Object #1017652 from MS-Papers-0032-0276

6 pages written 5 Aug 1854 by Josiah Flight to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Josiah Flight, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0276 (45 digitised items). 43 letters addressed from Mangoraka, Te Ika Moana, Resident Magistrate's Office, New Plymouth, Henui, 1846-1872, and undated. Also letter from A D Flight, 6 Mar [187-], New Plymouth to Sir Donald McLean; letter from Josiah Flight to Thomas Kelly, 22 Jul 1870 re Cape Egmont Flax CompanyAlso poem addressed to `My dear Donald McLean' entitled `No Land' (on verso) written by Josiah Flight

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

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English (ATL)

5th. August 1854.


My dear McLean,

The Steamer not having yet called here, an opportunity is afforded me of writing to inform you of what I suppose Mr. Cooper has officially reported to you on. It appears that a tract of land, being a continuance of the Bell Block inland was offered by Rawiri and Poara with others for sale, when Cooper told them they must first cut the boundaries and Thursday was appointed for their doing so. Accordingly on the morning of that day Rawiri Paora and others together twenty three set off unarmed to cut the line when they were at the commencement met by Katatori and about twenty of his followers who deliberately and otherwise unprovoked fired on Rawiri's party killing four on the spot and wounding several more. Paora died yesterday, and Rawiri, (our assessor), is lying at the Hospital with very slight hopes of his recovery, there are 5 more at the Hospital wounded more or less severely. There has been no fighting since, but all sorts of rumours are afloat as to the intentions of the Maoris. From all I can hear the attack was a most cowardly and dastardly act as Rawiri's party went without arms, he telling them that the other party were their near relations and would not "kill" them. I do not see that the Europeans can be at all mixed up in this matter for the case divested of all extraneous matter stands thus Rawiri and party wish to sell land to the Government, to effect a sale they must exercise and shew a n act of ownership, in doing so they are opposed by Katatore and his party, and in the affray several

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English (ATL)

of their party are killed and wounded. But when we look on the matter in connexion with their position as British subjects I deeply regret our physical inability to uphold the justice of our laws by bringing the offenders to their trial, and if as I sadly believe a foul murder has been committed to carry out the sentence that must follow. I believe however that any force that could at present be spared if sent here would be insufficient to capture the offenders and prevent the consequent rising of the disaffected Natives to the North and South of us. Prudence therefore with us must be used and whilst we mourn the loss of our friends who have fallen use great diligence in endeavouring to disabuse the minds of their opponents who are their own more than our enemies. Sunday 6th. This far had I written when the arrival of my brother Magistrates at the Office who had been convened for the purpose of deliberating on an application expected to be made for supplying the Hua natives with arms and ammunition; and to consult on the present position of the Province as affected by our relation to the Natives prevented any proceeding with my letter. I will therefore briefly put you in possession of the results of our deliberations. To the application of the Natives for a supply of arms etc. the whole of the magistrates assembled (Cat. King, I.P. King, Leach, Halse, Cooper and myself) concurred in the opinion that it could not for an instant be entertained. They likewise approved of the precaution that had been taken by the R.M. who acting on the advice of Mr. Cooper and Mr. Halse had issued a caution to the Europeans against interfering in any way the Natives in their quarrel. Two of the Magistrates expressed strongly an opinion that the Government should be urged to take steps for punishing the Natives implicated in this affair, but the general feeling was that after making as full a report as could be obtained, the matter should be left to be dealt with by the Government in the way it thought best. On my return to the Enui in the Evening Mr. Turton called on his way back from a visit to Katatore and gave me his (Whaitore's) verson of the whole affair which puts it in a somewhat different light. He says that between him and Rawiri there had been some disputes about land, that in consequence the latter

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English (ATL)

had applied to Mr. Cooper offering to sell a block of land, to some portion of which he laid a claim, and which he says you guarranteed his undisturbed possession of as far as its being included in any block negotiated for on behalf of the Government: that previous to the Wednesday on which the party went to Mr. Cooper to offer ft they had without Whaitere's knowledge cut some portion of the line; that on Wednesday Evening after Rawiri had returned from thus offering the land he Whaitere sent Karipa with a message to tell him not to attempt to mark the boundaries as there would be opposition that he received for an answer they should come; that he sent Karipa a second time to say that if they persisted in carrying out their intentions they must come armed as he and his party should oppose them with arms: (N. B. This is admitted by some of the survivors of Rawiri's party). That on Thursday morning he again told Karipa to take a message to Rawira warning him against the attempt, but which message Karipa was afraid to or did not deliver: that they Whaitere's party met the others near the disputed ground, coming without guns to cut the line where Whaitere brandished his gun high above his head, then fired one barel into the air, and the other into the ground to warn them off; but that instead Rawiri's party rushed towards them Whaitere having only just time to reload, and on the parties closing firing commenced when four were shot dead on the spot, two Paora and Rawiri mortally wounded (the latter died this morning) and six or seven more or less severely wounded. He stated his party to have numbered twenty eight, Rawiri's twenty six. Mr. Turton brought me a letter from Whaitere a copy of which I will send you. On being asked by Mr. Turton what his intentions were, he replied that he had always acted openly and he should continue to do so; that if the Whites interfered in any way his quarrel would be taken up by the Whaitera and other Natives; that if they abstained and any further fighting took place amongst themselves he should warn the Europeans to leave that neighbourhood as they might meet with some accident; but as soon as the fighting was over they might come again to their lands as they had a right to them the district having been fairly purchased and he had received some of the money for it. He was hurt at the dead being buried where they fell as he said that was his ground and threatened opposition to the burial of Rawiri should he die if his people attempted to bury him

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English (ATL)

there. Rawiri as I before said having died this morning Mr. Turton rode to the Ua with the hope that he might persuade Erira and his people to bury the corpse by the side of Rawiri's father and elder brother, but was unsuccessful the Natives stating their firm determination to bury him on the land where his bloood was spilt. Mr. Turton will D.V. see Whaitere tomorrow morning before the funeral and if possible prevail on him to stay within his pah. We feel the greatest anxiety for the result. Mr. Turton in his conversation remarked that the defeated party feel extremely sore not only at having lost so many of their men but also at their being prevented from selling their rights to the land, and said that it had suggested itself to his mind as something worth considering the propriety of Government purchasing their rights leaving it to the opposing party to sell theirs at any future period when disposed to do so. This might be down by Map and Deed without the risk of collision, and would tend very much to allay the angry feeling that now exists, whilst the opposing party seeing that they no longer could annoy by their opposition might possibly be soon induced to come into the transaction. Mr. Turton also said the Natives expressed a strong wish to see you and really I believe were you here you might do more good than a whole regiment of soldiers. I had forgotten to say that old Erira is obstinately bent on tappuing the road against the Maoris to the north of his pah. Monday 7. The Ua Natives have come to the Hospital this morning for Rawiri's corpse and several of the Moturoa and Kauwau Natives have gone down with them armed. Cooper, H. Halse, Rogan, D. Wilson and Mr. Turton have also gone but only the last will appear near the grave, the others will remain at a distance but still near enough to render assistance in case of affray to any of the wounded of either party. Paramu and E Waka have joined in with Rawiri's party and have gone with them. On his return Mr. Turton called at my house to inform me of the day's proceedings, and from him I learn that on reaching the Ua the Burial service was read by him over Rawiri's corpse, when the party joined by Karipa (who appears to have absented himself from the fight on Thursday, staying in the pah the while) with

