Mission House, Taranaki,
Augt. 10th, 1854.
I am writing you at large in reference to our present disturbed state of affairs, but the letter is not completed, and the Steamer now heaves in sight. I therefore take another sheet, to say, that the whole question, in my opinion, is in a most unsatisfactory state, as regards the safety of the Settlement. True, by much effort and good management, we have contrived to prevent vengeance being taken on the murderers (Katatore ma) up to the present time, but we are not at all sure of a single day, inasmuch as the rest of the Puketapus have determined to make reprisals as soon as opportunity occurs: for wh. end, they have laid a tapu on the beach and highway --- and will now lie in wait, and cut off every straggler. If this be the case (wh. is pretty certain, as you will conceive, considering the quantity and kind of sacred blood wh. has thus been so barbarously spilt) then, Katatore tells me that he has already entered into arrangements with Wirimu Kingi and old Arapata Watatiri to join forces with him, and issue forth to destroy the rest of the tribe. A messenger (Tamati Rima) also is in waiting to start for Waimate, and bring up the six affected Ngatiruanuis. The consequence of this step, you can easily divine knowing the people and the district, without my pointing them out to you --- especially as the Ngamotus are
joined to Raniera and Haraira, and will help to revenge the deaths.
The opinion I have to express to you is simply this, that if success attend the action of the opposite side, wh. is nearly certain, the strife will not be ended before it has reached the town, and extended itself to our out-settlers. I know the whole of the circumstances of the case, as, you must be aware, no one else in this Settlement can possibly know them, and since the council on Thursday last, everything has been left to my individual management, though nominally, the responsibility is with Mr. Flight and Mr. Cooper. But then they cannot openly appear on the scene, lest it shd. be misconstrued by either or both of the parties.
Therefore, as an eye and ear with knowledge of all that has taken place, it is perhaps my duty to correspond with you, as the chief officer in the Colony, acting on behalf of Maori affairs. As to the Natives, reprisals will be made, and what they conceive to be a religious and righteous retributior will be exacted from those who, after all their excuses and extenuations, must still be exposed to the charge of murder, in one of its most appalling forms: and so I have told Katre. during two separate interviews.
I hope you will be able to return in the Steamer, for the sake of settling this particular land question. And under the circumstances, I wld. suggest that you be prepared to deal with the resident claimants, as you have done with
absentees, and buy up their claims (in a lump) on the Map, without requiring them to survey the boundaries in person, leavg. the land unoccupied, until such time, as the claims of Katatore's party shall have been purchased. Seeing that our consentient Natives had already reaped their utmost advantage from the land, wld. take away one great inducement wh. the opposite party has, in preventing the sale of it. If this meets with your concurrence, and can be carried out by you, on arrival. I can assure you, it will entirely remove that feeling of disaffection to the Governt. wh. is very natural to arise, when the people are anxious to sell their partnership claims to land, and the Govt. refuse to buy. I think the time has also arrived, owing to these murders, when it will not only be safe, but proper, to adopt the same system at Waitara, for I believe that Wiremu Kingi's refusal to sell, is much influenced by the consideration, that he is thus instrumental in depriving Ihaia's party of any advantage in the land.
But as the blood itself is concerned, I do not believe that any arrangemts. you can make will prevent its being avenged, sooner or later. What I desire is this, that the Settlement shd. as soon as possible, be placed in a state of defence. Hitherto, our great objection agt. military occupation has arisen from the jealousy of these same Puketapus, who have now coalesced with the Ngamotus, cementg.
their union with the blood of Rawiri. So that we shd. have a considerable body of Native allies. Moreover, the Puketapus desire me to wish the Govt. to send down as many troops as will be sufficient (hei tikiki mo nga pakeha) but they do not wish them to interfere in the least, in reference to Rawiris death. Our only thing is therefore, to gain time, and put off the evil day until the Govt. shall have provided a suffict. defensive force for the Settlers. 200, I shd. like to see, at least, as it is a straggling place: and 100 wld. do well enough at Wanganui, I fancy.
Yours very truly - in haste,
H. Hanson Turton.