Object #1017546 from MS-Papers-0032-0002

4 pages written 11 Jul 1845 by Sir Donald McLean in New Plymouth District to George Clarke in Auckland Region

From: Protector of Aborigines - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0002 (34 digitised items). Includes correspondence with George Clarke, Chief Protector of Aborigines and others relating to Maori affairs in the Taranaki and Wanganui area. Includes list of the principal chiefs of the Puketapu tribe (1845), many of whom had settled at the unoccupied Ngati Toa pa at Te Uruhi on the Kapiti Coast; a report by Rev. Skevington on a dispute between Taupo and Wanganui Maori; description of the boundaries of the small block including the town and suburbs of New Plymouth, 22 Nov 1844 and lists of expenses incurred by McLean carry out his official duties

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

English (ATL)

Taranakie, New Plymouth,
11th July, 1845.

The Chief Protector of Aborigines, AUCKLAND.

I do myself the honour to acquaint you that in consequence of the various local difficulties more especially those connected with the land question having been settled and the natives about here becoming gradually better disposed and more satisfied with the protection afforded them by Government, I considered an opportunity offered to visit those parts of my district I had not yet seen. In furtherance of which I left New Plymouth, in April last and proceeded to Mokau, my attention having been first directed towards that place from reports of the unkind treatment often experienced by European travellers and which no doubt has been frequently brought under your notice. On my arrival the Chiefs of that River assembled when I pointed out to them various matters respecting their behaviour to Europeans, their conduct to each other and the various duties they ought to observe, with, whatever I could think of that might advance their social improvement; they appeared to appreciate my visit and listened attentively to my replies to their inquisitive enquiries. They are quite unacquainted with European habits and customs or form of Government and seem to have had no intercourse but with a few Europeans whose evil precepts tended more to injure and debase and utterly destroy what was good in the New Zealand character, and more such persons still are numerous amongst them their baneful influence would perhaps lead to the same serious results which have to be contended with in other parts of the Island; - but fortunately many of those worthless characters have disappeared and a person has been placed there as a teacher by the Revd. J. Whitely, who with the influence of that Gentleman will it is hoped succeed in raising their character. Whilst here I intended going to the source of the river to Wakatumutunui, but not finding a canoe ready as soon as I wished and hearing that all was tolerably quiet at New Plymouth I extended my journey to Kawia Mr Whitely's; and then proceeded into the interior, meeting various tribes at the places I passed through engaged in reintering their dead, a ceremony which occasions a collection of many natives and which gave me an opportunity of making acquaintance with several Chiefs I should not otherwise so easily have met with and of conversing with them respecting the disasters at the Northern part of the Island, of which they had only imperfect accounts and eagerly questioned me on, pointing out his Excellency's desire of promoting their general interests and prosperity and of governing the Island in peace and tranquility, that they need be under no apprehension respecting themselves the (Here paper torn) la roperty that defrauds or other improper conduct of Europeans would (paper torn) investigated and impartial justice administered at the same time it would be necessary for them to be cautious in making contracts with strangers without the advice of their Missionaries or other friends, as well as observe a quiet and peaceable demeanour with all with whom they have intercourse. At one of those places I met Taonui the principal Chief and Mokau with Te Pakene of Kawia, who is married to his sister.

A few days prior to my arrival a chief had robbed a European of all his moveable property under the pretence of having a claim on his wife who was a native and had been married some years before to her present husband by Mr Whitely. I saw this Chief on the subject, when he said that the European's wife had been formerly living with a native who died and that by native custom his younger brother was entitled to her, that he was displeased with her father for having given her to an European and that as a relative and on behalf of the younger brother of the former husband he had taken the goods as payment, he was for some time obstinately determined to keep them, but at length with the assistance of Te Pakene the articles consisting of blankets clothes tobacco, etc. were all laid at my tent door on the morning of my departure from that Settlement.