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English (ATL)

the Waionga natives numbering say thirty moved off in a body of about one hundred and twenty to the place of interment round which they kept guard whilst the grave was dug, the coffin was lowered into it and many rounds were fired over it. In the meantime Mr. Turton went to Whaitere at this pah when with about twenty four or five of his people he found him in moody silence. Mr. Turton who was the bearer of the joint letter of myself and Cooper in reply to Whaitere's told him he had brought two messages one from the Maoris which he would first deliver. He reminded him of the conversation they had on the previous Saturday about the burial of the dead on his land and spoke of the threat he then made that should Rawiri's people attempt to bury him there he would oppose it and said "Your speech was that, that would be or was your hill and there more blood would be spilt: the Maoris have prepared your hill --- If you choose to go into it, it is ready for you: but if you choose to save your life you can do so by staying within your pah: there is (naming the principal fighting men of the various villages) now assembled around Rawiri's grave: It is for you to make your choice." Keeping a moody silence himself Tamiona spoke for the people there "It is enough about the grave we will stay here." Mr. Turton told them such conduct proved their former act to be a murder as they shewed themselves afraid to meet an armed party against them. He then said his other message was from the Europeans and produced our letter which was read aloud and produced the letter written by Whaitere to the Governor. The road and beach were placed under tapu as against the Natives but not against Europeans. Having

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English (ATL)

now brought my narrative of this mournful occurrence to a close and having to furnish a despatch for Government I will only express my admiration at the untiring labour of our friend Mr. Turton in this affair and the hope that such arrangements may be made as wll permit you to proceed to this place where you may lend your powerful assistance in calming the irritation of the Natives and enabling us to turn this bitter draught into a medicine that shall operate for the healing of the wounds of the survivors. Tuesday 8th. With regard to the Native prisoner Mr. Richmond (who is acting for the Superintendent during his absence) having advised with me on the matter has come to the decision in which I fully concur that under the circumstance in which we are placed, though we are unable to forward the witnesses who should appear against him, yet as his life would be endangered by discharging him here, it would be more prudent to send him to Auckland to take his trial; when on his discharge something might be done for him to protect him from Whaitere's people, who in their present humour would most likely ill him. In a conversation with Mr. Riemenschneider yesterday he spoke strongly of the danger that would be likely to result from sending a military force to this district. Rawiri's son has been placed by his people with Mr. Turton to be brought up as their chief. The Cashmere which will most probably take this letter and our dispatches as we expect her to sail to night brought us some people, I am told sixty or more. Accept united regards from my family.


Yours very faithfully
Josiah Flight.

English (ATL)

5th. August 1854.


My dear McLean,

The Steamer not having yet called here, an opportunity is afforded me of writing to inform you of what I suppose Mr. Cooper has officially reported to you on. It appears that a tract of land, being a continuance of the Bell Block inland was offered by Rawiri and Poara with others for sale, when Cooper told them they must first cut the boundaries and Thursday was appointed for their doing so. Accordingly on the morning of that day Rawiri Paora and others together twenty three set off unarmed to cut the line when they were at the commencement met by Katatori and about twenty of his followers who deliberately and otherwise unprovoked fired on Rawiri's party killing four on the spot and wounding several more. Paora died yesterday, and Rawiri, (our assessor), is lying at the Hospital with very slight hopes of his recovery, there are 5 more at the Hospital wounded more or less severely. There has been no fighting since, but all sorts of rumours are afloat as to the intentions of the Maoris. From all I can hear the attack was a most cowardly and dastardly act as Rawiri's party went without arms, he telling them that the other party were their near relations and would not "kill" them. I do not see that the Europeans can be at all mixed up in this matter for the case divested of all extraneous matter stands thus Rawiri and party wish to sell land to the Government, to effect a sale they must exercise and shew a n act of ownership, in doing so they are opposed by Katatore and his party, and in the affray several of their party are killed and wounded. But when we look on the matter in connexion with their position as British subjects I deeply regret our physical inability to uphold the justice of our laws by bringing the offenders to their trial, and if as I sadly believe a foul murder has been committed to carry out the sentence that must follow. I believe however that any force that could at present be spared if sent here would be insufficient to capture the offenders and prevent the consequent rising of the disaffected Natives to the North and South of us. Prudence therefore with us must be used and whilst we mourn the loss of our friends who have fallen use great diligence in endeavouring to disabuse the minds of their opponents who are their own more than our enemies. Sunday 6th. This far had I written when the arrival of my brother Magistrates at the Office who had been convened for the purpose of deliberating on an application expected to be made for supplying the Hua natives with arms and ammunition; and to consult on the present position of the Province as affected by our relation to the Natives prevented any proceeding with my letter. I will therefore briefly put you in possession of the results of our deliberations. To the application of the Natives for a supply of arms etc. the whole of the magistrates assembled (Cat. King, I.P. King, Leach, Halse, Cooper and myself) concurred in the opinion that it could not for an instant be entertained. They likewise approved of the precaution that had been taken by the R.M. who acting on the advice of Mr. Cooper and Mr. Halse had issued a caution to the Europeans against interfering in any way the Natives in their quarrel. Two of the Magistrates expressed strongly an opinion that the Government should be urged to take steps for punishing the Natives implicated in this affair, but the general feeling was that after making as full a report as could be obtained, the matter should be left to be dealt with by the Government in the way it thought best. On my return to the Enui in the Evening Mr. Turton called on his way back from a visit to Katatore and gave me his (Whaitore's) verson of the whole affair which puts it in a somewhat different light. He says that between him and Rawiri there had been some disputes about land, that in consequence the latter had applied to Mr. Cooper offering to sell a block of land, to some portion of which he laid a claim, and which he says you guarranteed his undisturbed possession of as far as its being included in any block negotiated for on behalf of the Government: that previous to the Wednesday on which the party went to Mr. Cooper to offer ft they had without Whaitere's knowledge cut some portion of the line; that on Wednesday Evening after Rawiri had returned from thus offering the land he Whaitere sent Karipa with a message to tell him not to attempt to mark the boundaries as there would be opposition that he received for an answer they should come; that he sent Karipa a second time to say that if they persisted in carrying out their intentions they must come armed as he and his party should oppose them with arms: (N. B. This is admitted by some of the survivors of Rawiri's party). That on Thursday morning he again told Karipa to take a message to Rawira warning him against the attempt, but which message Karipa was afraid to or did not deliver: that they Whaitere's party met the others near the disputed ground, coming without guns to cut the line where Whaitere brandished his gun high above his head, then fired one barel into the air, and the other into the ground to warn them off; but that instead Rawiri's party rushed towards them Whaitere having only just time to reload, and on the parties closing firing commenced when four were shot dead on the spot, two Paora and Rawiri mortally wounded (the latter died this morning) and six or seven more or less severely wounded. He stated his party to have numbered twenty eight, Rawiri's twenty six. Mr. Turton brought me a letter from Whaitere a copy of which I will send you. On being asked by Mr. Turton what his intentions were, he replied that he had always acted openly and he should continue to do so; that if the Whites interfered in any way his quarrel would be taken up by the Whaitera and other Natives; that if they abstained and any further fighting took place amongst themselves he should warn the Europeans to leave that neighbourhood as they might meet with some accident; but as soon as the fighting was over they might come again to their lands as they had a right to them the district having been fairly purchased and he had received some of the money for it. He was hurt at the dead being buried where they fell as he said that was his ground and threatened opposition to the burial of Rawiri should he die if his people attempted to bury him there. Rawiri as I before said having died this morning Mr. Turton rode to the Ua with the hope that he might persuade Erira and his people to bury the corpse by the side of Rawiri's father and elder brother, but was unsuccessful the Natives stating their firm determination to bury him on the land where his bloood was spilt. Mr. Turton will D.V. see Whaitere tomorrow morning before the funeral and if possible prevail on him to stay within his pah. We feel the greatest anxiety for the result. Mr. Turton in his conversation remarked that the defeated party feel extremely sore not only at having lost so many of their men but also at their being prevented from selling their rights to the land, and said that it had suggested itself to his mind as something worth considering the propriety of Government purchasing their rights leaving it to the opposing party to sell theirs at any future period when disposed to do so. This might be down by Map and Deed without the risk of collision, and would tend very much to allay the angry feeling that now exists, whilst the opposing party seeing that they no longer could annoy by their opposition might possibly be soon induced to come into the transaction. Mr. Turton also said the Natives expressed a strong wish to see you and really I believe were you here you might do more good than a whole regiment of soldiers. I had forgotten to say that old Erira is obstinately bent on tappuing the road against the Maoris to the north of his pah. Monday 7. The Ua Natives have come to the Hospital this morning for Rawiri's corpse and several of the Moturoa and Kauwau Natives have gone down with them armed. Cooper, H. Halse, Rogan, D. Wilson and Mr. Turton have also gone but only the last will appear near the grave, the others will remain at a distance but still near enough to render assistance in case of affray to any of the wounded of either party. Paramu and E Waka have joined in with Rawiri's party and have gone with them. On his return Mr. Turton called at my house to inform me of the day's proceedings, and from him I learn that on reaching the Ua the Burial service was read by him over Rawiri's corpse, when the party joined by Karipa (who appears to have absented himself from the fight on Thursday, staying in the pah the while) with the Waionga natives numbering say thirty moved off in a body of about one hundred and twenty to the place of interment round which they kept guard whilst the grave was dug, the coffin was lowered into it and many rounds were fired over it. In the meantime Mr. Turton went to Whaitere at this pah when with about twenty four or five of his people he found him in moody silence. Mr. Turton who was the bearer of the joint letter of myself and Cooper in reply to Whaitere's told him he had brought two messages one from the Maoris which he would first deliver. He reminded him of the conversation they had on the previous Saturday about the burial of the dead on his land and spoke of the threat he then made that should Rawiri's people attempt to bury him there he would oppose it and said "Your speech was that, that would be or was your hill and there more blood would be spilt: the Maoris have prepared your hill --- If you choose to go into it, it is ready for you: but if you choose to save your life you can do so by staying within your pah: there is (naming the principal fighting men of the various villages) now assembled around Rawiri's grave: It is for you to make your choice." Keeping a moody silence himself Tamiona spoke for the people there "It is enough about the grave we will stay here." Mr. Turton told them such conduct proved their former act to be a murder as they shewed themselves afraid to meet an armed party against them. He then said his other message was from the Europeans and produced our letter which was read aloud and produced the letter written by Whaitere to the Governor. The road and beach were placed under tapu as against the Natives but not against Europeans. Having now brought my narrative of this mournful occurrence to a close and having to furnish a despatch for Government I will only express my admiration at the untiring labour of our friend Mr. Turton in this affair and the hope that such arrangements may be made as wll permit you to proceed to this place where you may lend your powerful assistance in calming the irritation of the Natives and enabling us to turn this bitter draught into a medicine that shall operate for the healing of the wounds of the survivors. Tuesday 8th. With regard to the Native prisoner Mr. Richmond (who is acting for the Superintendent during his absence) having advised with me on the matter has come to the decision in which I fully concur that under the circumstance in which we are placed, though we are unable to forward the witnesses who should appear against him, yet as his life would be endangered by discharging him here, it would be more prudent to send him to Auckland to take his trial; when on his discharge something might be done for him to protect him from Whaitere's people, who in their present humour would most likely ill him. In a conversation with Mr. Riemenschneider yesterday he spoke strongly of the danger that would be likely to result from sending a military force to this district. Rawiri's son has been placed by his people with Mr. Turton to be brought up as their chief. The Cashmere which will most probably take this letter and our dispatches as we expect her to sail to night brought us some people, I am told sixty or more. Accept united regards from my family.


Yours very faithfully
Josiah Flight.

Part of:
Inward letters - Josiah Flight, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0276 (45 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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