Putoko - Poverty Bay,
21st. August, /66.
Donald McLean Esq. M.H.R.
My dear Sir,
I am in receipt of your favor of 11th. inst., and note contents. Rice has beyond a doubt tried to tamper with the Natives here, with the view of raising opposition to our petition; he has not succeeded in finding one single tool excepting perhaps Pauapa, who after all, is a man of neither birth nor achieved position among the Natives, in fact his word is wind - if report says true, Rice has paid both "Pauapa" and "Henry Ruru" well for their trouble in the matter. Rice may try his "sweet persuasive tongue" on the Natives, till he tires of talking, it can be of no effect, even if he is mad enough to attempt getting up any Counter Petition, (which I scarce think he will try), he must most assuredly fail. I have made it my business to go among the Natives quietly. I have quite sufficiently primed them in a way they can take no exception to, and any advice Mr. Rice may seek to give them after this, will, I assure you, be perfectly harmless.
I am requested by all the principal Natives here to assure you, that Pauapa's talk was lies - no one authorized him to speak as he did - every Native in the district has but one feeling, and that most decidedly in favor of annexation to Hawkes Bay. No one says "Auckland", excepting the paid men,
Pauapa and Henare Ruru.
The Chiefs and elders of the Poverty Bay District request me to inform you that Wi Pere and Paora Parau were most decidedly instructed by the people generally to write down their names to the Petition - they, the people, affixing their marks. At least two-thirds of the Native population cannot write and if it had been made imperative that every man should attempt to write his own name, whether he could or nay, it might have/taken twelve months to get all the Signatures/This is well known to be the usual way in Native got up documents, and whatever member of the House takes exception to the practice, is, to say the least, excessively captious. My duties, as Interpreter to the forces, ceased on 30th. of last month (July) - I am now an idle man, with a large family to support, and no means whatever of doing so. I am anxious to obtain some suitable employment. Might I again ask your kind offices in the matter. I received my discharge from Captain Biggs - he at the same time most kindly handing me a certificate of good services as Interpreter. Rapata Whakapuhia the messenger to Anaru Matete has returned from Ruatahuna - the zest of his talk is this - "a good many of the Rongo whakata were anxious to return to the "kainga". Some, such as Anaru Matete, Henui Putapu, Perate Awahaku,
etc., said, "No, if we return, let it be on the war path." When Ropata started on his return here, Anaru, with 200 others, had started for Hanga tiki, to visit Matutaera - with him will rest Te tikanga - if he says attack Taranaki, Taranaki will be attacked, if Waikato - it will be Waikato; if he says Poverty Bay and Wairoa, the attack will lay there; at any rate, they will never make peace, "they will fight on till the Europeans are destroyed."
The return message to the tribes of Poverty Bay consludes thus "lay on your oars and leave Maori to fight with European, let not te Kawanatanga Maori move." They further say, leave the Europeans to us, let not the Kawanatangi Maori help the pakeha in their day of trouble - leave them to us alone, and we will drive them into the sea. They then wind up by saying "e you Surim to the Shooe, do not attempt to Surim out to Sea. kaumai koutou ki ita, Kaurea koutou e tere ki te moana."
On the whole I fear we will have serious complications during next summer. We will, in all probability, be attacked and many of the friendlies are not to be counted on, as for the European force (colonial) stationed here, that, at present, amounts in numbers, to nothing more than simply "a fiscal force". It is possible, that some good might be done by an agent, authorized by Government, visiting the rebels at Rua tahuna, during next Summer, and from that place penetrating as far as Matutaera's headquarters at
Hangatiki. I mean some agent, who would employ the cool, determined, and yet peaceable policy, in contra distinction to bounce, petty chicanery, and futile promises, as instruments to wheedle or coerce, and yet, who would place matters before their eyes in the true light, without seeking to compromise anything so far as obligations were concerned. The Govt. are still owing me a balance of my pay as Interpreter, up to date of my discharge on 30th. July last. The total amount of my pay up to that date is £137.11.0. I have received £89.5.6. leaving a balance still due to me of £48.5.6. I have forwarded to Mr. Michael Boylan of Napier, an authority to receive this money for me, but I am afraid the Sub-treasurer will not pay the amount until he receives instructions from you to do so. May I again trouble you to order this balance to be paid to me through the order I have given to Mr. Boylan. I am very needy else I should not trouble you in the matter - however I beg you will excuse this.
Yours most respectfully,