Letter from Robert Parris, to Donald McLean Esq.
dated June 28th. 1859.
June 28th. 1859
On the 8th. instant, the Government Boat took to the White Cliffs at Pariwhiti, the contractors for cutting the tunnel, and at the request of the Superintendent, I rode down to get the assistance of some natives for their safe landing; and to select 4 natives to assist the Cockswain to bring the boat back to town. The boat, on returning from Pariwhiti called in at Pukekohe with some things from Mr. Whiteley for a school; when Ihaia supplied the Cockswain with a horse, and sent him back overland, telling him that he (Ihaia) would bring the boat back to town in a few days.
On the morning of the 10th, inst., he informed the people of his intention to proceed to town in the boat; when a warm discussion ensued, and the whole of his people to a man was opposed to his going; upon which he became very violent, and left instantaneously, with no other person but his wife, declarning his determination to go direct to Waitara and throw himself upon
Wm. King and his people, for life or death. That his people did not for a moment suppose he would attempt, for two reasons. First, the danger, Secondly, the state of his health. As Nikorima and a few of his people were at Urenui, making a canoe, they concluded he would be sure to stop with them; but on arriving at the river, he requested to be put over in a canoe, explalning to them his intentions. Nikorima refused him the canoe, upon which he swam across; ascended the hill on the opposite side, where he fired a gun, and proceeded on the road to Waitara. Nikorima sent back a messenger to the Pa, with the information; where, after a short consultation, it was agreed that the boat should be manned, and proceed to town at once with the information. As the boat was pulling along the shore after sunset, they saw a fire kindled about two miles from Waitara. The boat arrived in town about 10 o'clock p.m. with a party of 9 natives. On landing, one man came for me, whilst the others remained on the beach. I immediately went to them, conducted them through the town to a house near my own. They explained to me what had taken place; and entreated me to go at once, and get Ihaia to return, lest they should be massacred; a few having followed him to get him back.
I left early enough to be at Waitara by daybreak.
On arriving there, I called five of the principal men together, (Wi King was absent at Taranaki); and informed them what had taken place, to occasion my early visit; and requested them not to allow any of the people to go in the direction of where Ihaia was supposed to be. This they promised, and requested me to lose no time, but go at once and get him to go back, fearing what may occur if he came here.
Before I got to the place where he encamped for the night, I found him on his way into Waitara, Just come upon a native who had gone to the beach very early to collect firewood, who was entreating him to return, fearing the consequences if he got to the Pahs. We prevailed on him to return; when he surrendered his double-barrelled gun and ammunition to the native, a relative of his, (Ngapapa), to be taken to the pas for a peace-offering. His condition was most pitiable. The previous day's journey and excitement had completely prostrated him. He was almost too weak to speak, or to walk back. Before I left him, five of his relatives who had followed we stealthily from the Pahs, came up to see him. He requested me, if possible, to get a doctor to come to see him, stating he would stop a few days a short distance therefrom. The following day, (Sunday), I sent him a bottle of wine and some food; and on the Monday, Dr. Wilson, accompanied by the Capt. and Native
Sec, went so far as Waitara, intending to visit him. But on arriving there, they were informed he had returned, which proved to be incorrect, however. They returned without seeing him. I found him improved in health last week, having visited them on my way to the tunnel, to meet Te Kaharoa at his request by letter, to explain the tunnel cutting to him; he having stopped the work until I arrived for that purpose. After a short explanation, he allowed the work to proceed.
The Boat took the 9 natives back so far as Waiana, 6 miles below Waitara, on Saturday last. Previous to this boat leaving Halse and I got up a subscription to get them some food to send. We raised nearly £20, and sent it in flour, biscuit, rice, sugar, tobacco, etc., about half for Ihaia. I sent Henui away on horseback early in the morning to tell them to come to Waiana with a cart for it, as the boat was not allowed to go any further. The goods were landed safely, and Ihaia came himself that far to meet it.
Doctor Wilson wanted to get him up and put him into the Military Hospital, but Major Murray refused. I hope the food we have sent him will answer as well; the want of which I believe has been in great measure the cause of his bad health.
Hapurona, who took a prominent part against him during the feud, went with a party from Huirangi on
the 18th. inst., and declared peace with them; being, as he informed me, tired of waiting any longer for Wm. King's consent, and otherwise displeased on account of some letters which have been sent to Waikato, in favour of the King Movement, which he is opposed to. I witnessed their arrival at Pukekohe. It was a pleasing demonstration. They walked in procession to the Pah, with a white flag in front. Hapurona is threatened for this sotermed pokanoa. But he treats it very cavalierly, and offered in my presence to take Ihaia and Nikorima back to Waitara, and protect them.
Wi King sent them a message last week, telling them not to attach any importance to Hapurona's visit; intimating at the same time that he should soon visit them.
The Superintendent has Just taken it into his head to oppose me, in putting the native owners in possession of the allotments of land in the Waiwakaiho block, inland of Mr. Smart's. You will remember having promised the natives yourself, whilst here, that they should be put in possession; and gave me instructions accordingly when you left; and although Mr. Richmond disapproved of sub-dividing the Puketara Reserve, he considered that it was only just and right that those should be put in possession; and from that time to the present I have been promising to do so, and have induced the owners
to alienate the whole to simplify the complicated nature of those allotments; there being no definition of the Reserves from the re-purchased land. I really don't think I ever heard Cutfield more inconsistent upon any question. He even refused me a Surveyor on promising to pay for him. However, I told him that would not prevent my doing it, for on no account could I be guilty of such a breach of faith after the promise that had been made to the natives, and the accommodation they had given us upon the faith of those promises, - who could prevent them, if they chose, from going and settling indiscriminately upon any part of the Block; when refused to have their land marked off for them, after waiting so many years.
I cannot conclude without informing you that great credit is due to Tamati Wiremu, (Te Ngahuru), for the manly way in which he has opposed Wi Tako in the Taranaki district. In fact, I should fancy that Wi Tako by this time wishes he had never come here. Still, I think it will have done him good.
The settlers are beginning to enquire when Mr. McLean is coming.
I purpose leaving for Mokau in a week or two.
With kind respects, I am, dear Sir,
Yours very respectfully,