November 2nd. 1870.
My dear Sir,
I have your private note of 28th. ulto., and am pleased you are satisfied that Major Ropata and myself are very good friends again.
Regarding the communication from Ruka to Aratapu, to you, reflecting on my conduct, - I cannot do better than leave the matter to Ropata and Captain Porter to explain, when they get to Wellington. They wish to confront Ruka (who is also going to Wellington) with you. Ropata is as angry as I am that facts should be so misrepresented. You will learn from Captain Porter the partioulars of my interview with Ropata; and as he was my interpreter throughout, he can explain the way in which he put the different subjects dwelt upon.
On my reaching Uawa on the 2nd. of August, my arrangement with Ngatiporou, was that they should start on the tracks of Te Kooti, with 20 days' provisions, the day following; and as I had already a force up the Turanga valley, at Waikoku, looking out for him crossing, I further arranged to establish a provision depot there; so that in case of need, Ropata might fall back on it for provisions.
I then returned to Turanganui; and afterwards learnt that, instead of Ngatiporou carrying out their part of the agreement punctually, they did not start from Uawa until seven days after they had promised; and did not arrive at Waikoku till 15 days after Te Koot1 had passed, - and then, quite out of provisions.
A few days previous to Ropata's arrival at the provision depot, I heard from Mr. Ormond that he felt assured that Te Kooti had reached Ruatahuna, as Captain Preece had telegraphed this information. This, I told Ropata, and asked if he would follow there; and he distinctly stated he would.
Immediately after Ngatiporou had reached the camp Waikoku, Ropata sent messages to the different native Kaingas, for men to accompany him; and at the same time, sent orders to Captain Read, for grog, clothes, etc., and from all appearances, was preparing for a considerable stay at their camp. I then saw that the stock of provisions I had accumulated with so much difficulty, would be consumed in a very short time, with little chance of keeping up the supply, unless the rivers kept down for longer intervals than they had therto done; and you must remember that my men experienced the same difficulty in transporting food across these flooded rivers, as Ropata did on his march from Uawa.
The strange part of the affair, to me, is that I should be charged with causing the return of the Expedition.
I told Ropata that he was to judge what was best to be done, and that I would assist him to the utmost; and went on to point out the situation. There were 30 days' provisions of biscuits and groceries, for the number of men he brought through with his; that, from the uncertain state of the westher, a larger supply was not to be depended upon; that unless he was prepared to go to Ruatahuna, I thought his chance of punishing Te Kooti very small; and I pointed out that the time for the Spring Expedition (October) as arranged by Mr. Ormond, was not far distent.
Both Ropata and Hotini decided to return; and I suggested that the "Tawera" schooner, then lying at Turanganui, offered a capital chance of conveyanee; and to this they assented.
I am satisfied that the en of Ngatiporou, dissatisfied with themselves, on account of the time they had wasted, seeing a chance of diverting attention from themselves, laid blame on a man who had not directed, but simply consulted and advised with their Chief, and stated nothing more than truths.
Inspector Pitt, A.C. being absent in Australia on leave at the time, caused me to entrust to Captains Tucker and Porter, duties that I otherwise should have performed myself. It was necessary that a responsible Officer should be at Turanganui, to communicate with the Government, and to plan, in emergenies, as they arose.
Mr. Randall Johnson went in the "L" yesterday, bound for Tauranga, to try his chance of success to represent the East Coast district, in the House of Assembly. As the law exists, I am afraid he cannot stand; he having neglected to register his property in the North. If it should turn out so, this distrit will be very badly represented, if a man of the class of Klly, Chadwick and Co, get returned. We are very unfortunate. Our votes are powerless, it not being legal to vote unless property has been registered in time to have the name of voter on the last Electoral Roll. This disqualifies us, and unless a dissolution of Parliament occurs in the meantime, our interests will be useless for five years. If asked to resign, I expect either Chadwick or Kelly would show a hide as thick as Colonel Haultain's on a similar occasion.
I note your information that my salary is reduced, but the official is not to hand stating to
I placed seven Troopers off pay more than a week since. There now remain but eight on pay.
Major Ropata brought a number of men in the ketch "Eagle" for service on the East Coast; and landed them here; acting, I suppose, under instructions from you, he put them on the "Luma", and has returned them to their homes.
faithfully yours (Signed)