Object #1023579 from MS-Papers-0032-0014

5 pages

From: Secretary, Native Department - War in Taranaki and King Movement, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0014 (46 digitised items). Includes letters about war in Taranaki and the King movement and a letter in Maori from McLean to Wiremu Kingi offering him land

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

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English (ATL)

In reference to the erection of defences for the better security of the town of Auckland and its suburbs, in the event of any concerted attack on the part of the Natives:- I have to offer the following observations.

As to the effect that such defences would produce upon the Native Mind.

I am of opinion that the sudden erection of fortifications would arouse greater feelings of distrust and apprehension on the part of the Natives, than at present exists as to the eventual intentions of the Europeans towards them; - more especially the erection of inland forts; - which, in contradistinction to those on the Coast line, or fronting the harbor, would have the appearance of being intended more as a guard against internal feuds, than as security against foreign aggfessors of other nations, who would commence an attack on those parts bordering on the sea coast. A wide distinction would therefore be drawn by the Natives between forts erected on the coast, and those placed in an inland direction, which latter they would aegard with some degree of alarm; - while they would evince considerable indifference as to the former.

Many of the Natives are becoming more and more jealous of the growing power of the English; and, although nothing has been done of a nature to justify such conclusions, they entertain a very general opinion that there is a latent desire on the part of the English to become possessed of their territory; and that it may behove them to make some stand before it be too late to assert and maintain their independence and nationality. At the same time there are many well-disposed tribes in the country; who, from jealousy of each other, and friendship to the Europeans, - sometimes from interested motives - would not coalesce in any such movement; - possessing also, as they do, sufficient knowledge of our comparative resources, and of the certainty that any struggle, however successful they might be in its commencement, must eventuate not only in the loss of commercial gain to them, but in the end lead to their own subjugation.

Under these circumstances, I think it would be advisable, before making any demonstration of the intentions of Government to erect such defences, that the Chiefs of those tribes upon whom dependance can be placed should be consulted, and the objects of the Government so fully explained to them as to prevent any undue suspicion on their part that such erection had any other object than the defence of Auckland from foreign or internal aggression.

This precaution being taken, I would submit that the defences considered necessary by the military authorities should first be commenced on the borders of the harbor; and that one or two stone buildings in the interior might be placed in a state of defence as rallying points. This would excite less distrust than any other mode of proceeding; and as these works progressed, (on which some of their own people might be employed) they would become reconciled to the necessary erections for a complete defence of the town; and gradually yield to the necessity, which is constantly felt among themselves, of having such defences, within which equal protection would be afforded to well disposed Natives as to Europeans.

I do not consider the town of Auckland or its suburbs safe without such defences; - as the Natives feel, in the event of any aggressive act on the part of the English, that they could form a concerted plan, by which the settlement and the majority of its inhabitants could be destroyed; while they could retreat with safety to their interior fastnesses, and there defy with impunity any attempt on the part of the English to obtain satisfaction for such an outrage.

Feeling therefore the necessity for being prepared against any sudden outbreak

Part of:
Secretary, Native Department - War in Taranaki and King Movement, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0014 (46 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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