Letter from Wm. Colenso to Donald McLean Esq. dated 15th. April 1858.
15th. April 1858
Dear Mr. McLean,
A rainy day with wind from the South, keeping me indoors, enables me to put in practice what, during the last week, I have several times thought of - viz, writing you; just to let you know (in the absence of your aid Mr. Cooper, how it is with us - natives. The more so as only last Thursday I returned from Poukawa.
Well then, to begin at the beginning, I left you and Hapuku at Awanui; returning - facing the rain, I got back drenched, having had two somersets by the way; and so much bruised from the last (here too on Waitangi flats!) as to be glad enough to keep my bed for two days. Thinking, however, that you managed to get on in the rain - to say nothing of the heke! Early in the following week I got a visit from old Waka, frotn whom I got a good deal of news, - among other things - that they were dreadfully incensed at the other party's daring to sell Puhara's house; and that
they had determined Mr. C. should never dwell there. (This I have heard repeated twice since; but, as he will have to pay them money, they may not be really serious); that Renata will not remove to Omahu, but will stick hard and fast to Te Pakiaka; and by and bye, when the Mill shall be finished, will put up a permanent pa for himself, at Wakaparata.
Just at this time came two ope's; one, a kind of taua from Taupo to fight against Hapuku on account of Matin, - bringing plenty of arms and ammunition, which, I believe, has been handed over to Tareha. This party, was angry enough at H. having removed inland; and one, a deputation from Wero Wero to get these disaffected ones to attend his levee or Coronation! Twice I combatted their arguments, - here at Waitangi - assuring them that this new mode of proceedings they had pitched upon was the very rail-road to their ruin. They, modestly, and good-tempered enough, acknowledged, that all I had said they already had heard from nearly every respectable pakeha; but that inasmuch as Kawana had called for, rather, treated Potatau as a taurekareka, and had said, he should not know him as a King; and all who should, would be considered enemies, (which was all the as a challenge), he, Potatau, would shew the Native mana, and would fight!! saying, - ''Kaua koe e mahara e,
Kaore o matou hoa; he hoa ano kei to matou tuara, Ko te iwi o Paranehe'' (France). We have had letters thence, telling us to sell no more land; and the ''Pikopo's'' here are our friends, etc., etc., etc., That this was at the bottom of their thoughts, hence the making of powder and retaining gold-fields, (in order to work them), was now their main object. I sent word to Ngatikahungu not to go to the hui. But they said (to the deputation) that had peace been really and firmly made here, they would go. But as it was, Te Moananui alone should go, who left a fortnight ago. I sent strong and plain verbal messages to Potatau; which, they said, they would ''tell him, as I was a friend to the Maori'' - speaking very distrustfully, and much worse, of nearly all high authorities, - which I was very sorry to hear.
Last week another ope, - about 20, came, head-ed by Te Paerata, to get this people to the hui. He met Noa at Petani on his way North. No more, however, have gone. Tareha is busy, making his pa wakaairo smaller, more compact, and more easily defended. There is a sad split between them, and Rangihiroa, on account of the money he got from you. They did say the road from Tarawera to Mohaka should not be made by him; and I was charged to inform Mr. A. of it; and from the road to
the land being such an easy transition, they now claim afresh all lands right on to Tarawera, at least! But I should tell you that their design is, to advocate the right of Ngatimatapu, (Petane), to the land of the road-making, and the other Rangatitatanga.
We have had no news nor returns yet from Porangahau, where they are still dividing their profits. Fame says that Purvis, who is still there among them, has received £500 at least. His brother, Henry, told me, last week, that P. was going to England almost directly. Hapuku, I found busy, having got up all the take's; and in a day or so would proceed to put up the smaller fencing (Wana's), which, with aka, were all ready. Some of the posts were very large, - drawn from the Mill by 10 bullocks. I was surprised to find no one of the inland natives helping him, save Pao. Nikahere, and Pao. Kopakau. The site is intermediate between Tauatepopo and the small Kahika bush which stands in the raupo swamp; in fact, it is on the line of road as laid out by Roy; and Gill and Hap. had been having words about it; Hap. telling Gill, that if he (C) could not make a road over the lower fround, he himself would do that part. I found them all in pretty good spirits, - with a certainty of soon wanting food; which want, of potatoes especially, was sommon everywhere inland. One
very great evil I had painful proof of, - the selling of spirits by the Draymen (wholesale! and legally enough, perhaps, in 2 gall.) not only to the natives, but to the road parties. This will turn the line of road; which should be a benefit, into a curse. Hap. shewed me a block of land, between Tauatepopo and the little lake, which he intended to sell immediately to Mr. Cooper, on his return. Ho. Pura, (a Pakowhai native) had his collar-bone broken by the felling of a tree. Strangely enough, especially when considered in connection with what Karait. had said, and, subsequently, Ropiha's son and tribe. They wished me to reside among them as their Minister, - a straw thrown up shews which way the wind blows.
Perhaps you will hear from Mr. Curling that I have contracted with Gebley and Thomas to build me a house at Napier; for which Kauri, etc., has been ordered. I have also offered nearly all my lands (town and suburb) for sale; ditto the trees of this place, - as the ''Herald'' will shew. And a surveyor is now laying out the whole of that basin (Nos. 39--44, surburban) town of Napier, where I have projected a street, or Place, in the centre of the hollow, and a Terrace on the Hill. I will send you a plan when ready.
None of the natives about me know anything
certain of my movements. They have held, however, two ''Komiti's''; and I have had visits from Te Hira, and from the old lady Winipere, (Karaitiana's mother), and firewood sent by Renata!! Waka, who comes and goes, has pressed me - if I will leave - to take from their land further up the flat, or on the other side, or by the Church, or anywhere, - to all of which I am deaf, and dumb, too.
A great number of Taupo and other natives have returned; and Ngatihori and now busy working timber for their Mill. I had forgotten to say that one of this Tribe took away the Mailman's horse from him, the week after you left; alleging it as retaliation. Noa, however, made him give it back.
And now my dear Sir, adieu.
Believe me ever,
very sincerely yours
To:- Donald McLean Esq.
P.S. (on separate slip of paper) Mackenzie is in gaol.