Object #1017840 from MS-Papers-0032-0003

19 pages written 10 Apr 1849 by Sir Donald McLean in Wanganui to Wellington

From: Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0003 (57 digitised items). Contains papers dealing with the purchase of Maori land; in particular, there are official papers about `Old Land Claims' (ie pre Treaty of Waitangi); there is also extensive correspondence about the purchase of land in the Rangitikei area from Ngati Apa, and a related dispute about ownership between Ngati Apa and Ngati Raukawa; there is also a letter from Henry Tiffin outlining the concerns of Wairarapa Maori about an invasion by Ngati Toa Also includes translation of a letter by the Ngati Toa outlining the boundaries of land ceded to the Crown in 1847.

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

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English (ATL)

Wanganui
10th. April 1849.


Sir,

Having returned from exploring the interior of the district offered for sale by the Ngatiapa tribe, between the Turakina and Rangitikei rivers, I have now the honour to transmit to you, for the information of His Excellency, the Lieut. Governor, a

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English (ATL)

description of my journey, with some remarks on the country I have passed over.

The boundaries of the Pahs and Reserves for the natives on the land being ascertained, I consider it advisable to take a cursory survey of the district to enable you to form a probable estimate of its value and extent.

I accordingly started on the 27th. inst. from the Turakina Pah, accompanied by Mr. Ashwell Hill, a European policeman, and forty-three native claimants.

The first part of our journey lay through a partially

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wooded valley, interspersed with cultivations, and meadows of rich grass. The country continued of the same character till we came to a wooded range of hills, about 10 miles from the course, where the Turakina river takes a northerly direction.

We camped here for the night; the natives objecting to proceed further in this direction, alleging the forest as impenetrable; and that it was claimed by the Whangawhero natives, a distinct branch of their tribe, residing at Wanganui.

I soon discovered that the natives along with me were the actual claimants of the

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English (ATL)

land, which they alleged to be the property of the Whangawhero tribe; and found that a few intriguing young men ingeniously concocted this pretext, with a view that the land should be reserved under the pretence of being the property of a tribe who had not appeared at any of the meetings when the sale of the country was discussed. The object of these young men in endeavouring to reserve the forest ranges, and other large portions of their claims, was to dispose of them afterwards in small allotments, when the value of the district should be

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enhanced by the location of European settlers. The other men seemed at first quite indifferent with regard to these reservations, but a few were eventually induced to acquiesce in the measure, from its being represented to them that if they parted with the land on which the forest stood, that they should never be allowed to exercise their periodical custom of bird-snaring in the interior.

On the morning of the 28th. the rain which had set in the preceding day, continued to fall very heavily. I found it would be impossible, from the disposition of the natives, and broken character of the country,

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English (ATL)

to proceed further up the banks of the Turakina. We therefore diverted our course across the country towards the Rangitikei, ascending from a low, grassy flat to a ridge of hills, on the top of which is rich table-land, well adapted for agriculture orpasture; and here and there interspersed with clumps of timber, and streams of water.

At one of these inviting situations for the erection of a settler's cottage, we pitched our tents, finding it impossible to make a long journey, the rain continuing to pour incessantly. Our party were not long in

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English (ATL)

erecting shelter for the night, and procuring an abundant supply of bush pigs and pigeons.

In the evening I informed the natives, who were collected by a large fire in front of my tent, that as an ample Reserve was made for them between the Turakina and Wangaehu rivers, I would not recognise any boundaries, or pretended claims, limiting the Europeans from going as far into the interior as their present rights as a tribe extended; that they might still exercise the privilege of bird-snaring, so long as their doing so did not interfere with the future operations of the settlers; but the whole of their country north of Rangitikei, excepting

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their Reserves, must, in accordance with the understanding I repeatedly had with them at their several public meetibgs, now pass into the hands of the Government.

On the morning of the 29th. we made an early start, the old men expressing themselves greatly pleased with the prospect of not being prohibited from bird-snaring; as they were previously under an impression that they should be not even allowed to travel further into the country, when it became European property.

After proceeding about four miles from our encampment, we opened on a beautiful plain clothed with the richest and most luxuriant natural grasses I have observed in any part of the Island.

The interior forest,

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which skirts this plain, may be estimated, as nearly as I could judge without the assistance of a surveyor, to lie from the sea coast at distances ranging from ten, fifteen, to fifty miles, the level of land gaining on the forest as we approached the Rangitikei.

Many parts of the country we passed over have indications of having been numerously populated; and my attention was frequently diverted by the old Chiefs, to the fact that the Ngatiapas were formerly a numerous and powerful tribe; of which their existing representtatives are only a diminutive remnant. In confirmation of their statements, they carefully noticed the traces of every deserted village or cultivation we came to; and feelingly described the agency of a disease termed

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English (ATL)

Rewa-rewa, which must have prevailed fifty or sixty years ago; as having been more fatal and destructive to their race than the most sanguine wars of invading tribes.

