Object #1025680 from MS-Papers-0032-0018

10 pages written 25 Feb 1865 by George Sisson Cooper in Napier City to Sir Donald McLean in Wellington

From: Superintendent, Hawkes Bay and Government Agent, East Coast - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0018 (58 digitised items). Paper about McLean taking several notable Maori including Wi Taki Ngatata and Matene Te Whiwhi to Turanga (1865), to determine the Maori attitude towards the Paimarire religion.

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

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English (ATL)

COPY. Civil Commissioner's Office. Napier.
February 25th. 1865


Sir,

It is my duty to report to you that a deputation of Natives from Waikato, numbering about 120 men, many of them armed, are now in this Province; with the openly avowed object of making proselytes to the new Pai Marire superstition; and I am sorry to add that they have come upon the invitation of Te Hapuku.

They first arrived at

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English (ATL)

Petane, where they only stayed a couple of days; but that time was quite sufficient to make them convert the inhabitants of that village, which has always been notorious as the hotbed of sedition.

They left Petane in the night accompanied by Paora Toki, of that place, and were at Renata's village next morning, before the natives there were aware of their approach. Renata refused to hold any communication with them, or to allow them to repeat their Karakias at his village; but did

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English (ATL)

not attempt to hinder their progress.

They then went to Te Hapuku's pa,- their proceedings at which place are described in the letters enclosed herewith.

I beg to draw your particular attention to these letters; as they disclose a very unsatisfactory state of affairs in this Province. Even making every allowance for the usual exaggeration of Maori stories, there still remain the facts that a body of armed ruffians have suddenly made their appearance right in the centre of the Province,

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English (ATL)

before anybody knew they were coming; that they have converted a number of people to the most meticulously degraded superstition; that Te Hapuku, hither-to supposed to be the friend of the Pakeha, has invited them here, subscribed to their faith, and hoisted the rebel flag with many absurd ceremonies; and above all, that they are to be followed by further armed parties of propagandists, with the distinet object of defying the English and the peaceably disposed natives, in the hopes of bringing on disturbances.

As soon as I had reliable

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information of the arrival of these fanatics, I went to see Renata Hawepo, whom I reminded of the promises made by himself and other Chiefs at several Meetings at the Pa Whakairo, that they would take care that no Waikato natives should ever come into this Province; and I asked them what they now intended to do. He acknowledged the promises, but said,- "What could I do when they were invited by Hapuku?" I replied that made the matter worse; it only rendered the duty of ordering them back all the more incumbent on him. He told me that they had decided on having a Meeting at the

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English (ATL)

Pa Whakairo on the 15th. of March; to take the whole matter into consideration; invitations for which had the same morning (22nd. inst) been sent out. Renata and all his people speak of the new superstition with the most supreme contempt.

I also sent a messenger inland, with letters to two natives, upon whose information I could rely; and with orders to call at Hapuku's pa, and take notice of whatever he saw there. Unfortunately he could not deliver one of my letters; but the other has produced the two I have enclosed. The Orderly informs me that on

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English (ATL)

calling at the Pa, he was civilly treated. It was full of natives; and he saw them going through some of their mummeries. A blue flag was flying, with an inscription on it; but as it was wet, and they were in the act of hauling it down, he was unable to make out the letters. The next morning a white flag was flying, with a red cross in the upper corner.

As soon as the Orderly returned with the above information, I sent a second one off to Hapuku, with the letter, a copy of which is enclosed; in which I have called upon him to explain himself.

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English (ATL)


I enclose a letter from Morena, as Assessor; who proposes to take vigorous measures. My reply to this must be that the forthcoming Meeting will settle what is to be done.

I have also written to Karaitiana and Tareha, to the same effect as what I have said verbally to Renata. I enclose a copy of this letter also.

In the present state of the Province, it is expedient that if large bodies of armed fanatics are permitted to be continually travelling about in it, a state of Peace cannot long exist; and if the Natives

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English (ATL)

cannot, or will not, prevent them from coming, we certainly cannot.

The regular Forces in this Province consist of about 250 men of the 14th. Regt. in Barracks at Napier; 50 Military settlers; and 25 of the Colonial Defence Force, of whom five are detached as the crew of the cutter "Iris". Besides these, the Militia, and Volunteers, do not exceed 800 armed men. In Mr. McLean's temporary absence there is no authority in the Province for calling them out for active service.

We are thus completely at the mercy of any bodies of

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English (ATL)

Natives who choose to march into the District, to make a diversion in favour of the Wanganui people, and to obtain supplies to replenish their Commissariat.


I have, etc., (Signed)
G.S. Cooper.
Acting C. C.
P.S. I enclose a letter from Te Hapuku; which has just been handed to me; and which appears to me to be a very lame excuse for his conduct. I look upon it as corroborating all the charges made against him.

