Object #1024683 from MS-Papers-0032-0023
From: Superintendent, Hawkes Bay and Government Agent, East Coast - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0023 (100 digitised items). No Item Description
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January 28th. 1869
I have the honor to report for your information that in consequence of several reports being sent to me, of armed Hau Haus being seen strolling about the neighbourhood; and that Mr. Felix, Loullex and a party of shearers, were missing, and had not been seen or heard of for some time. For the purpose of finding out the truth of these reports, I determined upon raising a Volunteer Expedition force. Saturday last being the day on which the Volunteers and Military Settlers not for drill, afforded me a good opportunity of asking some of them for their services. I am happy to say that after explaining the object of my wishing immediately to raise a mounted force, that all who had horses, very willingly came forward and offered to go anywhere with me. I then sent Messrs. Worgan and Preece, Interpreters, to Paora's Pah, to explain the circumstances to the natives; at the same time to tell them that it was purely a Volunteer Expedition; and that I could not give them either pay or rations. They also, I am glad to say, came forward in a most cheerful manner. On Sunday morning I keft Clyde, accompanied by Lieut. Finlayson, Wairoa Volunteers; Messrs. Worgan and Preece, and the force, - Mounted Europeans 24; Natives Mounted 15- Natives foot 20--30.
On arrival at Felix's station, we found him and party engaged in shearing. I found that the Hau Haus had not been near his house, but that they had taken away nearly half of his sheep off the Run; and that fires were constantly
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seen in the direction of places called Waihi and Kiwi.
On Monday I proceeded to Tukurangi, where we found large potate cultivations, and fires still burning, and a few horses, some with ropes on their neeks. I was very anxious that no time should be lost in following up the enemy's tracks. At this time it unfortunately commenced to rain very hard. Some of the natives expressed a disinolination to proceed, until the following day. Some of the horses being tired, they wished to remain until the dismounted men of the force had arrived. I at once proceeded with the Europeans, and a few natives who did not hesitate about going on. After proceeding on the tracks for a few miles, we came upon a large encampment, with fresh built huts and breakwinds; the natives having been there a very short time before our arrival. We then proceeded to Waihi; finding there, also, large crops of corn and potatoes; and that the natives had also been there only a short time before our arrival.
Notwithstanding the heavy rain that was falling, we pushed on to the top of a steep hill, near the Kiwi, the submit of which we found rifle-pitted; with tracks of natives, and fresh fern out. It being at this after 6 o'clock, a thick fog, and the rain falling heavily, and tracks in every direction - I thought it prudent, on account of the smallness of of my force, to retire to the Waihi Valley, and camp for the night; and await the arrival of the remainder of the natives.
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morning the sentries reported the natives in sight. After giving them some time, I left a short party in charge of the horses, which I put as much out of sight as I could, in a deep gully. My force being then told off, advanced on the settlement. On arrival on top of the hill we had previously left, we took possession of the rifle pits. I then mixed the natives and Europeans together, extended them in skirmishing order, and advanced as quietly as possible, through the bush; which they did with steadiness and discipline, on the settlement, which we found abandoned, apparently only a few hours before
our arrival. We were accompanied by a man named John Gemmel, and his native wife. She was very anxious to go and see her child, and her father, Potihi; who were with the Hau Haus. I determined, after having some conversation with Messrs. Worgan and Preece, who had consulted the Chief, Tamihana, to send the Maori woman forward with a letter, a copy of which I enclose. Gemmel accompanied her, but I gave him positive instructions not to do so. We remained all day and night at Te Kiwi. I took the opportunity, in company with Messrs. Worgan and Preece, to carefully examine the various positions, wherever we believed the enemy to be. I did not consider it safe to venture as far as the Lake, to which we had advanced to within four miles (four); as the majority of the natives returned to Tukarangi, for the purpose of packing potatoes, Hapamana remained with us; also a few others.
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Mr. Preece, by the request of the natives, accompanied the advance guard, and afforded me great assistance. I am also greatly indebted to Mr. Worgan for his services as interpreter, and his accurate knowledge of the country. A letter was found at Kiwi from Te Whero. I believe he was one of the prisoners, the Settlers of the district have given us the best guarantee of their willingness to take part in any action likely to prove of benefit to the district, and the public interests. I do not think that an Expedition consisting of anything like equal numbers, or composed of such good material, was ever taken out at so trifling a cost to the Government. Not alone the settlers, (amongst whom were the most respestable in the district), but the natives who accompanied me, are deserving of all praise, for the cheerful manner in which they volunteered, and undertook a difficult march into the very heart of the enemy's country; as nothing tends so far as to establish a cordial understanding between the settlers and Friendly natives, as Expeditions of this sort; and as men naturally expect some recognition for valuable services rendered voluntarily, I trust the Government will not fail to notice the appreciation of the conduct of these settlers; and I beg to enclose list of their names, in order to facilitate this being done, if deemed in any way advisable.
A messenger sent to Felix's station,
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has just returned, and states that nothing has been heard or seen of either Gemmel or his wife. The natives, Tamihana's, continue packing potatoes, from Manga Mauku. A number of cases have been taken up the river to meet them at Te Ariki.
The Expedition was out four days.
I have the honor to be Sir, Your most obedient servant (Signed)
Harvey Spiller, Capt.
Commanding Wairoa district. To:- His Honor Donald McLean
Superintendent, Hawkes Bay and Government Agent, East Coast - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0023 (100 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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