Object #1018711 from MS-Papers-0032-0655

11 pages written 23 Apr 1873 by Richard Watson Woon in Wanganui

From: Inward letters - Richard Watson Woon, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0655 (16 digitised items). 15 letters written from Wanganui, 1860-1874

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English (ATL)

April 23rd. 1873.

Dear Sir,

I returned yesterday from Tuhua, after an absence of 14 days, and hasten to acquaint you with the result of my trip. I held 2 Native School Meetings - the one at Parikino I adjourned at request of natives to next month owing to short notice in Karere, and many of the Natives having been away at Foxton, at sittings of Land Court there.

Natives at Iruharama elected a Committee of Seven, including self as chairman and agreed to support school etc. Timber mostly on the ground, and carpenters start to-morrow morning to erect. School house. Natives have had great difficulty in getting timber up the river, owing to the want of water and consequent shallowness of rapids, and have had to take remaining portion of timber up in driblets. I have had in consequence to issue more rations than I expected, which I trust you will authorise under the circumstances, particularly as the Ngatihaus are shewing a good example to the other river Natives in this matter. It will be necessary soon to have a school master, and I trust a good one will be forthcoming.

Stayed one night at Pehi's place - Kirikiroa - where we found him busy clearing land for cultivation, and he is a most industrious old chief. Pehi informed me that Topi had gone on to Te Kuiti, having been invited by Rewi to attend a Meeting here on the 28 Instant, that it was reported at Tuhua that Wo Parata had visited Kuiti, where he'd seen Manga and Manuhiri, Tawhiao being absent, that Tawhiao on his return had asked whem what Parata had said they replied he had come with proposals from yourself to Waikato, to return to neighbourhood of Ngaruawahia, as the Whakatohia and Ngatihune had been restored to their lands. That Matutaira replied, said Tribes had been made slaves of b the Govt. but that he had never been reduced to subjection, and that it was only an attempt to buy him over to the Govt. side, whose servant he should become if paid by them, and that he disapproved of Wi Parata coming to make such proposals, as he was paid for his services, that he proposed a large meeting of Govt. and Hauhau Natives should be held at Kuiti, including Europeans, to select a Native Representative from either the Govt. or Hauhau side, being a man of knowledge and influence, to represent the Natives in the Govt. of the country, and to act as a general pacificator amongst the Tribes of the Island; that if this proposition was agreed to, he was willing to return with his people to Waikato.

A story is also told to effect that Waikatos last Summer proposed that certain of their people - five in no. - should at an appointed time and place, waylay, and shoot Tawhiao, to see whether he was a godlike personage, or merely an ordinary man, that they carried out their proposal, and laid in wait for him accordingly, and on his approach on horseback, presented their guns at him, and drew their triggers, when the caps of their guns all snapped, and they at once made off - convinced that Tawiao was something more than mortal. I merely repeat those stories as told to me by up river Natives, simply remarking that, if there is any semblance of truth in them, they are evident signs of the breaking up of the King movement! I informed Pehi of your visit to Kawhia and of the importance to results likely to accrue therefrom, and he seemed much interested and pleased at the information, it being news to him and his people.

Pehi likewise told me that Heuheu had brought Europeans from Taupo, to Pungapunga, to search for gold, and that they had been sent back by the Tuhua chiefs Ngarupiki, Ihau and others.

Pehi also recommended me not to go further up the river than Maraekowhai, Mamuku's principal settlement, as Tuhua natives had sent a message to effect that self and party must return from that place, as they were alarmed at seeing the face of a whiteman, and further that they were all almost leaving for Waikato to uhunga for Hikaka. Pehi expressed much annoyance at disposition shewn by Tuhua chiefs, and said they deserved to be debarred from visiiting the Town of Whanganui in consequence I think the attitude assumed is out of jealousy to Topine and Piki, owing to their having come over to the Govt.; in fact a good deal dissension and variance exists amongst the Tuhua chiefs, owing to Land disputes!