(Signed)
G.S. Cooper.
Acting C.C. To:- The Honble The Minister for Native Affairs
etc.etc.etc. Wellington

English (ATL)

COPY. Civil Commissioner's Office. Napier.
February 25th. 1865


Sir,

It is my duty to report to you that a deputation of Natives from Waikato, numbering about 120 men, many of them armed, are now in this Province; with the openly avowed object of making proselytes to the new Pai Marire superstition; and I am sorry to add that they have come upon the invitation of Te Hapuku.

They first arrived at Petane, where they only stayed a couple of days; but that time was quite sufficient to make them convert the inhabitants of that village, which has always been notorious as the hotbed of sedition.

They left Petane in the night accompanied by Paora Toki, of that place, and were at Renata's village next morning, before the natives there were aware of their approach. Renata refused to hold any communication with them, or to allow them to repeat their Karakias at his village; but did not attempt to hinder their progress.

They then went to Te Hapuku's pa,- their proceedings at which place are described in the letters enclosed herewith.

I beg to draw your particular attention to these letters; as they disclose a very unsatisfactory state of affairs in this Province. Even making every allowance for the usual exaggeration of Maori stories, there still remain the facts that a body of armed ruffians have suddenly made their appearance right in the centre of the Province, before anybody knew they were coming; that they have converted a number of people to the most meticulously degraded superstition; that Te Hapuku, hither-to supposed to be the friend of the Pakeha, has invited them here, subscribed to their faith, and hoisted the rebel flag with many absurd ceremonies; and above all, that they are to be followed by further armed parties of propagandists, with the distinet object of defying the English and the peaceably disposed natives, in the hopes of bringing on disturbances.

As soon as I had reliable information of the arrival of these fanatics, I went to see Renata Hawepo, whom I reminded of the promises made by himself and other Chiefs at several Meetings at the Pa Whakairo, that they would take care that no Waikato natives should ever come into this Province; and I asked them what they now intended to do. He acknowledged the promises, but said,- "What could I do when they were invited by Hapuku?" I replied that made the matter worse; it only rendered the duty of ordering them back all the more incumbent on him. He told me that they had decided on having a Meeting at the Pa Whakairo on the 15th. of March; to take the whole matter into consideration; invitations for which had the same morning (22nd. inst) been sent out. Renata and all his people speak of the new superstition with the most supreme contempt.

I also sent a messenger inland, with letters to two natives, upon whose information I could rely; and with orders to call at Hapuku's pa, and take notice of whatever he saw there. Unfortunately he could not deliver one of my letters; but the other has produced the two I have enclosed. The Orderly informs me that on calling at the Pa, he was civilly treated. It was full of natives; and he saw them going through some of their mummeries. A blue flag was flying, with an inscription on it; but as it was wet, and they were in the act of hauling it down, he was unable to make out the letters. The next morning a white flag was flying, with a red cross in the upper corner.

As soon as the Orderly returned with the above information, I sent a second one off to Hapuku, with the letter, a copy of which is enclosed; in which I have called upon him to explain himself.

I enclose a letter from Morena, as Assessor; who proposes to take vigorous measures. My reply to this must be that the forthcoming Meeting will settle what is to be done.

I have also written to Karaitiana and Tareha, to the same effect as what I have said verbally to Renata. I enclose a copy of this letter also.

In the present state of the Province, it is expedient that if large bodies of armed fanatics are permitted to be continually travelling about in it, a state of Peace cannot long exist; and if the Natives cannot, or will not, prevent them from coming, we certainly cannot.

The regular Forces in this Province consist of about 250 men of the 14th. Regt. in Barracks at Napier; 50 Military settlers; and 25 of the Colonial Defence Force, of whom five are detached as the crew of the cutter "Iris". Besides these, the Militia, and Volunteers, do not exceed 800 armed men. In Mr. McLean's temporary absence there is no authority in the Province for calling them out for active service.

We are thus completely at the mercy of any bodies of Natives who choose to march into the District, to make a diversion in favour of the Wanganui people, and to obtain supplies to replenish their Commissariat.


I have, etc., (Signed)
G.S. Cooper.
Acting C. C.
P.S. I enclose a letter from Te Hapuku; which has just been handed to me; and which appears to me to be a very lame excuse for his conduct. I look upon it as corroborating all the charges made against him.

(Signed)
G.S. Cooper.
Acting C.C. To:- The Honble The Minister for Native Affairs
etc.etc.etc. Wellington

Part of:
Superintendent, Hawkes Bay and Government Agent, East Coast - Papers, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0018 (58 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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