Object #1014920 from MS-Papers-0032-0510

8 pages written 5 Sep 1870 by Thomas William Porter in Gisborne to Sir Donald McLean in Wellington

From: Inward letters - T W Porter, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0510 (96 digitised items). 96 letters written from Gisborne and Wairoa, 1870-1876 & undated. Includes letters in Maori to Poata from R Kawhia of Tuparoa, 1876; letter to Kapene Poata from Hotene Porourangi of Waiapu, 1876.

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

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English (ATL)


5th. Sept. 1870.

Dear Sir,

When Te Kooti made the raid upon Tologa Bay, I was very sanguine of his capture, as I hoped Ropata would have been there at once but most unfortunately everything seemed to favor Te Kooti.

On my getting to Tologa I at once sent letters along the coast to Ngatiporou but from some unexplained cause they were detained at Te Mawhai.

The Luna still being unheard of I thought it best to follow on Te Kooti's trail with natives we could obtain at Tologa. They at once agreed to go with me as a representative of Ropata.

It was not my intention to attack Te Kooti but to watch him till Ngatiporou came up. I knew the natives could not be depended upon if hard fighting took place. Te aitanga a witi were never noted for courage.

We watched Te Kooti for days but owing to continued absence of Ngatiporou we were compelled to attack him which failed of success solely from fear on part of some of the Natives who eluddd Te Kooti's supposed 70 men all the plans of attack were most perfect as we were enable to get up to within 5 yards of the Whares next to the bush, without having caused any alarm. I had approached close to the whares and heard the Hauhaus talking inside, and then returned and was extending the men along each flank when firing began commenced it appears by the some three or four men who had approached the edge of the bush and suddenly finding themselves in close proximity to the whares felt constrained to open fire to relieve their minds.

I then endeavoured to get the men to rush but nearly got myself from the rear and only escaped by being in the act of jumping downwards at the time when a volley was fired by my head. I captured Kuhuru and returned and tryed to stop firing but did not succeed till I had knocked several men down with the butt of my carabine. The by this time had all bolted.

I felt very much disheartened at the failure but it was impossible to do more with the men we had to deal with. Had only a few of Ngatiporou been there Te Kooti's death was certain.

I think a letter from the Govt. giving them credit for going in chase of Te Kooti as many unthinking persons have since said they wished Te Kooti to escape as being inclined towards him. I think a letter te Te aitanga a Witi would be judicious.

Soon after our return to Warea Ropata arrived with men to follow up Te Kooti. I however then advised him not to follow but to properly organise an expedition to go for at least three months, merely anticipating the proposed one by a month or so. I knew and said how fruitless it would be to follow then as Te Kooti had no followers and no incumbrences and would travel night and day. We have since the fulfilment of my words and their assertion as all the expeditions since out have failed. Ropata would have listened to my advice but wish some one more responsible person to advise him being afraid lest Govt. should blame him for not following at once.

I came to Turanga and saw Major Westrup and asked him to advise Ropata lest he had determined to continue the pursuit and therefore told Ropata to go on. I then of course could not object further.

Ropata took some considerable time between Tologa and here. In the meantime I was compelled (though not in good health) to go up to Waikohu and to relieve Capt. Tucker who could not handle the natives properly. It was my inention to go on with Ropata.

He arrived at my camp and was still determined to follow and sent me out to obtain food. Major Westrup however had deoermined to withdraw the forces and advised Ropata to return.

In taking all things into consideration teen also advised Ropata to return for the present but start again in about a month. After all arrangements were complete to prevent T.K, escaping from Ruatahuna by the many outlets, it was also decided we should go to Opotiki to obtain information concerning the Ureweras. As it would not be wise to attempt the Ruatahuna with only 100 men not knowing whether to look upon the Urewera as friends or foes all these arrangements were all satisfactory but have most narrowly escaped falling through on account of a foolish play of temper on the part of Major Westrup and Ropata. It arose from a message from Major Westrup to Ngatiporou to hasten down as if the vessel was detained they would have to pay for it themselves. Ngatiporou were greatly incensed at this. message saying they did not ask for the vessel nor did they want to come back. The said tribes can be put on pay to look after camps but we who do the work are denied one days rest. I remonstrated with Major Westrup and Ropata and recommended them to make up their difference but neigther would be the first to submit. The affair has caused me a great deal of trouble and annoyance and although my temper was often tried sufficiently yet I was obliged to sucumb.

I have succeeded in getting Ropata to cast off his morosemess and to begin work again.

I have written these remarks so that you may clearly see and understand events that have transpired. I do not wish you to draw any inference nor allach blame to any one, as I think a cheerful letter would do more good than numberless ones of a different nature.

In concluding these remarks I sincerely hope dear Sir you will not attribute presumption on my part in thus freely discussing the affairs my superiors.

I am dear sir
Yours most faithfully,
T.W. Porter.
D. McLean Esq., Wellington.
P.S. I understand a petition as been sent referring to grant of land to Ngatiporou. I think it would be well to maturely consider before ignoring Ngatiporuus claims. T.W.P.

Part of:
Inward letters - T W Porter, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0510 (96 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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