In my journey to Wakatumutunui I was overtaken at a Wesleyan Catechist's station, where I had stopped for the night by two messengers from Mr Whiteley's with letters from Taranaki and Wanganui, when I learned all was quiet at the former place and that the latter alone entertained fears of an attack from Natives as you will perceive by a copy of the enclosed letter from the Police Magistrate. As I was in the neighbourhood of some of the parties they dreaded, who assured me they had no such intention, I considered it necessary to pursue my course to Taupo and visit Heuheu on whose influence would depend the safety of the Settlers at Wanganui in the event of an attack. From Wakatumutunui a guide went with me to Tuhua, a distance of fifty six miles through a wild marshy forest country where we had to carry provisions for the journey, this occasioned the assistance of additional natives. I had also with me a young boy son of Te Pakene who is here attending school.

At Tuhua I was detained a day or two, from the difficulty of procuring assistance, my own natives being completely knocked up from fatigue and the severity of the weather, and only two able to proceed to Taupo, where we had again to carry our provisions through a forest country. At Taupo I met with a most friendly reception from Heuheu, when after partaking of some food, he introduced me to the different members of his family, commenced talking about the Bay of Islands, of Mr Shortlands visit and the pleasure he had in seeing him and hearing the news from the North adding that he was always happy to be visited by respectable Europeans. In speaking of Hone Heke, "he said he considered him to be in the right, that he was asserting his freedom and that of his country that "Pakehas", Europeans, had advised him to what he had done and that the Government intended to deprive the New Zealanders of their lands their liberty and their rights as Chieftains; but that they would be found a determined race of people, strong (paper torn) in in war, and not easily subdued." - The English were (paper torn) people desirous of conquering all natives - That Napoleon Buonaparte would have been a match for them had he not been taken by stratagem." The Americans also were too strong for us, but that the natives of Port Jackson had fallen victims to our avarice, which he feared would ultimately be the fate of himself and people". Iwikau his Brother urged the same arguments, "saying that he himself was at the Bay of Islands when Captain Hobson, first arrived, that the Ngapuhi natives viewed His Excellency with suspicion, having been told that his object was to deprive them of their lands and which occasioned the movements of Government to be watched with jealousy, and suspicion and that the disasters that have happened since were the natural result." He has frequently advised other tribes not to encourage the Settlement of Europeans amongst them, other than traders who brought them blankets and tobacco, in exchange for their productions and never troubled them for land; but that he and his Brother had notwithstanding been imposed on by one had taken several pigs from them, without payment, for which he would have satisfaction from some European traveller passing that way.

This was one reason why he had not more strenuously prohibited the robberies on the settlers at Wanganui.

The Chiefs along the Coast might very properly have Settlers amongst them." Having fully replied to all they advanced I endeavoured to convince them that many of their impressions were very erroneous, at the same time that their informants, were more to blame than themselves regretting they had sustained loss from the Traders and that in future if reported to the Chief Protector, would be enquired into, when such conduct would be punished as it deserved. Before I left I could perceive that Heuheu and his relatives were impressed with what I had said in our several conversations and many of their prejudices removed. Heuheu assured me that "he was not desirous for war, but an advocate for peace," which after having satisfaction for his people killed at the Bay of Islands he would advise the Governor to declare. He also suggested that no more flagstaffs similar to that at Koiraho (? Kororareka) be erected, especially at Port Nicholson, from whence the Natives had sent word, they would oppose it, and he had heard that they intended retaining possession of the land at the Hutt and had even sent messengers to ascertain if assistance would be afforded in the event of a collision with the settlers, which he refused" - A Tauha (? taua) had been sent him from the East coast signifying that assistance would be rendered him in the event of his renewing the attack on "Ihupuku" which he returned as he would not break his promise not to molest that place without fresh provocation." - He had also advised the tribes at Maketu a few of whom were desirous of joining Heke against doing so. The natives of Wanganui who grossly insulted Heuheu and the Waikato chiefs by curses and stopping some of their canoes in coming up the river he wished me to reprimand for such conduct as such curses were estimated by them as the greatest insult that could be offered and seldom passed unavenged. - One of the Traders before alluded to as having imposed on Heuheu remained behind at this place and having been sent for by his partner who had come to trade for pigs at Tuhua - Heuheu consented to his going on condition that he should return, being satisfied with his conduct whilst there and not wishing him to leave: - Iwikau offered to accompany this person who in his estimation was a kind of hostage for the other, it was then agreed that he should overtake me on the road a days journey from Taupo, which he did with twenty followers armed with Tomahawks, but being Sunday, I persuaded them to remain till Monday morning. My Waikato guide immediately sent a messenger to Tuhua, to acquaint the people there that Iwikau was on his way to them, and as his name was sufficient to raise their fears, preparations of defence were made with a determination to resist any attack on them the European or his property. I arrived first at the Settlement I found the people all in arms muskets loaded Tomahawks in readiness and presenting a most exciting scene. The trader considering himself secure, on speaking to him said he would not pay anything more, but would rather lose his life than his property. I however succeeded in getting the natives to lay aside their arms and offered to enquire into the matter in contention between the parties. On Iwikau's appearance I met him, and he sat down with his followers whilst we talked the matter over. He appeared greatly enraged, as well as the trader, with difficulty they were induced to observe the Silence necessary in laying a case before a third party. I at length succeeded, when I found it was a complicated matter impossible to reconcile the parties by postponement and therefore recommended part of a cask of Tobacco to be handed over to Iwikau, which fortunately gave complete satisfaction - I was then enabled to pursue my journey which I did with the pleasing reflection of having prevented the probable loss of many lives in the affair just related.

