Object #1018914 from MS-Papers-0032-0123
From: Papers relating to provincial affairs - Taranaki. Inspector of police, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0123 (71 digitised items). No Item Description
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COPY of a letter from H.R. Aubrey, November 13th. 1846.
November 13th. 1846
On the 27th. October I received instructions from you to proceed to the Waitara. I accordingly, early on the morning of the 28th., started from New Plymouth, and reached the Mamaku Pa, as near as I could guess, in about three hours from the time of my departure. The natives inhabitants were all absent, either, as I afterwards heard, engaged at their respective plantations, or in fishing. Thinking I might fall in with some of them, I strolled down the banks of the river, and was not disappointed in my expectations; for I came suddenly upon a party fishing for Kawhai. For some little time I remained a silent spectator of their sport, until one of them, happening to turn suddenly round, he raised a shout of ''Pakeha''. His companions recognised me as an old acquaintance, and enquired the purport of my visit; on which I satisfied them as far only as I juged necessary. They were pleased to hear that you would be shortly amongst them, and intended making the Mamakau your headquarters. After witnessing the capture of several fine fish, I returned to the Pa, where you, accompanied by the Collector of Customs, some natives, and Private St. George, shortly afterwards Joined me. The preparations for a feast in the Native style, were soon made; and Privates Parris and Nairn having by this time joined our party, we all proceeded to discuss the fare; which it is almost needless to say, was done ample justice to, by all present. A most welcome addition to the eatables was produced, in the shape of a huge bottle of the best Cognac brandy, which contributed greatly to enliven the spirits of all present; and if I add to that, a roaring fire to keep off the ill effects of the night air, it cannot be wondered that we should have enjoyed ourselves in no slight degree.
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Some good songs were sung; and all present, I feel convinced, retired to rest perfectly satisfied with themselves and the whole world.
The next day, 29th. we were to have proceeded to Pukarangiora, (celebrated for the Massacre of 500 of the Ngaitawa Tribe, by that of Waikato, about 12 years ago); but were prevented from doing so by the badness of the weather. It ceased raining for a short time in the course of the afternoon; and many of us being desirous of trying our skill at anything, the natives took us to the fishing ground in one of their canoes, and supplied us with the necessary tackle and bait. We were delighted with the scenery, as we were paddling down the river. Every fresh bend in this magnificent stream exposed to view a bit of landscape more grand picturesque than the preceeding one. Crossing the rapids created a rather nervous sensation in those unaccustomed to this mode of travelling; but the dexterity and fearlessness soon made them regain confidence. Our success in fishing was indifferent; with the exception of two or three Kawhai, we caught nothing worth mentioning, but were amply repaid for our trouble by the novelty. It was late when we returned, but the salubrity of the air in the Waitara district was again put to the test by the rapidity of which all the good things prepared for us, disappeared. The Brandy bottle was again in requisition; and as agreeable evening was passed, as the one I have before described. I must not omit to mention that Privates Nairn and St. George were despatched to Pukarangiora, to acquaint the natives there that you intended paying them a visit the following day. We were surprised, after we had lain down for the night, to see one of them (Nairn) return. He came back to communicate the intelligence that 600 hundred Taupo and Rotorua natives had arrived at the Karaka, on this side of Wanganui, with the intention of attacking the Ihu Puku; and afterwards reinforcing Rangihaeata. You, in consequence of this information, hastened your departure; as you were desirous of reaching Pukarangiora as early as possible, to obtain some further news on this important matter. Nairn
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was directed to return to New Plymouth, by the Devon Road; and we, agreeably to your instructions, started for Pukarangiora early on the morning of the 30th. An hour and a half smart walking, mostly skirting banks of the Waitara, brought us to a collection of indifferent Maori dwellings; about a quarter of an hour's walk from the celebrated Pa, where we stopped a short time. Whether you found the Chief you expected, or what information you obtained, I am unable to say, as I did not hear what transpired. A drizzling rain, with every appearance of a continuance of bad weather, caused you to push on to New Plymouth, instead of visiting the Pa of Pukarangiora as you originally intended. We reached town at about 2 in the afternoon, not particularly dry about the lower extremities, in consequence of having had to ford the Waiongana, which was rather more swollen than we expected to find it.
Thus ended our first Expedition to the Waitara; much more pleasant it would have been, no doubt, had the weather favoured us; but we consoled ourselves with the hope of being more fortunate next time.
The Maori report respecting the descent of the Taupo and Rotorua natives, had obtained general credence at New Plymouth. You therefore deemed it advisable to dispatch Private Narin to the West Coast, with instructions to proceed even as far as Wanganui, if necessary, and ascertain its truth or falsehood. He received his orders on the 1st. Nobember, and started at an early hour the next morning on his mission, by the Mountain Road. Private Campbell accompanied him one day's journey to become acquainted with the Kawia district. On the same day Private Parris was ordered by you to proceed to Waimate, by the Coast, to meet Nairn, and return with every information he could collect. Private Grey went with Parris one day's journey to acquaint himself with the locality and natives in that direction. On this day, a messenger arrived from Wanganui; but I am not aware that he brought news of any importance. A few days after the departure of Parris, a party of natives from the Southward arrived, bringing with them some hats made in a similar manner,
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and of nearly as fine a texture, as those known by the name of Brazilian
chip. They sold them readily to the Europeans, at prices varying from from 2/- to 5/-. On the 10th. November Parris returned from Waimate. He stated there was a report that two or three vessels had arrived in the Wanganui river, with Troops. He did not appear to have learnt anything authentic respecting the movements of the Taupo or Rotorua natives. Sergeant Halse received instructions on this day, to be in readiness to start for the coast; further orders informed him he was to leave at 10 o'clock the following day for Warea, accompanied by Private Baines. On the 12th. the day after the departure of Sergeant Halse, you left this with Privates Newsham, Campbell, Law and Grey, with the intention. I believe, of joining the Sergeant of your force at Warea. In your absence, I have complied with the instructions received, respecting the drill, the watches, keeping the Journal, and conducting the correspondence.
Trusting this Report may prove satisfactory.
I have the honour to remain Sir, Your most obedient servant. (Signed)
To:- D. McLean Esq. Inspector of Police.
Papers relating to provincial affairs - Taranaki. Inspector of police, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0123 (71 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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