Object #1016723 from MS-Papers-0032-0123
From: Papers relating to provincial affairs - Taranaki. Inspector of police, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0123 (71 digitised items). No Item Description
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Decr. 19th, 1846.
I have the honor to inform you that in compliance with instructions received from you some time since, I have obtained a Census of the European population located in this Settlement, likewise the extent of their cultivations and number of Live Stock. I have been longer in getting this information than I at first anticipated from the fact of not being able to see some of the parties at the time I called at their dwellings which rendering a second visit necessary, occasioned some additional trouble and loss of time. It gives me however much pleasure to state that in almost every instance the Settlers expressed their readiness to assist me in the object I had in view, the exceptions that came under my notice were so few that they do not deserve mentioning, and proceeded from individuals who had but little land or stock to boast of.
One of the first persons whom I had occasion to call upon, was Mr. Richd. Barrett, a man who has taken a prominent part in the formation of the New Zealand Companys first Settlements; it was through his intervention with the Maories that Port Nicholson was purchased and ultimately became the principal Seat of the Company's operations, subsequently his influence with Col. Wakefield caused his recommendation to be attended to respecting the site of New Plymouth; Taranaki from obvious motives, was described by Mr. Barrett as the Ne plus ultra of Agricultural Districts
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and Taranaki was accordingly fixed upon for the New Plymouth settlement, although I have heard it questioned whether a better selection might not have been made. It does not enter into my purpose to detail the life of this remarkable individual during his 20 years residence in New Zealand, yet I cannot omit noting down one of the principal events connected with his career as I received it from his own mouth and notwithstanding 12 years have elapsed since the occurrence it seems to be as fresh in his memory as if it had only recently happened. It is a description of a fight between two tribes, The Ngatiawa and Waikato and was detailed to me by the party himself as nearly as possible as follows -
''The Fight at Pukarangiora Pa occurred in 1834, the Ngatiawas numbered 1100 strong, and had to contend against 2000 of the Waikato tribe who besieged the Pa for 3 weeks, at the expiration of which the stock of provisions of the Ngatiawas becoming exhausted, they were compelled to surrender; 500 were immediately slaughtered and the remainder taken prisoners to Waikato; Mr. Barrett adds, that while this massacre was perpetrating at Pukarangiora, he, assisted by the relatives of a woman he then cohabited with, consisting of a part of the Ngamotu Pukitappu, and Ngatiawa tribes, intrenched himself at Moturoa, the enemy as was expected, made an attack a few days after, but received a warmer reception than they had anticipated, 4 iron Cannon of different calibre which had been purchased from a trading vessel some time before, proved
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of great assistance in thinning their numbers, they remained 3 weeks, and made several attempts to force the intrenchments but without success. In one of these they lost 150 men who were cut up and devoured with surprising quickness by the Ngamotu and other tribes opposed to them - To use Mr. Barretts own words, he could only compare the interior of the Pa at this time to Leadenhall Market, there were so many parts of the human frame hanging up preparatory to being cooked -
Notwithstanding the Waikatos were greatly superior in numerical strength to the Ngatiawas, the latter forced them to retreat and showed no quarter to those that fell into their hands - The Waikatos paid Muturoa a second visit about 9 years ago, they were then 4 or 500 strong and blockaded a small Island called Kimi Kotahi in order to make prisoners about 200 of the Pukitappu and Ngamotu tribes who had taken refuge there these poor wretches were captured almost without resistance and carried in slavery to the country of their conquerors. Within the last 3 or 4 years several have returned and are located in their old haunts''.
Mr. Barrett has been married for the last 5 years to the Native Woman who had before followed his fortunes, a return she deserved for a long and tried attachment. His marriage gave him additional influence over his wifes people, for the natives, seem now, fully as well as Europeans, to understand the binding nature of the marriage contract. 2 of his companions, men who had formerly been engaged with him whaling in Queen Charlottes Sound, but who accompanied him to Taranaki when he left the Southern Island, finding that
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considerable benefit accrued to their employer from a Legal Union with his concubine, took it into their heads to follow his example, one of them a man of the name of Bandy married a woman he had been previously keeping belonging to the Pukitappu tribe, another called Crawley took a girl, native of Nga Aitene, in the neighbourhood of Otago; there is a person also named Robert Sinclair at Maturoa who is living with a female of Nga Tiappa tribe, Manawatu, but not legally married to her - All these men are benefitted in a greater or less degree by these connexions, their partners besides supplying them with Pork and potatoes manage the interior of the domestic establishment equally as well as European women and the offspring from the two races are as fine a specimen of half castes as can be seen.
I cannot dismiss the subject of Mr. Barrett and his party without acknowledging the readiness with which Mr. Barrett afforded me information on every required topic, and before we parted he requested me to assure you that he should always feel the greatest pleasure in rendering you any assistance that lay in his power -
In reference to the cultivations, those in the immediate neighbourhood of Moturoa are few belonging to Europeans, this part of the settlement not being in the block purchased by Government will account for the small proportion of land broken up. Mr. Barretts farm is the only one of any consequence - proceeding inland from Muturoa in a S.E. direction by a good road there is a beautiful spot known as Barretts Lagoon, it has even now in its natural state
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quite a Parklike appearance and a few hundred Pounds expended in improvements would make it one of the prettiest places in the District.
