10th April 1858
My dear Mr. McLean,
I have been trying hard during the last seven months to complete the surveys of the 55,000 acres, which I mentioned to you, before my return to town; but I find it impossible to do so, as considerable alterations have been made in the boundaries and extent of the blocks. In a few days I shall finish my survey of the twentieth block this season, comprising in all about 40,000 inclusive of native reserves which are rather numerous; Although, in a return this area seems small the amount of work, and the difficulties overcome ought, I think, principally to be taken into consideration --- I need not take up your time by minutely describing the nature and extent of my labours, as you are well aware of the difficulties Surveyors in New Zealand have to contend with, and those peculiar to Whangarei and I shall be able to shew you a plan of the blocks when I return, but I may state that in the Patana and Rahongana blocks alone I have traversed not less than ninety miles of
coast and river, where projecting rocks and cliffs rendered the way almost impassable besides being tedious, and through high Mangroves where the mud was much deeper than I could have wished, exclusive of the inland forests and fern hills.
There is only one more block besides Salmons claim that has not been surveyed: it is situated inland, between the head of the river, Wairua, and Wananake, and contains about 50,000 acres. I think the survey of it could not be completed in less than six months, as the boundary lines pass through a densely wooded, hilly country, and it can only be done in very fine weather as a large portion is swampy and some of the swamps contain water enough to float canoes after heavy rain. The land is of the poorest description of clay, and where it is open grows short fern and rushes; the swamps are covered with raupo.
I have now been seven months from town and it will be nearly eight before I can return, so that I think I am justified in finishing off for the season as it is high time for me to prepare finished plans for the Provincial Government, and as my labours have been incessant during that period, I hope to be allowed to
pass the winter months in town.
I suppose youwill now consider this district finished, for the present. Waikato is the one I should like to go to next, as it is nearest to town; and you know how much I wish be near home in future, but I shall leave these matters entirely to you, as you know best what is to be done, and I am sure you will look after my interests as much, if not more, than you would if I were always in town.
I hope you enjoyed your trip to the South. You have had fine weather lately. I suppose you are busy with the General Assembly.
I hope you will excuse the haste with which I have been obliged to write to you, and the bad pen as I have not got a good one, and believe me to be
Yours most sincerely