8 Octr., 1860.
In accordance with your request I have much pleasure in forwarding you a brief report of my trip up the river to risit Pehi Turoa and Topine. I left this place on the 19th ultimo, and returned from my journey upon the 6th instant: during part of this time we were detained for some 3 days by heavy rain and a tremendous freshet, Old Pehi I found at Ohinemutu (above Pipiriki), he seemed much gratified at my visit, and I persuaded him to go down and attend the runanga held at Parikino: the new blankets enabled him to go decently clad. This old chief is much aged, and his appearance indicates that his remaining years can be but few: neverthe-less, his mind is still active and his faculties unimpaired; there is the same reserve and diplomatic finesse in his conversation that always characterised him in earlier times: -he is decidedly friendly to us all and assured me that illness alone prevented his attending the Governors meeting of chiefs at Auckland, this I believe was the case. He is a decided advocate for a Maori King; but will not countenance or approve of W. Kingi's hostile proceedings at Taranaki, and expressed much anxiety and fear lest we should see thisriver involved in the war. I assured him, that the Governor and yourself would be much gratified to hear this assurance of his
intention to be peaceable, and that I trusted if any danger should menace us he would give us the earliest warning: this he also promised to do, and gave me repeated promises, that on no account should the Ngatiruanuis be allowed to assail us on the Waitotara side, or descend this river to attack us; if they attempted it, that his people Topines and Herekiakia would to a man join us and resist them; also that they had formally written to them to this effect: - this I believe has been done. From Pehis place I poled on for five long days to reach Marakohoi, where Topine lives: I met his brother in law E Waka near Okirihau and explained to him, during a drive home, the object of my visit: he seemed much pleased and I relieved his mind of much apprehension as to our drilling etc: he and his people seemed almost afraid to come down to the beach: but I fully removed all their fears, and his visit to Parikino confirmed all I told him. On reaching Marakohai I found that Topine had unfortunately gone up a few days before beyond Wenuatera, and from thence was to proceed to search for Totara trees and that I had no chance of finding him under a week: my natives refused to go on (their contract having ended at Marakohoi) so I remained there all Sunday and then turned homewards, though most reluctantly. However at Marakohoi I fully carried out the object of my mission as Topine's sister ''Ripeka'', was there: herself, three other old women and 2 old men were the only people left in the Pah, all the rest having gone up with Topine to Henuatera. I fully explained to his
sister and the two old chiefs how anxious we were for Topine to have gone to the conference, and that the Governor would have been much gratified, to have seen him there and heard his expressions of friendship. I said that as I had been up to see Topine at Xmas he must come down here: they said he was afraid as the Europeans were all armed and drilling. I explained to them the reason and necessity for this and they seemed quite satisfied, promising to come down at Xmas with Topine, and requesting they might be allowed to camp on my property opposite the town: this small boon was readily granted. I left his blankets and tobacco packed up and sealed with my letters etc. to be sent up as soon as a canoe arrived, which they expected in a week. They all seemed as anxious as ourselves, that the war should not extend beyond Taranaki, urged me to assure you of this. They are all nominally Maori King people, but my opinion of this King movement is much altered by this visit. I talked it over with them all, and heard their remarks, when I was supposed to be asleep. They certainly, at present, do not attach to the King party the feelings of insubordination or defiance of the Queen's authority and supremacy which we generally give them credit for: it here is only morbidly active perhaps: but its present form in this river corresponds more with a sort of Trades Union combination, than what we understand by any insurrectionary party. At the same time under the hands of skilful energetic determined and subtle leaders like Wi tako,
this combination may be ultimately strengthened and effectually wielded to our disadvantage - At present it exists only in name on this river, and is impotent; because the fabric has no sound base, no definite objects to accomplish, no acknowledged leader of aminence and no funds. I could add more, My dear Sir, on these matters, but fear I have already overtasked your patience. Wiremu Rarohiti died at Utapu last Tuesday. I may also add that I visited Herekiakia and gave him a red blanket, as he all along has invariably given me the truth and the earliest information of all the proceedings of the Ngatiruanuis.
Before concluding I will just state, that a letter from Waikato and signed by about six chiefs and dated August, is nowen route on this river: it is addressed by these Waikato chiefs to Wanganui Manawatu and Wairarapa. I left it with old Pehi and myself saw the signatures and date and heard most of it read at Marakohoi one of my men brought it down to Pehi, the letter was well written on foolscap and urging these chiefs to assist the Waikatos in upholding the King Movement, and that they (the Waikatos) would all hoist the King flag in the approaching summer: I remain,
My dear Sir,
P. S. I believe that a tribe called Ngatimaru or some such name who live inland at the back of Utapu recently sent
assistance to Wi Kingi in the shape of 50 men when they heard the firing occasioned by Genl. Pratts advance: generally the upper natives have held alo ff.