September 18th 1866
My dear McLean,
I rode in to meet you yesterday, and I am very much disappointed that you have neither come nor written anything about the Hau Haus at Titiokura. Both Europeans and Maoris regard this affair so very differently from this, to what you and Ormond do from Wellington, that it is hardly wonderful that you were expected back as soon as it was possible for a special steamer to bring you after the arrival of the "Wellington" at Wellington on the 30th ult. Every day since that, you have been looked for, or some letter giving some one here authority to act. This is chiefly what is wanted, though I am sure you would act as well, if not betterthan Rhodes or any one, if you could be here. But so much positive harm is done by every extra days delay in noticing the misconduct, and defiance of these people that almost anybody however ill they eated could not possibly do half as much mischief as another months delay will occasion.
Personally, having beenplundered pretty constantly for the last 18 months, and having had all the sheep within 10 miles of the Hau Haus stolen by them except the
comparatively small number they could not get hold of, - why to me personally this protracted delay is not of more consequence than any other period of the same length for 18 months past. Parsons poor old fellow feels very insecure, and trusts to be protected from the Rebels.
Paul Toki, of course is the leading spirit of the whole thing, and he has been so long allowed to escape punishment that our District will never be safe till he is shot or sent to the Chathams - Hapuku has for the last three years been his adviser and abettor if he could be provided for down there I think no harm would come of it and much good.
A few (85) of Paul Tohis party are at Petane nominally to see you about some letter you have written to them and to korero. But really, because they are tired of mutton for breakfast dinner and tea, without any admixture of other food. Having extorted all Parsons can spare, they have thrown off this swarm to feed itself at Petane whence it came originally. The other rascals, the refuse of all the tribes in the island, who care precious little for any Chief of birth, and live as they can from place to place these are formed into three
parties. Originally - i.e. a month ago, when they stole my sheep and when Ormond was here - they were 270 to 300 in number. Anaru Matete had a party, Panapa had one, and the large one is Paul Tokis - in which Rangihiroa and Kipa are perhaps the men of birth. But since this they have gained recruits. A considerable party from Waikato has joined them quite lately,
They keep up all military ceremony. Sentries night and day guard the road an armed covering party goes out to protect the foragers for wood and water. They are very comfortable - having nice huts (some roofed by the pulling down of a house of mine) A paddock for their horses pretty well fenced, where my sheep or the survivors still are. And some kind of fortification which I do not yet exactly understand from the description of it given by the only person I can see, who has been really in it. This person is a half caste in my employ, he was at their camp and describes these fortifications as consisting of two blockhouses very strongly put together and on the high road.
Kopu might rout these fellows out. He would directly, I am sure, if you would not send Tareha's mob too - I fancy he does not feel safe with that lot, and I
am not sure that I should either, for if they would not actually shoot one out of treachery, I am sure they would desert you in danger out of cowardice.
If these brutes were only stamped out the District might have some chance of being quiet. Of course the injury done to property, by the depreciation caused by such affairs as the depredation of my sheep and the marching hither and thither of armed, organized, and openly hostile Natives - may easily be imagined. The effect of this long protracted suspense will be felt for years in this way. Instead of being able henceforward to talk of our security from such things we must in future not only admit that we are as liable and more so, than most Provinces, to be subjected any day to incursions -but also that such are the difficulties involved in stopping such things that we find it safer and wiser to let them do as they like, as long as they like, rather than venture upon punishment. Dear me what a really good race these Maoris must be! Had as many Irish English and Scotch been allowed to plunder without any notice being taken for a year, or two, what chance would poor Miss Parsons have run, and how long would they have confined
themselves to very modest booty of a few hundred sheep?
I understand that the party at Petane marched down in "capital order". That was Carr's opinion, and he met them on the march. I also hear that they talk of surrendering at discretion to you. But this would only be a repetition of the ceremony of swearing in, at least that is their idea, and you have tried that with Tohi once already. They are really hungry I believe, and want Rhodes to feed them.
I suppose it would not do to introduce a little "mix" or "arsenic" into the flour sent over to them? Or else they might be very profitably "fed off" at Petane. But seriously could you not perhaps manage to get them to agree to be deported to the Chathams on a promise of plenty of food for 6 months? They would do a good deal for 6 months food just now.
I am sorry to hear from Rhodes that Ormond despairs of the Poverty Bay bill. By next session there will be no longer any chance.
I was very sorry to miss you at Wellington, but I left an earnest request to you behind with Ormond, not
to let Greens affair miss fire. I am sure the very smallest exertion of your personal influence would ensure Greens appointment, and you have paved the way by what you said to Fitzherbert - Indeed I cannot see with what face they could refuse it to you.
Possibly there may be a letter for me in the mail bag, but I do not like to be away very long from my wife and station, in the present state of the country and as the Steamer is late I have been delayed already and cannot wait. If anything breaks out of course all hands from my part will go up to try to prevent harm coming to the Parsons.
Believe me in haste
Very truly yours
G. S. Whitmore
P. S. I am very thankful this business has been hitherto kept out of the papers. It shall not be my fault if it ever appears there. But if it were to appear it would do so much injury to the District and frighten ones friends so much at home that it is a relief to see it left out. It cannot be long I fancy - It is a great pity that at this moment the C.D.F. are to be disbanded. G.S.W.