Before night had quite set in, we were close to the Rangitikei river, having walked since morning, a distance of twenty-four miles; which, including the short stage we made yesterday, would leave us about thirty miles from where we left the banks of the Turakina river.

During the day, some few boundary marks were made by the natives, who erected a pole on the Ngongoronui range, where we descended to the Porewa stream,

English (ATL)

Wanganui
10th. April 1849.


Sir,

Having returned from exploring the interior of the district offered for sale by the Ngatiapa tribe, between the Turakina and Rangitikei rivers, I have now the honour to transmit to you, for the information of His Excellency, the Lieut. Governor, a description of my journey, with some remarks on the country I have passed over.

The boundaries of the Pahs and Reserves for the natives on the land being ascertained, I consider it advisable to take a cursory survey of the district to enable you to form a probable estimate of its value and extent.

I accordingly started on the 27th. inst. from the Turakina Pah, accompanied by Mr. Ashwell Hill, a European policeman, and forty-three native claimants.

The first part of our journey lay through a partially wooded valley, interspersed with cultivations, and meadows of rich grass. The country continued of the same character till we came to a wooded range of hills, about 10 miles from the course, where the Turakina river takes a northerly direction.

We camped here for the night; the natives objecting to proceed further in this direction, alleging the forest as impenetrable; and that it was claimed by the Whangawhero natives, a distinct branch of their tribe, residing at Wanganui.

I soon discovered that the natives along with me were the actual claimants of the land, which they alleged to be the property of the Whangawhero tribe; and found that a few intriguing young men ingeniously concocted this pretext, with a view that the land should be reserved under the pretence of being the property of a tribe who had not appeared at any of the meetings when the sale of the country was discussed. The object of these young men in endeavouring to reserve the forest ranges, and other large portions of their claims, was to dispose of them afterwards in small allotments, when the value of the district should be enhanced by the location of European settlers. The other men seemed at first quite indifferent with regard to these reservations, but a few were eventually induced to acquiesce in the measure, from its being represented to them that if they parted with the land on which the forest stood, that they should never be allowed to exercise their periodical custom of bird-snaring in the interior.

On the morning of the 28th. the rain which had set in the preceding day, continued to fall very heavily. I found it would be impossible, from the disposition of the natives, and broken character of the country, to proceed further up the banks of the Turakina. We therefore diverted our course across the country towards the Rangitikei, ascending from a low, grassy flat to a ridge of hills, on the top of which is rich table-land, well adapted for agriculture orpasture; and here and there interspersed with clumps of timber, and streams of water.

At one of these inviting situations for the erection of a settler's cottage, we pitched our tents, finding it impossible to make a long journey, the rain continuing to pour incessantly. Our party were not long in erecting shelter for the night, and procuring an abundant supply of bush pigs and pigeons.

In the evening I informed the natives, who were collected by a large fire in front of my tent, that as an ample Reserve was made for them between the Turakina and Wangaehu rivers, I would not recognise any boundaries, or pretended claims, limiting the Europeans from going as far into the interior as their present rights as a tribe extended; that they might still exercise the privilege of bird-snaring, so long as their doing so did not interfere with the future operations of the settlers; but the whole of their country north of Rangitikei, excepting their Reserves, must, in accordance with the understanding I repeatedly had with them at their several public meetibgs, now pass into the hands of the Government.

On the morning of the 29th. we made an early start, the old men expressing themselves greatly pleased with the prospect of not being prohibited from bird-snaring; as they were previously under an impression that they should be not even allowed to travel further into the country, when it became European property.

After proceeding about four miles from our encampment, we opened on a beautiful plain clothed with the richest and most luxuriant natural grasses I have observed in any part of the Island.

The interior forest, which skirts this plain, may be estimated, as nearly as I could judge without the assistance of a surveyor, to lie from the sea coast at distances ranging from ten, fifteen, to fifty miles, the level of land gaining on the forest as we approached the Rangitikei.

Many parts of the country we passed over have indications of having been numerously populated; and my attention was frequently diverted by the old Chiefs, to the fact that the Ngatiapas were formerly a numerous and powerful tribe; of which their existing representtatives are only a diminutive remnant. In confirmation of their statements, they carefully noticed the traces of every deserted village or cultivation we came to; and feelingly described the agency of a disease termed Rewa-rewa, which must have prevailed fifty or sixty years ago; as having been more fatal and destructive to their race than the most sanguine wars of invading tribes.

Before night had quite set in, we were close to the Rangitikei river, having walked since morning, a distance of twenty-four miles; which, including the short stage we made yesterday, would leave us about thirty miles from where we left the banks of the Turakina river.

