Object #1014308 from MS-Papers-0032-0024
From: Superintendent, Hawkes Bay and Government Agent, East Coast - Correspondence, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0024 (106 digitised items). No Item Description
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December 9th. 1868
I have endeavoured to keep you posted up with the course of current events here. The Mail Service (for Orderlies) seems however, in some way, to have broken down. To-day the major portion of the Wairoa Contingent arrived per ''Sturt'', pretty well fagged with their exertions. They seem to entertain an opinion that it is expected of them to form a portion of an organised body, for the attack on Puketapu. Necessarily all, or nearly all my channels of communication have been destroyed, or at any rate so much injured as to render the information, scanty as it is, sometimes doubtful. I gather, however, enough to cause me to doubt the probability of the Hau Haus permanently occulying Puketapu. ------ tells me that even in his time, 2 years since, that the Ureweras had expended much labour on their central position at Manga Powhata; and I have had abundant confirmatory evidence of this labour having been continued, and on an extended scale. The actual distance from Puketapu to Manga Powhata cannot possibly exceed 15 miles in a direct line, and may at the outside 25 by any road round about, as bush-tracks proverbially are. It is scarcely to be hoped that the Armed Constabulary, now supposed to be in pursuit of Te Kooti, will do much in the Country into which he has retired. Under any circumstances, the Wairoa Contingent will require some rest; and therefore the balance of evidence is in favor of the supposition that the enemy will have time to effect a retreat to Puketapu; and if they see good, even to Manga Powhata, before it can again strike an effective blow. By marching from here to Puketapu we run a certain risk of a possibly very long march over very difficult country; and it is well that the Government have this well before them, before entering on the Campaign. It has been a friction of time all through; and what was good to do a month ago, is not necessarily not good to do now. At the same time, the work must be done; and I will endeavour, in my next, to render the position plainer. Much will depend upon the conduct of Haparona and Te Rangi Kai Tupuake, at Tiki Tiki and Ruatahuna.
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Even on the showing of the Wairoa Contingent themselves during the last attack on the enemy's position, they were struck with sudden panic. Mr. Turton, who has excellent opportunity of judging, says, they wanted leaders, and thought that the presence of
Europeans would have been encouragement to them. I also entertain this view. The matter is, however, full of difficulties. So rare it is to find men capable of working harmoniously with natives.
It can be productive of no harm, and possibly of some good, to carefully consider the plans requisite for a thorough penetration of the dissatisfied districts. I will submit my views to your consideration; although I confess I entertain no hope of the Government adopt-Ning them.
Mr. Preece, I regret to say, is laid up for the present with an injured foot. This would be productive of delay.
I beg to remain, dear Sir, Your obedient servant (Signed)
To:- His Honor D. McLean Esq.
Superintendent, Hawkes Bay and Government Agent, East Coast - Correspondence, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0024 (106 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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