On passing down the River Wanganui I was struck with the denseness of the population on the northern banks the inaccessible situation of many of their "Pahs" only to be approached by ladders up the steep sides of precipices and which places as fenced by nature have been their safeguard when attacked by the otherways irresistible force of the Waikatos, who failed in their attempts to subdue the inhabitants of those rugged wilds, when other parts of the Island were obliged to submit - This part of the river has been rarely visited by Europeans which caused them to think the more of my coming to see them at a time when the Island was under such excitement; they manifested great anxiety to learn the intentions of the Waikatos and Taupos towards them, from whom they were in daily fear of an attack more especially those towards the Coast whose situation being more unprotected from the flatness of that part of the Country, had greater occasion to dread an hostile incursion. They were pleased to learn that Heuheu had preferred my interference to a visit from himself, and all to the Mission station at the entrance of the River promised to refrain for the future from provoking the anger of the tribes in the interior and through me wrote a friendly letter to Heuheu by the return Canoe that carried me down the River - In returning from Wanganui to New Plymouth I visited Ihupuku where there are always a large body of natives; these I found agitated by various fears, not only of an attack from the Taupos, but also from a suspicion that the Government after quelling the revolt in the North might be inclined to seek satisfaction from the inhabitants of the other parts of the Island agreeably to their own Custom in such cases. I assured them from the latter they need have no apprehension, and from the former their own conduct would be the best preventive, giving the message sent by "Heuheu", at this they were greatly pleased and appeared to think the presence of a young Waikato Chief with me an earnest of good feeling towards them. The want of influential Chiefs amongst this people is greatly felt by themselves, as well as by their Missionaries and Protectors being often led to commit serious acts that well disposed chiefs would prevent, and which sometimes end in loss of life. I am sorry to state two instances of this nature have recently occurred at Irangahoi near Waimate; the death of one was occasioned by his having killed some pigs which were destroying his Kumara plantations, and the other in a quarrel between two young men about a native female. These murders caused considerable sensation, some of the natives desiring that the murderers should be brought to New Plymouth to be punished according to English law, whilst others opposed it. I would here remark that the frequent visits of the Protector to those parts of the district less under the influence of Chieftainship would prevent many such occurrences by deciding the disputes which led to them.

The number of Natives returning from captivity; as well as from Cooks Straits, also frequently occasion disputes, some of them I was enabled to decide which having done I returned to New Plymouth, where I was glad to find no serious difference had arisen during my absence.

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient Servant, (Sgd)
Donald MacLean
Pro. Aborigines Westn. District.
The above copy is merely sent to shew you how I was employed when visiting the several tribes of my district and to give an idea of the Protectorate duties, of course you will only receive this as intended for your own and my Uncle's perusal it being a Govt. document, still I do not suppose if any of your friends wished that there would be any objection to take extracts from it.

Your affectionate Nephew,
Donald McLean.

Part of:
Protector of Aborigines - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0002 (34 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)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1017546). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments