Object #1021355 from MS-Papers-0032-0149
From: Inward letters - W B Baker, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0149 (14 digitised items). 13 letters to Donald McLean, written from Auckland and Waiapu, 1857-1862
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Waiapu, East Cape
November 10, 1862
My dear Sir -
I have so lost sight of you in consequence of your being away from Auckland, that it is only from Mr. Halse I learn that you have not get sailed for Scotland. I fancied that long ere this you would have been enjoying the pleasure of home and friends after the long years of separation, toil and the anxieties attendant upon an official career.
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We have had some excitement, and no little trouble arising out of the Maori King movement, but they seem to be cooling down. In fact, it does not pay, and Maories are as ready as any body else to desert a cause which has many annoyances and but few advantages. Certainly the taha Kawana, as our friends style themselves have not in any way assisted to lessen the breach. They seem to take a mischievous delight in teasing the opposition party, taunting them with the want of means to carry out their plans, and, not least of all, caricaturing the presumption of Matutaera in assuming to reign over, "nga mokopuna o Hinematioro". Indeed some of our most sedate fellows have gravely proposed that we should have a king of our own: that Te Kani's teina should be elected to that high office, and reign not so much as a rival of Potatau, as
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the Governor's Deputy. Much of this mahi takaro, as the old greybeards call it, has dropped thro' in consequence of their time being taken up in planting. They are everywhere reviving the old system of cultivation; falling back upon taro and kumara which they are now planting in great quantities. European clothing too is not so common as it was; this however is mainly attributable to the loss of their crops, and the low price they get for their produce. At one time their pride and avarice
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knew no bounds, especially when they fancied that Auckland was dependant upon them for flour. Now, however, they find that they cannot compete with Australia and they have given way to sullenness and apathy.
You may imagine that with all these adverse influences at work my post is no sinecure. At times I find it hard work to keep up my faith in the new policy: but on the whole there is encouragement. Time alone can develop the thing, and meanwhile I must be content if I can prevent a retro
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grade movement in the machinery. It is at once amusing and painful to witness the extreme suspicion with which they regard any measure that appears to them to affect their rights, and especially their land. The word whenua is banished from my vocabulary. To Utter a word having reference to it, is to imperil my position and popularity. How the new Land's Bill will work, I leave to older and wiser heads than mine to determine. One thing is certain it will not be the Bill, but the men, the agents upon whom the duty of carrying out its provisions devolves, to which we must look for the success of the scheme.
I found the work excessively trying for the first few months. It is too much for one man, especially as travelling in this part of the country is very heavy. I have had two or three narrow escapes with fording swollen rivers, boating and swimming. My health has suffered severely in consequence of the exposure, and unfortunately our present residence, is no better than a seive being neither air, wind
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nor water-tight. My new house is slowly progressing, but it will be comfortable when I get into it. I often think of the old office times, and my companions now scattered far and
wide. Strange changes the Nst.Dept. has undergone. I often wonder what will be the next move.
I suppose you will now be shortly leaving for Scotland, and sincerely hope that you may have a speedy and prosperous voyage to your fatherland.
Believe me, Yours truly,
William B. Baker
Inward letters - W B Baker, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0149 (14 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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