August 24th. 1868.
I have arrived here from Wellington, authorised by the Government Agent, to take such steps as may be required in the present position of affairs in this district.
I accordingly put myself into communication with you, to obtain such information as seems necessary for the Wairoa district.
I find, on enquiring, that nothing really definite is known as to the present position of the ex-prisoners, or their movements, since the date of the engagement that took place between them and Col. Whitmore's force, beyond that these prisoners were seen on Puketapu Hill, four miles further on than the late engagement, on the 19th. inst.
It is most important to obtain information on this subject; and I write now to request you to use every exertion to obtain the services of a native Scouting party to ascertain as quickly as possible whether the enemy have retreated from Puketapu to Maungapowhetu. A knowledge of the enemy's movements is essential, before arranging any plans for the
security of the district. I feel sure I need not press upon the importance of prompt action, and I shall communicate at once to the Government that I am relying on information from you before taking any further steps.
Major Fraser inclines to think that the enemy are still at Puketapu. Others have a different opinion. Major Fraser recommends Nama, Ihakara, Te Waru, and Reihana, as the best people to employ, in obtaining this information. You, however, will be best qualified to judge upon this point. Rations for the party, Major Fraser informs me, are available at Wairoa. Expedition in obtaining the information sought, is the most important point, to getting the information itself; and I shall trust to hear from you by the end of the present week. The bearer of this is sent by Major Fraser, and will remain at Wairoa to bring your reply.
The necessary expense of the Scouting party will be paid by the Government on your certificate; and the terms I must leave to you to arrange. Should the Scouting party find the enemy have retired, they should have instructions to seek for, and bury, the bodies of our men left on the scene of the late engagement.
In the event of the Scouts finding the enemy posted at Puketapu, please collect all information in your power, as to the source from which they draw their supplies, and any other information you may deem need-ful; also how your Wairoa natives are disposed, and what assistance can be calculated upon from them, should the course of events require the protection of the Wairoa.
I hear Ihaka Whanga is discontented at the late proceedings. Should events require it, every exertion should be made to secure his co-operation. We heard of this in Wellington before I left, and Mr. McLean had no doubt that if it were so, you could, with little difficulty, secure him.
I have only to urge that you will use the utmost expedition possible in obtaining the desired information as to the enemy's movements; and relying upon hearing from you at the earliest possible date.
I am ete,
Acting for the General Govt. Agent.
S. Deighton Esq.