August 10th. 1861.
Donald McLean Esq.
My Dear Sir,
Herewith I enclose an address from the Chiefs in my neighbourhood, to Governor Browne. I assure you that it was their own spontaneous idea, without any prompting from me. They all met at my house on the same day; and strange to say, without any previous communication with each other, for the purpose of writing it. The names represent by far the greater part of the population here; and I doubt not their example will be followed by others. The departure of Governor Browne took them by surprise; and they, I believe, really regret it.
I have now to say a few words to you in confidence, as I believe you are my friend. I am sure that my feelings towards yourself, from our first meeting, have been those of sincere good will. My native friends here, have, since their return from Auckland, discovered, or fancied they have discovered that a person here whom you know (Mr. Webster), has been at some pains to throw discredit on certain representations
which I have made to the Governor, respecting the willingness of the natives of a certain district to assist the Queen's troops if asked to do so. My native friends are much troubled at this; as they consider the discredit attaches to themselves. as well as me. I now having heard this, on what I think pretty good authority, I think it only right that I, in self-defence, tell you my friend, that which I otherwise would rather leave untold; as I do not care to talk of the failings of others unless obliged to do so, which is this. This Mr. Webster has, for some years back, made it a practice, without any provocation received from me, except that for some good and sufficient reasons, I do not allow my family to visit his, to loose no opportunity to injure or annoy me, and sticks at nothing to accomplish this. This being the case, I am the more inclined to believe what my friends have told me, which is that they have heard that Mr. Webster has made false representations respecting the Chiefs here, and also as to my influence with them. They have talked the thing over with me, and by way of proving who are the Chiefs of most consequence; and also, to shew their friendship to me, say that if it should happen that the natives of
this place be asked at any time to turn out. They will keep quiet, and let it be seen first how many men those Chiefs who they suspect to have been represented as head men here can raise; after which and at my advice they will shew themselves. This talk will, however, come to nothing I suppose; as you told me when I last saw you that you thought it possible, or certain indeed, that natives would not be allowed to take part in the war, if war we should have. I only mention it to shew what the feelings of the natives are; and I have reason to believe that they are right in their suspicions that discredit has been thrown on them (my friends), as Mr. Webster has in part acknowledged it himself; and for another reason, which is this, but which I did not know till I got home here. The Hokianga Chiefs, amongst whom were Te Tai, and Te Hira, on leaving Auckland, called on the Governor to say farewell; and were told by his Excellency (by Mr. Smith's interpretation), "return home. I know not who it was invited you to come here. I did not invite you. Perhaps Mr. McLean did." You can well suppose how shocked, and chagrined they were at this; and Te Hira told me to-day that he cannot think the Governor would have said so to people like them, who went to tender their allegient adherence, and
offer to take arms at the call of the Governor, if some false statements had not been made about them. Te Hira, Te Tai, and the rest being at the same time quite conscious that they asked nothing from the Government; and are under no obligation in particular to take any active part, or run any risk, except to prove once more their loyalty and goodwill to the European system. I write in haste, not picking my words, because I am willing to believe I am writing to a friend; and I wish to put you on your guard against misrepresentations, which I have reason to believe have been made by Mr. W.; who is, I am sorry to say, a very little-minded, spiteful man, and who, as I have now told you, sticks at nothing to do injury, or try to do it rather, to myself and any who are my friends. He is a very good shop-keeper, but neither a gentleman, or a true Scotch man, but a "lowland loon", who has a great wish to be thought somebody.
What I have always told you, and also the Governor, is correct, as it must needs be, I being a gentleman, and under the obligati on to speak the truth; and I have said that a very large proportion of the natives about here will take my word, and be guided by me in certain matters. The people who I allude to are
those under the younger and middle-aged Chiefs; who constitute what may be called "Young New Zealand", a fair sample of whom I introduced to you the other day at Auckland. It is a grand mistake, but which is commonly made; if people who know nothing of the natives, but who think they know a great deal, to suppose that the old Chiefs, such as Adam Clarke, and Moetara, are all powerful. The young Chiefs are the most powerful, in every sense, here, at least; and have got different, and far more enlightened natives for action than the old men. They respect the Kaumatuas, but will not be guided by them; as they can see that the old men are ignorant, and also wedded to the olda Maori system, which is now out of date; and will not work at all now-a-days, that they have to conform to Pakeha usuages in so many respects. I will say that Te Tai Paapahia, and Te Hira, his brother, have more moral influence, and can raise more men, which is the proof of the proof of the thing, - than Adam Clarke, Maetara, and two more such. The young half-caste George Clarke, is, for all civilised European purposes, a more useful and influential man than either of them. His tribe and co-latteral connections, are very numerous; and his personal character, such as would make him, in a
short time, a most useful assistant to the Government, were he appointed an Assessor. It was my reprezentations which caused Te Hira Ngarope formerly to be recommended as an assessor; and I firmly believe he is the best in the country. I believe George Clarke would be as good as him.
