Object #1018164 from MS-Papers-0032-0314

9 pages written 20 Oct 1856 by Henry Halse in New Plymouth District to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Henry Halse, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0314 (32 digitised items). 33 letters written from New Plymouth. Includes copy of letter in Maori from Hakopa [?], Taumata Pa, 1856

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

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English (ATL)

private New Plymouth
October 20th 1856

My dear Sir,

As the steamer is expected tomorrow I have not written to you by this days O.M.

The breaking open of the Bell Block Pound was rather an awkward affair and I see by our last publication that some person has taken special care to make the most of it, I shall therefore gratify him by making the least of it.

Between ourselves I am quite at a loss to account for Hone's conduct and have nothing to say in extenuation because he knew that the enclosure was a public pound and from my own personal knowledge is familiar with its usages. I have however said as little as possible in my report and much regret the occasion that caused me to write at all.

I cannot conceive why a Pound was sanctioned in that direction, anyone who bestowed a thought upon it would foresee difficulty in the present excited and unsettled state of the natives who are immediately brought under its operation, the majority of whom are not yet disposed to conform to our laws, principally owing to their ignorance of them. I myself have seen Europeans with the advantage of 3 or 400 years of law before them raving with the information that their cattle were impounded and no epithets from Lower Billingsgate are too bad to pour upon the unfortunate man whose duty it is to demand the fees defined by law. Seeing this, the greatest caution should be exercised in all matters in which the natives are concerned and it is to be hoped for the sake of the colony at large that the Governor will not yield any of his power over the natives to the Provincial authorities. When Superintendents shall be appointed by the Crown or altogether dispensed with, New Plymouth will have reason to rejoice, and from all I can learn the country generally - the machinery is too bulky for the workmen to have proper command over it - then again each machine has its own peculiar movement and our steering wheel is more frequently out of order than any of the others.

To return to my friend Hone Ropiha for I cannot abandon him for this foolish affair. After repairing the Pound fence he proceeded at the risk of his life to the Kaipakopako, with a single attendant apparently for the purpose of telling the particulars had anything happened to him. All honor to him for thus endeavouring to put an end to a feud disastrous in its consequences to both races and notwithstanding present dissatisfaction amongst many who originally approved of the step, the day is not far distant when this bold attempt will be regarded in its proper light by all concerned in these contentions.

Flags are flying this morning for the purpose of collecting the natives in and about Town to discuss the subject of Hone's visit to the Kaipakopako, and as the red flag is hoisted the chances of peace look very doubtful. As it was expected that Katatore might return the visit a letter was written by Hua natives warning him of the consequences but whether he will respect it remains to be seen.

I went with Major Murray and two of his officers last week to the various pa's in the neighbourhood of Mangaraka and found the natives busily engaged planting potatoes - Katatore is going gray and so is Tamihana (the great whaler) both of them have aged 10 years and still surprisingly active. They have got into a habit of drinking before going out to fight which to use Katatore's words makes them strong and courageous - in other words imparts a little Dutch courage which a few well directed shots would speedily evaporate.

On the 15th the Ikamoana natives destroyed some of Katatore's fencing with the double object of getting him out of his pa and to let the cattle destroy his crops - some distant firing took place which relieved them of a little ammunition and that was all the effect knocking down the fence had - Katatore won't leave his pa and those opposed to him dare not approach within range and so they go on exactly like a parcel of children.

A recent despatch from the Governor to our Supt. has caused a sensation and thrown daylight into that claim to a peace of swamp land at the Henui. Next Wednesday is appointed for the second investigation and I venture to say there will be no mistake this time.

Mr. urton is preparing to leave for Kawhia with his family - a place without doubt of great importance in as far as the natives are concerned and a more able man could not have been selected for that station - still it is but a sorry prospect for the younger members of his family -

Hoping you are well

Believe me Faithfully yours
H. Halse
Tuesday 21.

To:- McLean Esq.

Hone Ropiha called upon me this morning and paid Two pounds being the amount named by the Superintendent for forcing the Bell Block Pound. Hone is vexed that his name should have got into our paper and repudiates the pointing of their guns at the Europeans. He has given me a letter for the Proprietor of the Herald for publication and talks of writing to you and the Governor to be struck off the list of assessors. His impression is that the article in the paper was published by authority during the time that the occurrence was being settled and cannot conceive how it could otherwise have found its way there.
H. H.
P. S. Oct. 22.

Hone Ropiha has just brought the enclosed letter although I told him yesterday that as far as we are concerned the affair is at an end. He is too valuable a man to lose for so trivial a matter and I imagine his future efforts mo te pai will be doubled in order to wash this "he" from his tinana.

Yesterday the Ikamoana, Ninia, Hua and a few Waiwakaiho natives gave effect to their opinion of Hone's tikanga maunga rongo by going out and blazing away at Katatore's pa, a fire from which they received in return but at so safe a distance that not so much as a scratch was inflicted by either side. I understand that W. Kingi was with Katatore and if correct simply confirms his character for duplicity.

There is to be another gathering at the Ikamoana tomorrow and Poharama is going but he does not yet know what steps will be taken. He is opposed to the peace question unless established on a sure and satisfactory foundation.

I hear from Rawiri Raupangu, of Arapara, who has been here some six months, that a party of 100 natives are now on their way here for the purpose of settling - he himself is going back about a claim to land there sold to Govt. during his absence -

We are much afraid the steamer has passed on during the ate tempestuous weather at last shewing some signs of moderating. In that case we have all done wrong in not letting our letters go by last Monday's O. M.


Part of:
Inward letters - Henry Halse, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0314 (32 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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