During the day, some few boundary marks were made by the natives, who erected a pole on the Ngongoronui range, where we descended to the Porewa stream, which runs for some distance nearly parallel with the Rangitikei, in which it empties itself, enclosing a fine tract of land several miles long, between the rivers, which a native, E. Waka, wished to reserve.

I learn that the claim of the Ngatiapas, as a tribe, may extend inland from the Te Moiri bush, our present encampment, about six miles; having conjointly with the Wanganui tribes, individual claims beyond that to a settlement named Otara; which has been for the last five years, occupied by a party of Taupo natives.

March 30th. 1849.

We travelled through the bush, where we encamped the night, and crossed a level on the Porewa banks. Then we ascended the Kiri Kiri bush, on a path frequented by the natives travelling to Taupo.

On this range, boundaries were placed by E. Waka and other natives, who intended to reserve large tracts of land there, and prevent the Europeans from getting further inland. They were, however, induced to relinquish this boundary, on its being represented to them that native claims intersecting those of Europeans would lead to future discontent.

The country we were now walking over on the North bank of the Rangitikei, being considerably elevated, I was afforded an extensive view of the splen- -did Tataenui plain; which is equally well suited for pasture or the plough, from the great facility with which it could be turned over, merely burning off the present overgrowth of vegetation, and removing the few isolated Ti-trees, which are scattered over the plain.

At Porewhara, sixteen miles from our last stage, we found some natove plantations owned by Panapa, a Ngatapa Chief, a man of most powerful and forbidding countenance, who deserted his tribe and joined Rangihaeata= threatening, with that Chief, to use his utmost influence in preventing the sale of the district.

Our reception was not the most friendly. The natives, excepting a few who came up from Parananui to meet me, strongly exclaimed against the sale of their land.

Panapa erected a flag staff that morning, where his claim, which is considerable, commenced; stating that he would die by it, before he would cede his land. His language, which was violent, was evidently borrowed from Rangihaeata, who, I understood, from some of his natives on the journey to Taupo, was very much vexed that the Europeans were acquiring a right to such a large territory in a part of the country where his retreat into the interior might be interrupted, should he, at a future period, find it necessary to take refuge there.

Paroni, a Ngatiraukawa Chief, married to a Ngatiapa woman, stated that he intended to retain some wooded land, claimed in right of his wife.

E. Waka, who had not succeeded in inducing me to agree to his constant demand for Reserves, was now evidently instructing the others to make a firm stand for their land; so that I had to encounter their united opposition, which ended after a long, persuasive argument on my part, much to E Waka's annoyance, in Panapa's yielding his opposition, and quite agreeing with me that it was improper to intersect the Europeans1 district with native Reserves, when ample land was preserved for them elsewhere.

31st. March 1849.

We travelled over a fine country, out of which Rukora and the Parawanui people wished for a large Reserve, bounded on the one side by the Rangitikei, and on the other side by the Ttanui stream, to its junction with the Rangitikei.

Although I have not acceeded to the requests of the natives for a Reserve between these rivers, I still consider it might not be objectionable at a future period to grant them one in a situation so well bounded, especially if the Southern bank of the Rangitikei is acquired- and that the natives are not disposed to leave that part of the country, to settle on the general Reserve between the Turakina and Rangitikei rivers.

At Parananui and Te Awho Pahs, I classed the natives into Hapus, in the order in which they should receive payment on Monday the 2nd. April, a distance of fifty miles, from where I first sighted that river from the Ngongoranui range.

On approaching the coast, the country changed very much in appearance, and the soil is chiefly of a light, sandy description, altogether inferior to the rich fertile plains of the interior; but, viewing the district as a whole, it is a most valuable and extensive acquisition, capable of maintaining a numerous European population, and superior to any other part of the Island for cattle runs.

On my arrival at the ferry, I met Mr. Park, the New Zealand Company's surveyor, with his party; who commenced the following morning to survey the native Reserve.

In my negotiations with the Ngatiapas, I have fully conformed to the following portion of the first paragraph of my instructions, which had reference to inland boundaries:- "It is considered preferable thus to negotiate for the whole claims without attempting to define the exact inland extent."

The Ngatiapas therefore understood that although the inland boundary is not defined, that their whole rights between the Turakina and Rangitikei rivers are surrendered to the Government.

The present arrangements I am carrying out, are of a more protracted nature than I anticipated, from the various investigations I am under the necessity of pursuing, in order to guard, as far as possible, against future difficulties, to which isolated settlers might at first be exposed, even by the Ngatiapas, if their claims are not fully enquired into and adjusted; and their extravagant ideas respecting large Reserves, and compensation brought within a moderate compass.

I have the honour to remain


Sir,
Tour most obdt. humble servant (Signed)
Donald McLean
Inspector of Police. To:- The Colonial Secretary Wellington.

Part of:
Native Land Purchase Commissioner - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0003 (57 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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