Pehi and Topine are at variance about their boundaries, and old pehi and Topia seem determined to maintain their claims! However, I have no doubt all parties will finally agree to submit their differences to the Land Court for adjustment when, most likely, the bone of discord will be removed, and a satisfactory arrangement come to.

I arrived at Maraekowhai on the 18 Instant where we met Topine, Piki, Ngatai Waka, Paiaka, and others; and they gave us a most warm and hearty welcome. I duly came to see Topine giving message about his using his influence for good in the interior; he seemed much pleased and told me that had he not been going to Hikaka's Tangi, he would have taken me up to Taumaranui himself, notwithstanding message conveyed to me, at which he expressed much annoyance. He complained of Topia's action in interfering with his boundaries which he said would be resented by him! Also expressed anger with Heuheu for European prospectors within the boundaries without consulting him and after matter had been arranged with you.

I wrote to Ngarupiki and people telling them I read their message, which caused me regret, and that I could not visit them in the face of such a message, and without an invitation, but that I hoped yet to visit them on a future occasion, as I was only actuated by feelings of friendship towards them which led me to desire a meeting, and exchange of friendly sentiments with them. I am not at all disposed to give much importance to this affair, the feeling being but momentary, as one arising more out of their own differences than from any feeling of hostility to the Europeans. I fully expect next season to be able to reach Taumaranui and have some friendly talk with the old chiefs resident there, who are subordinate to Mamaku, who is their recognised leader.

Topine desired me to tell you that he fully meant to carry out your wishes in exerting his influence for peace etc. in respect of the Tuhua Tribes, and on to Waikato including Tawhiao; said he expected to meet Tawhiao at upper waters of the Ohura, at tang for Hikaka, Tawhiao having intimated that he should join the tangi of Topine went, and that Tawhiao had informed him that he had something particular to say to him (Topine) and to him alone!

Mamaku also said he should go on to Kuiti if invited, and should use his influence in support of the Govt., to which side, he had made up his mind to adhere for the future!

In respect of gold prospecting he said Tuhua Runanga were opposed to same as their boundaries were in dispute and they feared the consequences to themselves were gold discovered at Tuhua, that the result might be their being dispossessed of their lands, and the Country being over-run with Europeans. Expressed annoyance with Topia who he said was laying claim to portion of his land in Tuhua Country.

Topine further said that cause of Waikato meeting on 28 Inst. is a proposal to be made by Tawhiao that all strange Natives residing at Waikato should return to their own Districts, including Ropata Te Korohiti and Tribe from Utapu Whanganui, Tamati Waka of Manganui oteao and others, the Maori King having given out that this is a time of peace and friendship! with the Europeans and that by their return to their own Kaingas they will be individually responsible for any disturbing influences caused by their foretellings and prophecies!

Topine and people were much pleased at seeing Major Nixon and Major Edwards, who both spoke to the Natives in a very friendly and kind manner, and their speeches were much applauded. Both of said gentlemen were much impressed with the kindness and hospitality shewn to us all by the Natives and at the friendly and peaceful attitude exhibited on this occasion!

On return to Iruharama, I was informed of the arrival of the chief Te Oti Pohe from the Taupo Patea country, with proposals to Kemp and Whanganui chiefs to hold another meeting at Murimotu to try and settle their boundaries more particularly as Topia had let a large tract of the country to some Europeans through Mr. McDonnell extending to Murimotu and Kaimanawa. The Taupo chiefs are also reported to have chosed a council of twelve to manage their own affairs to the exclusion of the Whanganui and all the outside tribes Te Oti Pohe has since come to Town and has written to Kemp, propesing that he should go and see him on the subject. Kemp will no doubt communicate with you about the affair shortly.

I hope to be able to send in a long and satisfactory report of progress made in my District during the past year. I have never seen my last, and those of other officers in print yet. Am I not entitled to receive appendices to Journals of House?

I am dear Sir, With every respect, Yours faithfully,
R.W. Woon.

Part of:
Inward letters - Richard Watson Woon, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0655 (16 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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