Letter from Col. Porter to Mr. D. McLean.
13th. January 1871.
I take the opportunity of informing you that we march tomorrow for Ruatahuna. Our going has been delayed hitherto by the men not having finished grass-cutting; but the last three days' delay has been oc-casioned by wet weather; and the rivers swollen com-pels us to remain till it subsides. Our last four days' march being up the bed of the Waikato. All pre-parations have been completed over a week, and men at Waehenga-a-hika. In the undertaking of this expedi-tion, we do so deliberately; Ropata and I having weighed all probability of success; which, so far as we can judge, are many. We may be months absent, as we do not alone intend to march through the country; but will go to any place where it is likely we may find Te Kooti. It is only in the event of either starvation, we shall give up the pursuit. I do not speak thus, dear Sir, to rouse false hopes or expecta-tions, as we are fully aware of the nature of the man we pursue; but it is from the determined spirit in
which both Ropata and myself go on the march.
With reference to stationing of men at Ruatahuna, it will entirely rest upon the aspect of the Urewera, on whose sincerity we place little reliance. I question, also, the wisdom of advising them of our coming; - Should they feel inclined to be treacherous. Several Europeans have volunteered to go upon this march; but Ropata and I thought It best to decline their services; as they are unable to carry sufficient food, and then that would become subject of ridicule to the natives. They are also ignorant of the various kinds of bush food, upon which we shall, in a great measure, have to depend; as in the country we pass through, potatoes will not be ripe. We have with us some of our Maunga Pohatu prisoners, also, Rakiroa, who I think, will be very useful, with his knowledge of the country.
Col. Whitmore paid us a flying visit here. He asked Ropata whether he had written a letter to the paper concerning him; to which Ropata replied, - "I know nothing about those sort of things." Upon which the Col. vented his spleen upon the Government, by putting the authorship upon them; as he knew no native could have written such a letter. Ropata, after
listening some time, to all the abuse of a Member of the Government, and to the flattery to himself, in the coolest manner possible, admitted he was the author of the letter; at which admission the Col, was greatly confused; and then insisted some European must have dictated it to Ropata.
Hotene Turi has just been here to see me, and seems much agrieved at youur supposed continued slight of him. He says he is going on this march on our account; but any future time he will not go if the Government order him; and alledges as a reason, your want of "aroha" towards him, in sending flour to Iharawea, and Mokena, and four tin to Ropata, but none for himself or Raniera, as formerly. I suggested it was not from neglect on your part towards him or his hapu; But that in your sight, he and Ropata were as one, being relations, and of the same tribe; and that in sending the food for the HauHaus meant for both equally, as both were supporting them. I put this to Ropata, and he asknowledged the correctness of my supposition. I thought, dear Sir, I would refer this subject to you; as it seems to have caused a great deal of jealousy in the minds of Hotene's people. I got Hotene out of his ill-humour by telling him he would go at once if Mr. McLean only asked him. Henare Potae
goes with us again on this march. He has behaved himself very well of late.
A letter has been written to the Inspector of Militia and Volunteers, asking him to retain the services of Sergeant Lesley, our Orderly Room clerk, who has been appointed sub-storekeeper at Tauranga. I should esteem it a great favour if you would recommend the retention of Sergeant Lesley, who deserves great credit for the state he has brought the Militia office into.
I have the-honour to be,
yours most faithfully,
Mr. Donald McLean.