19th. September 1869.
My dear McLean,
Though I am now writing, I really can hardly tell when and where my letter will find you; but as you do not speak, in yours of to hand last night (per favour Wi Pakapuka) of an immediate move Aucklandwards, I trust this will find you still in Wellington.
Beginning with the last subject first, I found on my arrival here yesterday, a telegraph from Wi Pakapuka, asking me to meet him at Nga; so went on at once. On his arrival, per steamer, I met him, and found him much the same as ever. I had a long conversation with him, giving him such information as in my opinion, he needed, on the present state of affairs. As there is a very strong feeling amongst the King natives, respecting natives from Kapiti side coming amongst them, via the Waikato. I regretted rather to see him here, as I could have communicated with him equally well at Tokangamutu; and in my opinion, it will be better in future to send natives from the South, via Whanganui. I can confidently state one thing - that ''Te Makarini''
being Native Minister is having a certain amount of influence amongst a large section of the King Natives; but I have not yet been able to hear any expressions of opinion from old Tamati, or Tawhao. It will be for you to consider whether it is advisable to take any steps towards opening a communication with them on your visit here. My opinion is - not. Let them make the first steps. At the present time the jealousy, and partial distrust between the Waikatos and Ngati maniapoto's, is very great and palable; and will, if left alone, work to our advantage. I have, all along, strongly opposed the interference of the Government, by settlers, and other ways, with the King and his party. The Aukati is now entirely done away with, and natives with horses, or cattle, or pigs for sale, are almost daily coming into the frontier settlements. I think we are daily coming to a better understanding.
We have, during the last week, been again agitated by native reports, which kept us all, the latter part of last week, on the frontier, investigating the truth of; and I am glad to say I found them entirely without foundation. I always make a point of at once investigating the course of these reports, which have tended so much to keep interior
settlers out of the district; and though I say it myself, have, by a little decision, given the settlers confidence, and stopped many from leaving the District.
I have, right or wrong, taken steps to indirectly inform the leading men of the King's party, of your intended visit to these parts, leaving it to them to take any steps they please. You will of course, have heard of the murder of four men of the Ngatipakura tribe at Taupo, by Te Kooti. As they belonged to the King's party, there is considerable exasperation amongst their friends; and Tawhiao has been applied to, to allow Waikato to attack him. His answer I have not yet heard, but the natives say that he must now consent.
The Waikatos and their friends in the Ngatimaniapote Country are still in dread of Te Kooti's return, and it is not a week since Tamati sent messengers round to all the settlements in the King's district, to be watchful and to be on their guard. Of one fact I am pretty well informed - that Te Kooti has not more than seventy men with him on whom he can depend; and that he is constantly on the move. Rewi has left him, but I am unable to hear anything of Te Heuheu, but believe him to be still with Te
Kooti. The Waikatos, a few weeks ago, settled down quietly to work at their plantations, but this last news from Taupe has completely unsettled them again; in fact, I despair of any peace of mind until that arch-fiend is destroyed. His movements are so sudden, so involved in mystery, that it is impossible to say when or where he may re-appear.
I fear that with the numerous demands now upon your time, I am wearying you; but if so, you must put it down to my incessant anxiety, for I am alone here, with no one to help, or advise.
One other subject, and I have done. On Saturday the 5th. of this month, Lewis Hallet was surprised by the arrival of a visitor at his house at Otorahanga, the Fenian O'Connor, also his Interpreter (Peter) (I am informed a Portugese), and one native, (Hone, Ngatiraukawa.) They come from Te Hira, at Ohinemuri, travelled by Maungatautari, carefully avoiding all Kupapa settelments, and were on their way to see Tamati. Lewis detained them at Otorohanga, in accordance with his instructions from Tawhiao. On Monday, Ti Ao (Sophia) passing by from Kawhia, visited him, and asked him what he wanted with Tamati; but O'Connor informed her that his business was too much importance to be communicated to anyone but Tamati
himself; who, informed of the arrival of the visitor, came down to Hangatikii on the following day, Tuesday the 8th. inst. and sent for him. O'Connor and suite went up, and remained at Hangatiki for two days with Tamati, and then returned the same way he came (avoiding Lewis Hallet's house only.) O'Connor, and party, I find, were supplied with horses by Tawa te Waharoa. They had three Dikau's with them, two consisting of clothes and bedding; the third, a smaller pikau, wrapped up in a blue blanket; and, as described to me, exceedingly heavy, and always most jealously watched by one or the other of the party. My informants, L.H. and others, say it contains guns. O'Connor said that he was sent by Te Hira, from whom he had a pass. Anyway he travelled entirely through the Hau Hau Country. I have not been able to ascertain the particulars of what took place between him and Tamati, but this much has leaked out - that he made three demands. One was, Tawhiao's daughter, or one of the principal Chief women of the King's party, for a wife for him; secondly - a tract of country to be alloted to himself and wife; thirdly - that the King should consent to the Ohinemuri district being opened to himself and friends for mining purposes.
All three demands were (I hear) refused by Tamati.
On his return from Hangatiki, the blue blanket pikau was gone.
I am also now informed that the natives shortly expect another visit from him; and I intend to try to intercept him, if I can only hear of his coming.
I purpose writing an Official to Pollen tomorrow, respecting O'Connor;but not getting home last night until teo o'clock this morning, am rather tired out. By the bye, what a singular little Diplomat Pollen is, for whenever I have a growl about the heavy extra and personal expenses his instructions put me to, he telegraphs to me that it is my duty, etc., leaving questions of ways and means entirely out of the question.
I forgot to tell you that O'Conner sent up to Tokangamutu last Christmas, a flag. I will try and get description of it. This I know for a fact.
Excuse the length of this letter, and believe me always to be.
Will. N. Searancke.
D. McLean Esq.