Sept. 5, 1858
I arrived here about ten days ago in company with Nepia, Ihakara and about 60 of the Ngatiraukawa Tribe, the whole of the Rangitane, and the Upokoiri in all about 150 The Hiriwanu had mustered all his friends and relations to about the same number I need hardly tell you how Pork, eels and other native luxuries flowed in repaid on our part by an unlimited flow of flattering speeches, compliments etc.
However we had a very large meeting when Nepia and his friends gave all right and title to the Land of the Rangitane's telling the Hiriwanu that they were now friends to do what he liked, with his Land, if he wished still to sell it, to do so, that he had come up at my desire to publickly assent to his doing so. and in fact quite surprised all parties by the language (strong) he made use of and clearly signified that as soon as the sales of the upper part of Manawatu was completed he would be prepared to go on with the lower part, every thing was conducted in most amicable spirit, the boundaries openly discussed and assented to by all parties of the Hiriwanu's Land. Nepia only stopped here for three days when he returned down the River with his Friends.
After his return I had a large meeting of the Rangitane to practically disscuss the matter and terms of sale when I was pretty considerably astonished by the Hiriwanu telling me that before the Land could be sold that it must be surveyed all round the Boundaries and then paid for at the
rate of 30/- per Acre that his land was of immense extent and that it should not be sold in the dark that you had promised him that it should be actually surveyed etc. etc. Of course I objected to surveying a piece of Land belonging to them without the price being arranged that what you meant was that I would make a sketch of the land and compute the area and then arrange the price and this I was willing to do, Nempthornes survey at Ihurana has put this into their heads I objected at the time to that description of Survey before the terms were settled, Kempthorne also most carefully informed all the Natives of the Acreage of the Block surveyed by him which has led them to most egregious notions of the amount to be paid for it after two or three days talking over the matter I started in company with Grindell and three natives to a high point of the Ruahine Range which completely commands a view of the whole Block going up the puhangina river (a tributary of the Manawatu) about 5 miles and then striking inland to the foot of the Range where we (misled by the information of our Huides) left our small stock of provisions etc. etc. and made our way for about 8 miles thro' one of the densest forests of underwood supple jacks etc. that I ever was unfortunate enough to meet with here we were compelled to stop with nothing to eat or drink or Blankets a bitterly cold night and very little firewood, next morning we proceeded up the hill (Natives half dead with cold) and arrived at the summit and to my infinite disappointment found all the low Grounds covered with a very heavy fog. Natives bolted down again immediately I remained
some time hoping that the fog would clear off, but the flesh was weaker than the spirit and I bolted after them glad to get back in the evening to the flesh pots of Egypt, completely fatigued, disgussted with the Natives and with anything but an amiable temper, we got back here yesterday and I am now preparing for another journey on to the Ruahine on Tuesday same place, from what I have seen of the Block I consider it will be little short of 200,000 Acres, 100,000 of which are good level land fit for agricultural purposes covered with the most splendid timber Totara, Rata and other trees and of easy access, the other portion with the exception of about 40,000 acres is also good land (agricultural) but I am not at present able to speak of its accessibility - but of this I will be able to inform you more in the course of a week or two. I have the utmost confidence in the completion of this Purchase the question will be the price, fully believing as I do that the difficulty of purchasing lands is increasing everyday from the advance of knowledge among the Natives generally the great advantages from position and value of this land I am quite prepared bearing in mind a due regard to enonomy to pay a high price for it and I consider an average price of 9d an acre will be cheap and if I can complete the purchase at this price I purpose doing so paying them a portion of the money at once and the balance at stated times but of this I will inform you in my next. You will oblige me by letting me know your opinion on these subjects. I have not addressed you officially on this matter thinking that it would be premature in the present state of the negociation.
I will attend to your remarks on the Moroa and Tauherenikau Block when I am able to leave this district.
Spinks Bill I will pay first opportunity.
I note your remarks generally on this District and you may depend on my doing my best to complete the negociations now pending if I do not succeed I shall be quite prepared for some one else to try his hand I am glad to see you have not forgotten Duncan and Cooke, the former is I think expecting to hear from you I have again addressed you respecting the half caste interest and shall continue do do so untill they are placed on what I consider a proper footing with regard to their rights they are now fast becoming a very numerous body and may become a very troublesome one too, I could have written much more on this subject, but as you say that some legislation on this head may possibly brought about this Session, I am willing to defer any other remarks at present.
As regards your remarks on Mr. Kempthorne about his coming back here I am quite indifferent (I believe younger men and unmarried would do better, Stewart I think would suit me well, the other one D. not perhaps quite so well.) - you see in your letter he tells me he had your per mission for coming this, My dear Sir is on Mr. K's part a gross falsehood, it is not likely that I would take such a liberty or power in my hands, in fact had I not expressly sent for him to come to me at Masterton the first information that I should
have received of his having left his work would have been via Auckland I sent for him hearing that he had determined to return to Auckland without any reference to me as Dist. Commr. I mentioned to him that there was plenty of work to be done in Wairarapa, he distinctly told me that private matters and Mrs. K. being very ill required his immediate return to Auckland, I deny that he had my permission to return and I thought that my silence on the subject would have caused some enquiry into the matter of his leaving this District, jam satis.
Wi Waka's selection is made and the survey completed some time ago. I must not forget to mention that I have received very considerable and important assistance from Mr.
Grindell in these Manawatu negociations, and I have kept him here with me intending to make take a party to mark the boundaries of the block at once - as I cannot possibly stay here much longer, this District is like a pot, boiling over first on one side then on the other if not continually watched.
Your's my dear Sir,
Will N. Searancke
You must pardon this extraordinary scrawl as I have been from first to last surrounded by a most importunate lot of natives, chattering and asking questions and otherwise teasing and worrying notwithstanding the tent being closed in every direction.