May 28th 1864.
As instructed by your Honor, I have employed myself for the past six months, principally in ascertaining the views and the purposes of the natives in this district, regarding their position to the Europeans. In doing this I have been in constant contact, not only with the leading men of this Province, but with a good many individuals of the different tribes. I have the honour to embody my observations in the sub-joined Report.
This Province has just passed through one of the most critical periods since the breaking out of the War at Taranaki. The natives in the neighbourhood of the Pohui and the Haroto, assisted by the Ureweras, have been, for the past ten or twelve months, preparing for an attack on this Province. Their intention was to have commenced operations immediately after the storing of the potatoes, etc., was finished; but through the series of repulses they met with at the Waikato and Waipa, their attention was drawn to that quarter. But when the General had driven the natives out of the part of the country, and commenced operation in the Bay of Plenty,
the natives of the interior, namely the Urewera, and others, with the people about Tangoio, Pohui, the Haroto and Tarawera considered the time was come for a combined attack on this district' which appeared in almost a defenceless state, having not more than four hundred military and civil forces; and accordingly sent down Paora Toki, a native of Petane, who had been at Waikato for some time - a man of mean birth, but exceedingly dangerous on account of his energy, ability, and power of speech, combined with a most intense hatred against the European.
On their return from the Waikato, the intention of Paora and his party were evidently to provoke the Europeans to some bloodshed, as the natives of Tangoio and Petane, not only fired into the houses of inoffensive settlers, but tried to provoke them in every possible way.
To excite the natives in this district and along the coast, the report was circulated that the Government intended to take Paora prisoner. Upon this rumour, not only the natives North of Napier, prepared to come armed, to Petane, for the protection of Paora; but even Tareha, who always professed himself to be our friend, and to have an abhorrence against Paora
and his party, expressed his determination to protect Paora; In fact, excitement ran very high throughout the district.
Subsequently to this a Meeting took place at Petane, where it was decided, as not more than one hundred of this district could be relied upon for active hostilities, it was determined that Paora should return to the Waikato, and organise an attack upon the Napier district; Rangihiroa remaining here to make preparation for the same purpose.
Paora left with about forty followers, in the beginning of April, for Waikato; killing on the way between Petane and Pohui, several sheep; and stating to Father --- (?), whom he met in the Tarawera district, that he had done so, and that he considered himself justified in helping himself to food wherever he pleased. During the absence of Paora, the Rangihiroa was very active in organising the proposed attack; for which purpose he sent messengers to the Urewera and the East Cape, asking for armed assistance.
I look upon this period as the most critical for this province; and not only Paora and Rangihiroa had openly showed their intentions, but likewise, as Pohipoi conjointly with the Rangihiroa, had paid
a visit to the different Pas, and had persuaded about one half, out of some sixty natives residing at Pakaitutu, Pohui, and Tarawera, who were employed at the time making the road in the direction of Taupo, to leave their employment, using the argument that they were cutting their own throats by making the road, which was evidently for military purposes. Nearly all the Pohui and Tarawera natives left the work, leaving only the Whetu and his followers. Your Honor will remember the time, as it was just prior to your leaving for Auckland.
Shortly after Paora's arrival at the Waikato, the engagement at Orakau took place, and subsequently that of Maketu= which altered the position of the natives throughout the islands; and Paora, finding that he could get no assistance for the present, returned to Pohui, where a large Meeting took place about a fortnight ago; when it was decided that for the present, no active measures should be taken. Paora and the Rangihiroa declared at the same time that they would defer their purpose to a more fitting period. From information which I have collected from a great many sources, I have come to the conclusion that there is no immediate danger for this district; but that Paora and Rangihiroa and their party have
merely deferred action for the present; and that unless a bold front is shown in the direction of Pohui and Puketitiri, any reverse our troops may meet with at the Waikato, Tauranga, Turanganui, or any other place, may lead to some inroad from that quarter.
I have the honour to be
Your most obedient servant