Object #1019301 from MS-Papers-0032-0337

5 pages written 5 Mar 1866 by John Hervey in Poverty Bay to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Surnames, Her - Hes, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0337 (13 digitised items). Correspondents:Jasper L Herrick, Poperanga, [Hawke's Bay], 1863-1864 and undated (4 letters); J Hervey, Wharaurangi, Poverty Bay & Tauranga, 1865-1866 (3 letters); E W Hesketh, Auckland, 1860 (3 letters); Hesketh & Richmond, Auckland, 1870 & 1876 (3 letters).

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

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English (ATL)

COPY. Poverty Bay
5th. March 1866.

D. McLean Esq., Superintendent.
My dear Sir,

I hope and pray that you will bear with me in taking the liberty in addressing to you these few lines. I do assure you that it is much against my will to trouble you, during your most valuable time. Situated as I have been lately, amongst a set of villains, I thought that I would let you know a little about them.

When Mr. Wardell the Resident Magistrate, resided in this district, I have heard him express that I was the only white person in this Bay that did not trouble him at all, - either by bringing any case against any one, before him; neither did any one bring any against me. I think I am one of that disposition, that, if possible, would rather bear a little, than trouble any one.

At that time I was living amongst the Ngate-kaipo tribe, and had less reason to complain, although there are none of the tribes, however good they may be generally, without having some bad ones amongst them, suffieient to aggravate a White man living amongst them, to complain. But of late years I removed, and have been living with the Ngatimaru tribe; being, as I thought, a better position for trading purposes; being also a little afraid that in consequence of the land slightly opening from the effects of a severe Earthquake, that occurred while I was there, - that was at the mouth of the Big River. When I was remaining I was told by some natives there that I would better remain where I was; that I was going among a lot of thieves. I thought at the time that they were only saying so, in order to get me to remain where I was along with them. However, I afterwards found out, to my expense, that all they said about the Ngatimaru tribe was perfectly true, with regard to their conduct towards a White man living amongst them. They commenced by their continual begging, and when they found out that they could not get everything they asked for, - it was a matter of impossibility for me to comply with all their demands, without involving myself, with other parties in Auckland, - Owen & Grahame, and Mr. A. Campbell, with whom I was trading for.

During my stay in the Bay I have resided amongst a few of the tribes, but I must say that the Ngatimarus are by far the worst lot of villains that I have been amongst. They have taken advantage of me, being entirely by myself. They have robbed and plundered me in every shape imaginable. When I have been absent, I have left my store with a good strong lock on the door, as I thought, quite secure. I found out, after a time, that they had got a way of entering, either by picking the lock, or entering by false keys, taking away small quantities of goods at a time, so that it would not be detected. I afterwards found an article belonging to the thief that had been left behind by him. This convinced me of the fact that someone was in the habit of entering my store during my absence, either by means of false keys, or by picking the lock. In describing to a disinterested native of a different tribe what occurred, afterwards, with the article found in my house, his reply was that it must have been the Chief of the party that I am living amongst, of the name of Lenart Tupara. I detected the same fellow once taking away a pair of trousers; and together with his manner, I must say he is a deep scheming, cunning, treacherous, very bad native, and a right-hand supporter of Anaru Matete in Hau Hauism, is now one of the prisoners at Turanganui. My belief is, the reason why he did not follow Anaru Matete, was that he was poorly in health. He is consumptive.

When Patara and Kereopa first arrived in the Bay, bringing with them the White Man's head, he was then very poorly, and requested that the White Man's head to be brought to him as a oure for his complaint. His request was acceeded to; so he had the head beside him for a good many days. I did not go to see either him, or the Head, although he was living at a very short distance from me!

There are here, another Chief who has a family of several sons, relations to this Lenart Tupara; they are daily open robbers, upon me and other white men that they can get a chance. I am sorry to say that I am the principal sufferer, living so nigh to them. Were I to buy a pig in the evening, or pigs, and not put it into a house, being too late to kill them, they are sure to be off in the morning. I have had the large totara slabs of my pork house dug out from the bottom, the lashings cut away, and with some difficulty an entrance has been forced, during the night stealing pork, filling into my own bags, and taken away in large quantities, while I was in bed. I have had pigs lying with their legs tied. I was told that one of them, during the evening, before bed-time, as I was told, were dragged and thrown into the river; thereafted, dead, to float down with the ebb tide, to a short distance below where I am, to the residence of these Chiefs of the Soil, and robbers there, taken to the back to be devoured. I have had my store door forced open during the night, mid-night; while I was at work in the pork house, cutting up pigs, and salting; and a considerable quantity of goods taken away. Some of the goods have afterwards been seen in the possession of some of my Chiefs. I never can get any recompence; and the same villains that I have got strong suspicions concerning, quite bold, walking about my place, and asking me questions. A variety of other thefts committed upon me since my coming amongst this tribe, which I will not trouble you with. I am very sorry indeed that I have been compelled in troubling you so far; would be very glad if any means of recompence could be devised as a remuneration for my losses by thefts committed by the tribe I am living amongst.

I am very glad indeed that a place has at last been found to locate these Hau Hau prisoners. It was almost a pity that they were allowed to remain so long, mixing up again with the Government natives. Better late than never. I hope to hear soon of the return of the vessel to carry away the remainder of them. A lot of these evil spirits, such as I am surrounded with, and have given you a slight description of their character, will, I am convinced in my mind, do very little good in extinguishing the flame of Hau Hauism; on the contrary, will try their utmost to advance it, through some cunning means devised hidden from our view.

I am very sorry indeed for troubling you so far. If I can be of any service to you, here, in any way whatsoever, I shall be glad to do it to the utmost of my ability.

I am
Your obedient servant (Signed)
J. Hervey.

P.S. I would not wish that the villains should know that the exposure of their character came from me, while they are roaming about. Otherwise, my life would be in danger by them.
To:- D. McLean Esq. Superintendent.

Please say to Gollan and Rhodes I would have written them myself but am very very tired to night with a days sheep work.

Part of:
Inward letters - Surnames, Her - Hes, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0337 (13 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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