Jan. 23 /61
My dear Sir,
Hanana and Rewiti left for their places on Monday morning last. It is said by resident natives that the object of Hanana's visit was to persuade Katipa to give his consent to the building of a pa at Ngaruawahia intended for the protection of the flag staff erected there, but that the sick man declined to identify himself with the proposal. The Waikato natives constantly boasting of the superior prowess of their countrymen, and the almost impossibility of the Pakeha succeeding, indicate by the above proposal a timidity I was not prepared to give them credit for. It cannot be denied that the taking of Matarikoriko has greatly damped their expectations, and although they say there were only 7 natives killed on that occasion, I learn from natives here that the pa was in such a horrid state with the blood of the dead, that it was not tenable. It is also admitted that such a pa would not have been vacated on account of the loss of 7 men. The meeting at Taupari virtually broke up last Saturday evening, when Hori Tawahuru and party came back. From their account the meeting on the whole appears to have been satisfactory, notwithstanding the warlike expressions from Hetaraka, of Horahora, Hone Kingi, of Paetai, and others of about equal rank in and about these
localities. They say they are for Taranaki and appear to have decided upon making the sttep towards the Old Mountain, but it will be a timid step as well as a fatal step.
The natives here have been invited to attend a meeting at Pukaki which is to take place in about a week. There is also to be a great meeting at Paetai in about a fortnight to patu the whole of us for erecting a stockade at Drury, and thinking of erecting others at Maungatawhiri, the Mauku, and at waiuku, suggestions have already been made in reference to these imaginary stockades - one was to push them down - another was to commence immediate hostilitiies on the outsettlers, and another was to meet a stockade of ours by building a pa as close to it as the nearest native land will permit, this last suggestion, I hear, was most generally supported.
Yesterday a party of Ngatimahutas who passed this place for Onehunga with flour a short time since, returned. They brought two ploughs, dried shark, one case, and one box, and moved on to Purapura. Not being satisfied with the description I had received of the case, I went to Katipa and acquainted him with my suspicions, giving measons I need not now trouble you with, and proposed that Hori should go with me to make inquiries. Katipa in the presence of several of his-people consented, and gave Hori the following instructions.
''Go with Halse, and question them, if the powder should be old, it will be old powder of theirs, in that case let it go, if the powder is new, and has been secretly purchased, tell them to return it, that we may search for the Pakeha who sold it''. After this I left with Hori on the understanding that he was to conduct the inquiry which understanding was strictly adhered to. We arrived at Purapura in time to see the case and the box taken off the truck and placed on the platform. I addressed the natives in the usual manner and then sat down. Hori went to Paringaringa who was seated a short distance off, and explained to him the object of our visit. In about 10 minutes they came up to the platform, when Paringaringa told a young native who belonged to his party to open the case - The native complied and took the parcels out, partially opening them for our satisfaction. The contents of this case consisted of prints, calicoes, boots, trousers, and tobacco - hence the weight that in the first instance attracted attention - all the articles were replaced by the native who took them out. Paringaringa then asked another native gelonging to his party whether the box was locked, and on being told it was not, directed the lashings to be untied and the contents exposed to view - they consisted of various
articles of clothing, were returned by the native who took them out, and the box secured as before. You will observe that the packages were opened and the contents examined by direction of Paringaringa, a chief of Ngatimahuta, and with the consent of his people who were on the spot. Neither Hori nor myself touched a single article. A friendly conversation then took place between Hori and Paringaringa, who expressed himself satisfied and we returned to the village. On our way home we met the old chief Waikato going to Purapura and explained the business we had been upon to his satisfaction. Through some secret influence (European I believe) the whole party of Waikato natives came in during the afternoon and demanded payment from me for a false accusation, for ordering the packages to be opened, and for throwing the contents about. Two natives went so far as to say that I broke open the packages. One after the other got up, and one after the other went down without extracting utu. from me.
This morning they came again in force with the same success, when one of the number said in a low tone, ''we can't get anything from him, let us go and try Hori'', Well, they tried Hori, and he came to me, maori-like, for ''a broken pipe'', but It was of no avail, I had arrived at a
decision in this matter, and all Waikato shall not turn me, They have since written to their runanga and the runanga is expected to submit the case to the Governor, in order that way instructions may be sent to me not to interfere in any/with any thing they may think proper to bring this way. The natives have left, and Hori was invited to go with them to which I consented as it is only necessary to state the facts to silence any dissatisfaction that might be felt amongst the turbulent men of Waikato, but whe ther Hori will be honest, I am unable to say.
One word about Katipa, the sick man, whose declining health alone keeps him quiet. It was through him that Hori went with me to Purapura. It was through him that other natives followed after us to pursue and stop the canoe in the event of the natives having left before our arrival, as he, wished me not to go beyond the landing place, regarding that as my boundary. In the face of all this, he actually played upon Potatau's words ''ana te aha, ana te aha,'' and added let the Governor strike the first blow, and we will die on the land of our forefathers. This was said in a speech made/him to the very men who had endeavoured to intimidate me for three solid hours yesterday afternoon, when in the performance of what I deemed to be a public duty, and in conjunction wth himself and his people without which I never should have attempted to pursue the inquiry, as it would have been absolute folly, and could only have resulted in making the weakness of my position more palpable than is necessary. As
I succeeded in getting a peep into the packages, and should never have heard another word about it, had it not been for some vile Pakeha who, I believe, put the idea into the heads of these over credulous natives.
From the conversation I had with Reweti who came here with Hanana, I fear he is not to be depended upon.
Note: For His Excellency's perusal. Mr. Halse appears very active and zealous in the performance of his duties.
25 Jany 61
Note: Mr. Halse should be thanked and approved.
T.G.B. Jan. 25