Object #1018929 from MS-Papers-0032-0227

8 pages written 24 Feb 1857 by George Sisson Cooper in Napier City to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0227 (70 digitised items). 67 letters written from Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Wellington. Contains correspondence between McLean and Cooper with regard to the purchase of Maori land in Taranaki, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa; the correspondence also contains information and discussions about general Maori affairs in these areas, and about personal matters. Includes two letters from Mclean to Cooper, 24 Mar & 1 May 1854

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

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English (ATL)


Feb. 24/57.

My dear McLean,

I think it right to inform you that matters are in a very unsatisfactory state here at present. The jealousy amongst the Natives is on the/increase and will I am afraid ere very long lead to a collision between the contending parties. In fact I firmly believe that notwithstanding the recent patch-up, nothing but each party fearing to be the first to create a disturbance has hitherto kept them quiet. Their mutual hatred is unbounded, and I believe that Hapuku's great wish is to see Moananui and party embroiled with the settlers so as to bring the English down upon them, when he would enact Tamati Waka, and assist in extinguishing them. This would of course in-volve the ruin of the present settlement but that it is a trifle in Hapuku's eyes compared to the triumph of seeing his enemies destroyed. In a Maori quarrel he might possibly get the worst of it, but were a collision to take place between the two races, he would fight on the strong side. On the other hand Moana and Tareha, who are both excessively vain and weakminded, are very jealous of Hapuku's growing influence and of the notice that is taken of him by the Govt. and the Europeans generally. This same notice has made the Ika very bouncible, and it cannot be denied that he had divided some of the money very unfairly --- for instance the 5000 acre block sold at Auckland will not stand (as far as I can see at present) but like Kerei and Paora's sale at Taupo, will have to be shifted to some other land if any can be found.

Under all these circumstances do not be greatly surprised if you hear of a row amongst the Natives here some of these days. I can see it brewing quite plainly. It will probably commence about Wakatu, Karaitiana having given Hapuku notice to quit, which he treats with contempt. They may even come to blows about some of the recent sales at Aorangi etc. as although for a long time the division of the lands agreed to at the Waipukurau was adhered to, the mutual hatred has grown so strong that Hapuku has unquestionally divided some of the money unfairly, and the others have broken their agreement not to interfere on the other side of Ngaruroro, and talk all kinds of braggadocio.

Of course all the blame, if any disturbance does take place, will fall upon my shoulders. Epai ana --- I suppose I must take things as they come, it is my destiny.

In all these difficulties I am quite alone --- not even a Native to help me, for each looks upon me as the friend of the other, and I get abused by both sides in consequence. Fortunately for me Mr. Williams arrived last evening, and I know he will do all he can. I very seldom can get to see Alexr. and he I am sorry to say is now seldom fit to give advice on any point.

I am going inland today with Moananui and Tareha's party, to run over the lands surveyed by Hapuku and Park. I have tried my utmost to prevail upon Hapuku to accompany me, but he fears treachery at the hands of the others and will not stir from Wakatu.

I have not been able to go to Porangahau yet, but I saw Paora te Ropiha the other day. They will not take the £1400, but I believe if I had £2500, or even £2000 I could get the Block. There are several squatters on it, each of whom is paying the Natives £60 per annum. The way I intend treating these is to fine them in the first instance in the lowest penalty (£5) and tell them that they must pay no more rents and that the fine will be increased if they do not move. This will set them upon the Natives, who may then be induced to come to terms. The fast is the land is not extravagantly dear even at £3000, considering how much it is wanted, and how many people are kept without a place to go upon.

All I can learn from te Hapuku leads me to think that the Tamaki Bush will not be sold at present. I have always thought and said so from the first, and all I hear confirms me in the opinion.

I have been endeavouring to get Moana's party to give up the C. Kidnapper money to Hapuku, who would then in return agree to their demands upon Aorangi and Otaranga. It appears that when they met at Waipureku, Tareha offered this, but Hapuku would not accept it, he says because Moananui did not speak. Now he would agree but they will not. Williams is going with me today to see them, and try what he can do to settle the matter.

I hope Govt. will soon appoint a Commr. for Wairarapa as this place requires all my attention. Had I been here when they met at Waipoureku all the difficulties would have been arranged. The fact is these things should be settled quietly before the time for payt. arrives, for it is impossible to get them to discuss matters temperately over the money --- the very bone for which they are contending.

I am working as hard as I can sparing neither myself nor my horse in trying to put matters in a satisfactory state. One consolation I have at any rate, that is that the settlers here will back me in all I do --- for they can see and appreciate the difficulties surrounding the question.

I am obliged to write now though it may be a week before the St. Kilda sails, but I shall probably not be here at the time and I thought it right not to allow her to go without a letter from me.

Faithfully yours
G. S. Cooper.

Part of:
Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0227 (70 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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