Nov. 16th. 1856.
My dear McLean,
The Christina sails for Auckland tomorrow, so I take advantage of the opportunity of writing a few lines, I find that notwithstanding the peace making so much talked of, the mutual jealousies amongst the natives here are if possible stronger than ever, and the difficulties which surround the land question are every day increasing. Te Heu Heu had been here and has done much mischief, you of course know all about his great meeting at Taupo, and its object --- the whole affair is at the instigation of Mr. Grace who is doing more mischief than can be easily imagined. Moananui, Tareha, Karaitiana and all that lot are to start tomorrow to attend this meeting. I have had great difficulties in respect to all my work --- In the first place Hapuku would not hear of dividing the £1000 for the Maraikakaho and Otaranga Blocks. This I expected and as we had arranged before I left Auckland what I was to do I made but little objection to paying the whole sum for Maraekakaho. Then came the difficulty --- some of the other party have claims on the most valuable part of the block and would only receive their money from me, saying they would not trust the Maoris. Hapuku of course objected to this, and I had made up my mind to throw up the affair and start in the Christina but that yesterday things began to look something like coming to a settlement, so I gave up the idea. I have now hopes of making
the payt. tomorrow. Moananui refuses to take the £1000 for the Matau a Maui because I would not make a payment to him for some new lands at Ruahine, on account of which no negotiations have been even commenced. He knew this, and made the claim purposely, knowing it would not be accepted, to afford him a pretext for refusing to take the £1000 for Cape Kidnappers fancying that thereby he will get back part of the Block. He has never mentioned this to me, and of course I have not let him see that I fathom his designs, but I know it to be true from what he has let out to several people. Te Heuheu put him up to it.
The inland part of the Ahuriri Block (which contains some tolerable runs) is also disputed, that is to say, a small hapu called Ngatihineuru, whose chief is named te Rangihiroa, claim it, and say they received no payment, and never assented to the sale. They are backed up by te HeuHeu, and the sellers are, to say the least, very luke warm.
There has also been a great deal of bother about the Mata payment. It is however at length settled and the money is to be paid tomorrow. Moananui has been very troublesome about that also.
Mr. Williams goes up per Christina. I hope you will have a long talk with him about Ahuriri matters, as he can explain them much better than I can in the short space of letter. What made me particularly anxious to get away in the Christina was that the Erin was going to Wellington with wheat
and wool, but we hear that wheat is 6/6 in Wellington, and the wool cargo is uncertain, so I think her destination will be changed, in which case I trust we may sail in about a week from this.
P. Russell arrived last night from Wellington. He says the Provincials are prepared to go the length of £10,000 to get the Waipureku plains, from the Mata Boundary, including the Pakiaka Bush. I hope the Genl. Govt. will agree, for it is the only thing to send the settlement well ahead.
Tiffen's appointment is not at all liked here, both the man himself and the terms of his appointment appear universally unpopular. By the bye, he is going to make suburban land of your run. It is the best thing possible for you, as no one will give suburban prices up at Maraekakaho, especially as scrip will not apply. Tuke's run (Aorangi) is for a Small Farm association, but I should imagine the result of the Wairarapa experiments would be enough to prevent the repetition of the like at Ahuriri.
The settlers here are very anxious --- unanimously so I believe --- to have me appointed R.M., and really on reflection I do not see why one individual should not hold both offices. The Wairarapa is nearly finished, and I think, with a really good surveyor, that two more visits from me would be enough, one this summer and one next. The objections I once held to the idea of the appointment, are in a great measure removed by
the fact of there being now such an excellent Bench of unpaid Magistrates in the District, and I think if the office were offered to me, with anadditional £100 per annum, I should accept it. There is a memorial, I understand, in course of preparation, which I hope will be in time for the Erin (if she goes up). It will be at any rate a feather in one's cap, if nothing more. Gollan, Alexander, the 2 Russells, Carter, Curling, your Brother --- in fact every one is apparently very anxious on the subject. I think if I find the Erin is not going back soon nor any other direct opportunity of going to Auckland, I shall go via Manawatu to Wellington, if there is any chance of reaching there in time for the steamer to take me up to Auckland the Decr. trip. I cannot afford to waste any time here. As it is I suppose I shalll not see my parents and sister before they sail for Melbourne, indeed I have given up the hopes of it by this time, and am trying to be resigned to my fate, but I find it very hard when I see my only chance perhaps of ever seeing them again in this world slipping through my fingers with tomorrow morning's ebb-tide. However I have the consolation of knowing that I try to do my duty, I must not write any more for I am getting into my Auckland spirits again, and it is late into the bargain.
Hoping to see you again soon
Ever faithfully yours
G. S. Cooper.
I enclose a letter for my sister. Will you send it?