Object #1012203 from MS-Papers-0032-0620

6 pages written 12 Jun 1858 by Herbert Samuel Wardell

From: Inward letters - Surnames, War - Wat, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0620 (23 digitised items). Correspondents:Herbert S Wardell, Turanga & Upper Hutt, 1857-1863 (15 letters & printed enclosure); H S Warner, 1869 (1 letter); R T Warren, Mangatora, Waipukurau & Epraima, 1863 & undated (2 letters); G M Waterhouse, Wellington (2 letters); H W Watling, 1861 (1 letter); W Watson, Tauranga, 1875 (1 letter)

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

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English (ATL)

June 12, 1858

My dear Steward,

I have observed in the Papers your return from Otago and as the Assembly is sitting you are now I presume full of work. We are in a queer state here at present in consequence of these crazy natives having taken it into their heads that they are being "done" by the Pakehas. About two months ago they had a large meeting at Taureka, a few miles from here, for the purpose, it was said of fixing the price at which they would sell their Wheat and Pigs --- it resulted in a determination not to sell wheat under 15/- per bushel nor Pigs under 9d per lb. and that until these prices were obtained anyone who sold anything to the Pakehas or paid any debt should forfeit the amount received or paid to the Runanga. this decision altho' agreed to was not satisfactory to all yet upon it they have acted --- we are put on short rations and some of them have had to pay forfeit. There was also a good deal said against the Queen's authority but enough was not said to please some of the folks, consequently another Runanga took place at the Pa-nui on the 20th ult. at which I attended by invitation. The first day was principally occupied in reconsidering their former decision about Wheat etc. and it was subsequently determined that the price here should be 1/- per bushel under the highest Auckland price with the proviso that the minimum price here should be 5/-. Pigs to be 3d. per lb. Potatoes £10 per Ton. As these prices exceed what the Traders are disposed to give --- nothing is being bought or sold. I mention these details because I am told some Petitions to the Govr. are being got up on the subject. The proceedings of the second day were more important, so much so that I have sent herewith a short report of the speeches and of my own remarks, afterwards put into a letter, and a reply I have received to it from a leader of the Runanga. I have often heard since my arrival here the Queen's authority denied but never so unanimously and seriously as on that occasion. All the tribes of this neighbourhood were represented and by their principal men. There were about five hundred present. Among the speeches you will observe those of Paratene Pototi and Kahutia both native assessors the other assessor Raharuhi Rukupo was absent intentionally but contributed largely of food.

Since the meeting there has been a good deal of talking about a "king" for this district, but they cannot fix upon their man and I see no chance at present of their doing so. They have no inclination to place themselves under Potatau --- they want a king of their own and have told me that at a meeting to be held in a month or two they will put up a Flagstaff which shall be called "King" until some one is selected for that dignity.

All this is very queer --- yet I think it will lead to a better state of things. Every man here is said to be a chief and the young have no respect for their elders. This has led produced such confusion that they now feel the want of a governing power. It remains to be seen if we shall succeed in inducing them to supply that want by yielding obedience to the law. I am sanguine that we shall. If so it will be firmness --- I do not mean necessarily by force but by firm and unequivocal language.

I am so far isolated that I have not the opportunity of consulting with my seniors in office and am therefore placed under a disadvantage in a case of this kind. I am very anxious to have the Governor's advice for my guidance in this matter.

If he thinks it necessary that I should write officially with a Report of the meeting I will do so immediately on hearing from you. Since the meeting there has been some, but not much grumbling in church at the prayer for the Queen. Referring to Hapimana's letter I will mention that he, as you will remark, was not so tremendous in his speech as most of the others therefore the letter from him is not so important as it would have been from some others.

I have written somuch on affairs of State that I hardly know how to commence on those of a private character. We have another son born on the 21st May* so that the New Zealand branch of the Wardell's appears likely to be come numerous. I am sorry to say neither Mrs. Wardell or the youngster are very well. It is a most abominable thing that we cannot get what the Americans call a "help" here --- it makes life really a hardship when feeling unwell and fatigued to have all the drudgery of a House to do. Mrs. Wardell unites with me in kind regards to yourself, the Govr. and Mrs.

*just in time to let me attend the meeting

Browne, and believe me My dear Steward
Yours very truly,
Herbert Wardell

P. S. The price given for wheat here is 4/- per bushel Natives want 6/-.

June 15. I have had one of the Petitions referred to brought to me to transmit which I have done officially --- it is from that hot brained individual Wyllie who you will remember gloried in giving me a grip which I am to remember to my dying day. I had written an article for the "Messenger" about the Meetings but have not sent it as I am doubtful how far it is wise to give publicity in a Maori newspaper to the sentiments expressed at them. If the Govr. thinks it will do good there are wiser men than I in Auckland who can write on the subject or if he wishes it I will send you my paper by next Mail.


Part of:
Inward letters - Surnames, War - Wat, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0620 (23 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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