Object #1020858 from MS-Papers-0032-0142
From: Inward letters - A Alexander, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0142 (22 digitised items). 21 letters written to Donald McLean by Alexander Alexander, 1850-1865 from: Ahuriri, Ohuarau, Mangatarata, Napier & Rotowhenua
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7 Jany. 1859
My dear Mr. McLean,
Yesterday I wrote you officially in answer to yours of 20th Nov. I have nothing here to say in reference to it except to repeat my wish that you will get some one else to take any further management that may be necessary in carrying out any farther improvements that may be required to make a good bridle path to Taupo ---
If Tiffen will allow a Surveyor to go with me in the beginning
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of Feby. he will (the Surveyor) I suppose report to the Govt. what sum in his opinion will be required to carry on the road to Taupo in the same way in wh. it has been hitherto carried on and whether there has been much or any unnecessary expenditure in the works already completed. There can be no doubt the natives have worked with great energy and perhaps have done a great deal more than if they had been superintended by a European. You knowing the nature of the country between this and the Taupo plains will admit
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that great advantages will accrue both to this place and Auckland by its having been made easily available to person on horseback, but more than this it will have a great moral effect amongst the natives. Nikora who has been the principal man in the whole affair deserves the thanks of the Govt. His influence has had considerable weight with the Haroto natives. Rangihiroa appears now quite a different man. Of course he has always been told by me that he has been the mighty lever by wh.
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these improvements have been effected. Perhaps a few words about Kipa are necessary. He is no doubt disappointed at his pet road having been abandoned, but I think he has now resigned himself to his fate. It was he and no other who accompanied me when I went to see what improvements would be required in their district. I pointed out to him the portions wh. I would require to be improved and took him on with me to Tarawera where Nikora's party was at work --- pointed out to him the defects in their work and requested him particularly to avoid similar ones under his management.
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This he faithfully promised to do and we returned to Haroto. There I found that considerable discontent existed amongst the natives on account of Kipa's having proposed to me a line of road wh. they would rather not have carried out I replied that I had seen both lines and that it appeared to me there was little difference between them and that it was for themselves to decide wh. shd. be the one. It was not decided when I left wh. they would adopt but at all events Kipa through misrepresenting what I told him or rather telling
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them what I did not say, got the whole Tribe to adopt his view. They commenced immediately to work to the number of some 50 or 60 and in two or three weeks the mischief was done. A Bill of upwards of £300 was handed to me in a short time and you may rest assured it astonished me a good deal and I proceeded immediately to see what they had been about. But I was much more astonished to find that all this money had been expended when £50 might have sufficed. In fact Kipa had made a carriage drive
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up to his whare. In asking him what he meant by so far departing from my instructions he replied that "the Makarini told me to make a very good road and as he supplies the money he knows best what sort of a road should be made". The rest is explained in my official letter. He should get £25 for work done on this side of Mohaka. The Natives have such a mania just now for road making that I believe they might be got to work without any pay at
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all. I have had to keep open house for them ever since these roads commenced and I am glad at the prospect of soon getting rid of this affliction ---
We are all agog here about politics. The great question just now is who is to be Superintendent. At first Tiffen and Cooper had given out quiet hints that they would have no objection to act. A murmur arose and their aspiring hopes were nipped in the bud. Then came Capt. Newman on the carpet --- this gave cause for a little reflection. You were mentioned --- no chance of your coming --- for the present at least. While matters
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were in this state I received a letter from Mr. Domett about his land Run and Sheep. In a P.S. he asks "who is likely to be your Superintendent I hear Tiffen and Cooper's names mentioned I dont think they are fit men and surely better can be got. I do not state this because I have any particular wish for the office myself altho I shd. have no objection to act if the Council thought proper to elect me".
I do not suppose Domett wrote this in the belief that I would mention it to any one but having done so to two or three of his friends the news spread with wonderful rapidity --- forth comes a letter from Tom Fitzgerald or as Domett
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calls him "Silky Tom" under the name of "Veritas" and a more unblushing and violent attack on an able, good and conscientious man I do not believe ever appeared in print. The rejoinder under the name of Publicola was both just and severe. Ever since both parties in the Newmanites and Domettites have been thrashing each other unmercifully. The only men of any note who oppose Domett are Tiffen, Cooper Russell and Rhodes I have omitted Tom and a precious crew they are. The fact of the matter is I believe these gentlemen know that Mr. Domett knows them --- Tiffen has considerable official influence --- Cooper todays the Rev. Sam. Williams. Russell is disliked by every body. Rhodes is considered
Inward letters - A Alexander, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0142 (22 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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