Object #1007281 from MS-Papers-0032-0015
11 pages written 1 Jan 1860 by Robert Reid Parris
From: Native affairs - Waitara, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0015 (38 digitised items). Contains official correspondence regarding the competing Waitara claims of Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake and Te Teira Manuka, and the Taranaki war.Also includes a written series of questions for Archdeacon Octavius Hadfield regarding his knowledge of Te Rangitake to further ascertain the validity of his claim, with reponse from Hadfield.
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landing-place in fine weather, if it is found necessary to send stores by sea.
The country south of Umuroa, for a distance of 33 miles, is intersected with deep ravines, and a few rapid mountain streams. The natives are not numerous in this locality. They have a few strong natural fortifications.
I enclose a Report and sketch furnished by Mr. Carrington, of the road as far as Tataraimaka.
The best means of attacking the Ngatiruanui tribe, would be to effect a landing at Waimate, taking up a position there, and destroying all the Pahs between Kaupukunui and Patea; but this would require a separate expedition, after the Pahs of the Taranaki district are destroyed, and the natives driven into the bush.
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The Taranaki and Ngatiruanui are most disaffected; and no peace can be made with them while they retain the murderers of the Europeans among them, and come up in hordes as they have lately done at Burton's farm, to attack the settlement; which, since the town defences have been constructed, they will not now attempt; although they will, immediately after planting, return to plunder, and to kill off any unexpected parties of Europeans they can meet with; and failing success in this respect, they are very apt to carry out their revengeful purposes by attacking out-settlers at Whanganui; which is the next European settlement 140 miles south of Taranaki.
The armed men belonging to the Taranaki and Ngatiruanui tribes may be estimated at 1200. of that
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number, a good many are old and infirm. The effective strength, in consequence of disease, does not at present exceed 800.
The destruction of these southern Pahs would very much embarras the rebels, by depriving them of their homes, and harass them, if attacked during the planting season, to such an extent that they might be glad, especially if they sustained any considerable loss of life, to relinquish the war.
The natives, South of Tapuae, are at present supposed to have disposed of their different villages to cultivate, and are in small sections of from 10, 20, 30, and sometimes as many as 60 at each Pah or village. But all of them could collect, to the number of 300, in two days, and the whole force of 800 in a week.
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The several Pahs and strong-holds, to the North of New Plymouth settlement, being destroyed, and the natives driven into the forest; where it is quite impossible to carry on successful military operations against them, I have the honour to submit, for the consideration of Major General Pratt, that nothing further can be done at present in that direction, beyond watching their movements, and keeping them off the open country, if they should expose themselves by coming out, which is not probable.
The cattle they have taken, and which are grazing in the vicinity of the Pahs destroyed yesterday, might be driven in, and thus deprive them of immediate means of sustenance. Stores of potatoes, which may be found in pits near the Pahs, might also be secured.
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William King has two resting-places; one at Manatahi; which is tolerably strong; and another at Mataitawa. The latter is only a planting village; and both are intended as temporary places of shelter on the line of road that leads to the Ngatimanui country, to the back of the Taranaki mountain; to which, in case of attack, a portion of King's party would retreat; while he would probably leave for the Ngatimaru district, between Wanganui and Waitara, a place quite beyond the reach of military operations.
Attacking the above places at present would have no material effect on the war; while it might be attended with considerable loss of life, the natives being under cover of the Forest, and concealed in rifle pits. They could, without much loss to themselves, direct a fire against the troops, which would be very destructive. Moreover, they do not always occupy Manutahi, but sleep
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in a bush at the rear of the Pah.
The country, for a distance of 100 miles South of Tapuae, is occupied by the enemy. Several of their Pahs are in open country, along the coast line; whilst others are situated on the borders of the forest.
The several Pahs between Tapuae and Umuroa, a distance of 47 miles, excepting one or two in the bush, could be destroyed; and the best means of effecting this, would be to send a force overland from New Plymouth when the weather is favourable for such an expedition.
The roads from New Plymouth to Umuroa are passable for drays, excepting a few small swamps, about a mile north of the Umuroa, which could be easily improved.
About a mile and a half South of the Umuroa there is a good
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William King's party are now collected; and may be estimated, without reinforcements from North or South, at 244 of an effective force. He can obtain reinforcements from the South in four days, by the road at the back of the mountain; but he could not be joined at less than ten days, by a force from Waikato.
The natives being compelled to reinforce any point of attack through forest roads, it is impossible to afford the Major General very accurate information as to their movements. They can travel from one place to another with great facility, requiring a very small commissariat, from having friends throughout the line of march. Hence the great difficulty that native Officers and others have in supplying
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such reliable information as the Major General may require, in making his military dispositions.
To impart as much information as can be gathered by persons acquainted with the native language, as additional Officer, Mr. W. Carrington, has been employed for this purpose; together with Mr. Drummond Hay, temporarily attached to the force at Waitara.
The expedition to Taranaki would occupy a fortnight of good weather; and that to Ngatiruanui, about three weeks.
The whole of the accessible Pahs in the above district could be destroyed in that time; and it may afterwards become a question, if such expeditions failed in effecting
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a sufficient chastisement, whether it may not be necessary to form a road through the dis-affected districts between here and Whanganui. But this would, of course, be a matter for future consideration of His Excellency the Governor, and the Major General.
The result of the late military operations, involving the destruction of 11 Pahs within 10 days, will prove to the natives that their Pahs, however skilfully constructed, in which they have hitherto placed such reliance, cannot be held against European attack.
The fact of their sudden retreat to the forest, on each occasion when force was brought against them, also affords evidence that they are becoming conscious that they cannot hold land for hostile purposes in the open country. ...
Native affairs - Waitara, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0015 (38 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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