Amongst the neatest farms in the neighbourhood of Mr. Turtons (the Wesleyan Missionary residence) I may class that of Mr. Wheeler, he informed me however that he was only a Tenant on this Estate and considers himself a great loser by not being able to obtain possession of his own land; as Mr. Wheeler himself has drawn out a very lucid statement of the peculiar hardship of his case, which statement will accompany this report I shall not here make further allusion to it than to express an earnest wish that this highly respectable person in common with many others similarly situated may shortly obtain that to which they are entitled.
The wheat throughout the settlement has generally speaking a very healthy colour; I must however except that between the Town and Captn. Creagh's residence which looks both yellow and parched and will I fear produce but a poor return for the labour bestowed on its cultivation. As far as it is possible to judge at present, I think I shall not be far out in my calculations in putting the average crop this year at 25 bushels per acre; there are many of course who will obtain more, but a great number are likely, if the dry weather continues to obtain much less. Taken as a whole, the Messieurs Davy have the heaviest crop and it has attracted my attention more on account of its having been grown upon Fern land, which fully proves that land of that description can be made as productive as timber land
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if properly managed.
The long continued drought, will it is feared be the reverse of beneficial to the barley and prove very injurious to the Potatoes and turnips. The latter have already, on many farms been completely destroyed, a great loss to the owners who rely in a great manner on this Vegetable for the support of their cattle during the Winter Months.
The present appearance of our bullocks and cows fully bears out what has often been said of Taranaki, Namely that it is a country well suited for rearing live stock; left to shift for themselves it is difficult to say what the cattle eat; let it be what it may, they look in as good condition as if they fed on the finest Lincolnshire grasses - The few horses in the settlement do very well during the summer on the indigenous grass, but in the winter require some more nutritious food to keep them in working order. Sheep thrive better on artificial grasses than the natural pasture, the latter is too coarse and not eaten by them unless driven to do so by hunger - For large flocks, the open plains to the Southward are more adapted and in the course of time when the disputes arising out of the conflicting land claims, become settled rearing sheep will be found a much more profitable occupation than tilling the soil. Farming hitherto, has paid those who have devoted themselves to it, but indifferently; The price of Labour at one time completely
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absorbed all profit, and when a reduction took place with it also came a reduction in the price of produce; The heavy prices charged by Storekeepers for articles of the first necessity is another cause tending to injure the prospects of the Agriculturist; The condition of the farm Laborer, on the other hand, is much improved since he came out here, he has 2/6 a day - good wages considering he has neither rent Taxes or firing to pay for, which items fall heavily on the working classes at home. Almost all the Laborers in this Settlement have from 2 to 5 acres under cultivation. Some of them indeed have considerably more as you will perceive on referring to the accompanying census. A good threshing machine to reduce the price of threshing by hand would be a great desideratum, and I cannot help feeling surprised that some of our men of Capital have not been spirited enough to introduce one; they would by so doing, put money in their own pockets and confer a benefit on the Settlement - In addition to the 2 mills already put up, there is a third in the course of erection to be named the Union Flour Mill. So called from a number of parties having contributed towards the expense of construction - On the 9th inst. the ceremony of laying the foundation Stone took place and it is long since New Plymouth witnessed a gayer scene; in the evening the Shareholders had a grand dinner to celebrate the event and did not separate until a late hour - an attempt at extortion on the part of the millers, induced in the first instance
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2 or 3 influential Settlers to suggest the scheme which is now being carried into effect; if the original plan is adhered to, that of only charging the lowest possible price for grinding, every Settler in New Plymouth will have reason to bless the day the Union Mill was put up -
Very few of the Settlers are provided with Fire arms, or indeed weapons of any description. I do not believe that amongst them all they could muster 25 firelocks fit for use; so that in the event of occasion requiring it, they would be in a very defenceless state. The Natives are now in possession of all the guns originally belonging to the white people, which they have obtained from time to time in exchange for Pigs and other commodities.
Of Maories employed by Europeans I only know of 3 or 4. These are always to be met with at the Stores of Messieurs R. Brown and Dorset, who reward their services by occasional presents of articles of clothing. The Collector of Customs also keeps a native Servant, who is I believe paid in a similar manner -
The Settlers continue on friendly terms with the Natives - both are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Governor Grey, the whites to be put in poosession of their land, and the Maories to know what utu they are to get for it; some of the aborigines however refuse altogether to part with certain portions to which they lay claim, and I fear that compulsion will be necessary to induce them to do so; of these, are the Hua and Waitara Natives, who in concert with the Pukitappu tribe have always been the most troublesome to Europeans, and would be the first to take advantage of their defenceless state, if they thought they could do so with impunity -
I have the honour to remain, Sir, Your most obt. Servt.,
Donald McLean, Esqre., Inspector of Police.
Papers relating to provincial affairs - Taranaki. Inspector of police, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0123 (71 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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