You told me to "Write you a screed"; and here you have it with a vengeance. I hope you won't get tired before you get this far. I was telling you about "Young New Zealand", and the influence of the younger and middle-aged Chiefs, and of the confidence many of them place in my advice; and I can right well understand that people here cannot understand a word about it, it being clean out of their line of comprehension. How can mere traders, whose whole soul is taken up with the price of tobacco, etc., and whose knowledge of the status and opinion of the different natives, are only gained by asking direct questions of the parties themselves, a fine way to come at the truth! - how, I say, can such people know the true state of Maori matters? I will tell you what these people are - "Maori Doctors", and Mr. W. would be a doctor, or rather, is one. I will illustrate what I say when you do us the honour to come
here, as you have said you would. But for goodness sake, come when it is fine weather, in the end of the Summer, when we can move about; and in the mean time, I will, now that my hand is in, tell you a story to illustrate the difference between Old and Young New Zealand; and to do so, I have to go no farther back than my journey to Auckland the other day. Seven Chiefs, of the Young New Zealand School, were my company. Rangatira, who represents very well the old regime, thought it would be a fine chance to hook himself on to us, so that when we got to Auckland he might look big, and pass for the head man of the party. We saw what he was at, but did not wince. But when we saw that on the road he kept picking up a lot of rabble from every settlement, even till we got to Kaipara, "Young New Zealand" began to be ashamed, and say to one another, "it is time to part company" from this set of dirty scoundrels, whose only object is to see the town and eat the Governor's beef." So we fairly bolted, and left Rangatira and his dirty squad behind. When he found he was left behind, he was as mad as ten thousand devils; and we have actually heard (it may not be true) that he got Winyard to write a note to Te Makarini about it. He was savage at the idea of not being able to make his entry into
Auckland in the appearance at the head of a company of Chiefs, five at least of whom were his betters as Chiefs, and all of whom far more loyal because more disinterested. As a sequel to this description of the difference between "Old" and "Young New Zealand", I will just tell you that Rangatira and his tribe, ceveral years ago, took advantage of the absence of the greater part of the men of the tribe of two of the "Young New Zealand" Chiefs who were with me at Auckland when they were boys, and attacked them; the event of which was that Rangatira's family and relations were nearly exterminated by the male faction of people these two little boys could, at the moment, bring together. One of them caught Rangatira as he was coming away, but could not hold him, being but a boy; and Rangatira's tribe have not, to this day, recovered from the disaster, but have been going down ever since. He is, however, from being an old man, and also from his energetic character, a Chief of considerable influence amongst his own people; but a mere greedy shark of the old school in other respects. Adam Clarke is a better man, but of the "Old" school too in many respects. His influence is even stronger than that of Rangatira, amongst his own people. But
he has in these modern times actually no influence over many hapu that I hear he pretends to have influence over and I dare say if you were to ask almost any pakeha but myself here, they would tell you because they heard Adam Clarke say so! that he is the greater man here.
I shall be going to Auckland almost immediately, and hope to meet you there. I also hope to see you here in the Summer, where, if I give you nothing else, I shall give you a right hearty welcome; and I can also promise-you the same on the part of "Young New Zealand. Come in the fine weather, so that we can move about and shew you the country, and have some fun.
I cannot help being anxious to see what is going to be event of the present awkward state of our relations with Waikato and the South; and also as to what may be Governor Grey's course of action when he comes. I felt rebuked at hearing your noble and merciful views on the subject of the war with the natives, and your unwillingness to cause any more bloodshed or ill feeling than was absolutely necessary and forced upon us. I did not say much at the time, but have often since thought of them; and believe that both as a Christian and a politician, you are right. I am a bad Christian
myself; and am apt to be fond of any plausable excuse for a proper row; but reflection tells me you are right, and I am wrong. And so I shall not look for war, but let it come, and not bother myself any more about it, except I can get a good and proper opportunity to shew off New Zealand, the Younger, and can do it legitimately; and then I will do so in spite of all the devils, and Maori Doctors, and Mr. Webster, and "Old" Rangatiras in the country.
I am sure you must allow I have done as you told me, "given you a screed". You must, however, remember that I believe myself writing to McLean, my friend, and not to Mr. McLean, the Government Officer. I hope to be at the house at Shortland Street soon after you get this; where if you should find me, you will find a person who is very much your servant.
I will only add that the address to the Governor is signed by all Chiefs who represent the whole population of a large circle here; the time being too short, seeing the distance of this place from Auckland, to send it about to be signed by hundreds of people.
There is nothing in the way of news.
I am yours very sincerely,