though not friends Mr. Parris has been civil to me since. There was a little affair happened in town on Monday that I did not like a party of Pariaka natives put forward one of their number to steal a shawl to try the question, if the whites would imprison the perpetrator he was imprisoned and a scuffle ensued between the Maories and whites, they trying to rescue the prisoner. Mr. Parris was very firm, but wisely fined the delinquent four times the value of the article instead of imprisoning him which would have lead to unpleasant consequences.
Threats have been made by them of doing the same at Opunaki where there are no police or jails.
I have little doubt it may be tried there as the Pariaka natives are jealous of the works at Opunaki. If so a scuffle ensuing there, without our having an organised force there to enforce the law will have a bad effect should the natives gain their point. This might be avoided if twenty
or thirty of the natives friendly there were enrooled as a police force. There is good excuse to raise one as the whites there have been suffering lately from constant thefts by Natives who visit the District.
I have taken the liberty of writing you fully on this subject, as I believe it is one that affects the peace of not only Opunaki but also the Patea District, as any thing occurring at Opunaki would shake confidence in Patea. With regard to the application for flax land, we want only some promise that it will be entertained at a proper time, at present I should not think it advisable to go into it or press it. I must therefore try and find some other employment in the meantime.
Your obedt. servt.,