Object #1005045 from MS-Papers-0032-0441

5 pages written 17 Apr 1870 by Gilbert Mair

From: Inward letters - Captain Gilbert Mair, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0441 (8 digitised items). Eight letters written from Ohinemutu, Kaingaroa, Tauranga, Wellington, Rotorua, Fort Galatea

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

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English (ATL)

COPY. Te Koro Koro o te Huatoki Kaingaroa

April 17th. 1870

My dear Mr. Clarke,

I should have written to you before, but I thought that you would have your hands quite full enough, without my bothering you; and I trusted to Williams keeping you informed of my movements.

I made a good long tramp up the plain after leaving you, to Herviwi, returning by way of Te Tapiri, Nagahuinga and Galatea, where Preece had promised to meet me with 80 men. He never turned up, so I went back to Kaiteriria. I had to wait there a few days for Ford (?) and then Kokivid (?) to the Waikato, Paeroa, Waiotapu, and Okaro.

I came back from there yesterday. Sent 4 pack-horses away at day-light from camping ground at Okaro, and moved on to this place to wait for the horses to come up with supplies.

I am camped at the head of a little gully, the true source of the Pakawou stream that you cross on the road between Galatea and Te Teko. Just above me is Ngatiwhakawe. The pack-horses will be up this evening; and by starting, at day-light, I expect to reach Galatea to-morrow morning at ten o'clock.

I have sent scouts out to-night, to see if it is occupied by Preece, as he promised to be there on the 16th. We will then send one on duty up to Opepe, telling Major Roberts that he will be at Te Arawhata Tawhata on the 20th. He will come down to meet us with 2 or 3 pack-horses, with food, and a keg of powder; and then we will have a try at Ahikereru. I am very curious to know if it is occupied or not.

I have had some trouble with the natives. They really suffere a great deal from the intense cold on the plain. They are without boots, and have very little clothing. I have gone credit for them for a large amount already, and cannot do so any more. They say it is no use working; that they have 4 or 5 months pay due to them; that if an advance of money was made to them to enable them to buy some boots they would be quite satisfied. Most of them really behave splendidly, so willing and ready. It is only the ...... fellows like Tamati Paora, and one or two others, who give trouble. When I got back from Paeroa yesterday morning, I told the men to leave their horses behind, as I wanted all to go on foot this time. Tuhourangi (13 in number) said at once that I wanted to take them to Ruatahuna, and that unless I promised in writing, not to take them beyond Galatea, they would go back. I declined to make any promise, and told them if they were afraid I would lead them into a scrape, they better leave; that they would not get all their money if they deserted me on the march this way. They all started off at once; but yesterday evening I rode into Kaitie to see about rations. They all met me there, and asked not to be ''povri'' (?) but take them back. Of course I would not do so at any price. I now find out that most of these men ran away from Preece in the same way. So I am well rid of them. I have all the good Whakareres - Haro Tagaru, Kiharous, and Rarawa's boys. They are all splendid fellows; and the Ngatimanawa's are really invaluable. They know every turn in the roads; can find something to eat wherever we camp, and would follow me to Ruatahuna tomorrow if I asked them. They have got several relations to join from Tuhoringi and Ngatirangitiki, and muster 26 men. We all suffer a great deal from ''Kawa''; not had a morsel of grease of any kind for a fortnight. I wonder how the men stand it so well. You should put the ''tonga'' out on this dreary plain. It has been blowing for 3 weeks, and is a caution. There will be plenty ''Hukarere'' soon.

I would like to run down to Tauranga for two days at the end of the month. I want to try and get some blue shirts, trousers, and boots for the men. Could you give me an idea as to how or where I could get them? Do you think I will be at this sort of work for any length of time? If I am to be here for another month, I could get a few things up, and make myself a little more snug.

I have only heard it casually that you are at Opotiki, trying the Native prisoners. It will remind you of the old affair of the Te Tako here here's. I have bever heard the true version of the affair. Who did the most, or where it occurred, or anything. I am glad to hear that that old scoundrel. Te Tauaro is caught; and that perverse old Hakaraia, too. He should have stuck at home. A very fine young woman ran away from the Hau Haus (Tahau's party) at Te Waotu, the other day. She came to Ohinemutu, to a relation of hers there. She belonged to the unfortunate Mohaka natives - the Ngatipahauwera. She and 4 others were the only ones spared out of 60, who were taken by Te Kooti this time last year. She gives a very clear account of the affair From here statement it appears that Martiu Timoti Te Kaka out-did all the others in the work of butchering the unfortunate women and children. He tomahawked over 20 with his own hands.

What a pity it was that Kereopa, Karawanna, and Te Kooti got away. That rascal, Tahau, he means mischief, if ever he gets the chance. He has been trying to stir up the Ngatiraukawa. Erina, the Mohaka woman, says that for two weeks before she left Te Waotu, Tahau was always ''Komiti-ing'' with the Ngatiraukawa. When they said they would keep quiet, he said - ''E heana te Kautau te Koto. Ko ahau ka mahi tonu ahau i te mahi o Te Kooti'', etc.,

N.B. (The writing of this letter is very hard to decipher, so these Maori words may not be correcti but they are copied as far as possible as they seem to be.)

When at Okauia, or Ohineroa, Tana came to see them, and he said that he had given up the King's Karakia, and would take up the Karakia of Te Kooti.

Te Hira, or his people, sent Tahau a lot of powder, and some red stuff for a flag; also an ensign and staff for .. to ..... in case he would try and pass through to Te Kooti.

I would have taken Erina's statement down, but I only saw her for a few minutes.

I wrote to the Ngatiwhakaue, telling them to tell you about her.

Ten men, women and children, of the Paerauta, have come in to Ohinemutu.

It is getting dark, so I must stop now, and will finish when I get back from this trip.

Port Galatea

April 21st. 1870.

Just got back from two days' heavy marching. Hunting up Horomanga Gorge, Raorao, Patate, Tauaroa, and all round.

Plenty Hau Hauscouts seem to be about.

Preece nearly caught a party of 15 or 20 atuheu heu's coming up from Raoraopatatae, the day before yesterday.

We are sending eihana in to Ahikerereu with a letter to-morrow to old Reweti, to try and pick up some news. If he cannot induce any of them to come in, he may be able to get some word about Te Kooti.

We start for Hiwiwi at dawn. Will send on to Major Roberts from there. Out of food, and men very tired, and suffering a good deal from the intense cold at night. Pickets, marching, and knocking about over pumice and gravel. Is it possible to get any clothing for the poor fellows? or money?

I will be back at Kaititia before the end of the month, D.V. I hope to hear from you when I get back.

Preece is very seedy, and has a bad cold from sleeping out without clothes. Will soon be well again.

In haste
faithfully yours (Signed)
G. Mair.
The natives have an idea that Te Ahuru was killed by Te Kooti; that letters were found implicating Tiopiru and Nepiha. Is it true? (Signed)
G. Mair.
Remember me to Mrs. Clarke. (N.B. Owing to the illegibility of the hand-writing in the fore-going letter, there may be many inaccuracies in the spelling of names of people and places, or of Maori words.)

Part of:
Inward letters - Captain Gilbert Mair, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0441 (8 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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