30th March, 1861,
Having accidentally met with several Natives from the Upper Waipa District who I was well acquainted with, I entered into conversation with them and from what I gathered I do not believe that they, the Waikatos and Ngatimaniapotos, are at all anxious for peace, nor do they believe that there will be anything more than a temporary cessation of hostilities they acknowledge to a considerable loss of men, but as it is spread over a large tract of country, they do not speak of it with regret, on the contrary they insist that their losses in comparison with ours are insignificant, insisting that we conceal our losses and magnify theirs, that our Newspaper reports about the killed and wounded Maories are all false in proof of this they point out several Natives who are particularly mentioned by name and Tribe to have been killed, as still living. With the exception of the Ngatihaua Tribe residing at Maungatautari the Natives as Tribes do not appear to have joined in the War, the fighting parties have been made up by small parties from every settlement between Ngaruawahia on the North and Taupo on the South and even some few from the upper part of the Whanganui River. I was also informed that with the exception of some of the Tribes to the Northward of Auckland, every Tribe in this Island has been represented by an emissary whose duty it has been to keep his friends informed of what was going on
at the seat of War.
The Natives do not allow that they have sued for peace, all that they ask for is a cessation of hostilities during the winter, it had been determined for some time previously that the Waikatos and Ngatimaniapotos should return home and not fight during the winter months and they quietly hint at Auckland as a better fighting country when the Governor is anxious to fight again, that Taranaki is exhausted, etc.
Nor do the Natives appear to be at all depressed in spirits, on the contrary tho all very ragged and badly off for clothing, they are looking robust and healthy, and are now and have been for some time pouring in Wheat and other produce into Waiuku with which they have principally purchased clothing necessaries at the same time reserving small portions of money with which they attempt to purchase powder and caps, failing this at Waiuku, they take it away with them, they evince great anxiety to obtain these articles offerring almost fabulous prices, one instance is, offerring a Sum of seven Pounds for seven boxes (500) of Caps of a very inferior quality, again, two pounds for a single box of caps, they ridiculed the idea of the troops attacking the Waikato Country, but at the same time tryed to avoid the subject not liking the idea, evidently they are as bouncible as ever and will be so untill they are made personally and tangibly to feel the effects of the war in their own homes.
I left for Waiuku the same day as you left for Taranaki and find the old Katipa had died on Monday Evening the 25th and was buried on Thursday. He took so long dying that I think the Natives were all tired waiting, there were but very few present either at his death or burial and the Natives are now all busily engaged raking up all the bones of those who died some time ago to put in the same grave, of course I have done nothing, and this most wretched place Waiuku will give me the blue's, I believe my blood will, if I stay long in this District get stagnant, there was not any fear of such an unhappy consummation down south at Wellington. Religion and politics as represented by Hatfield and Featherston kept me alive. I shall not be able to do anything untill Aihepene comes back as this Ngatiteata Tribe is very much disorganized the old Chiefs die out but there is no one to succeed them. I think I told you that some of this Tribe some time ago spoke openly of going to Taranaki, I believe with sincerity for on making a trip thro their different settlements, I only saw two small stacks of Wheat, very few =potatoes, in fact no supplies of Food to meet the coming winter.
Trusting that His Excellency will succeed in coming to a satisfactory understanding with the Natives at Taranaki,
I am, Sir,
Very truly yours,
If you have a moment to spare write I hope you will drop me a line.