Letter from W. Halse,
to Donald McLean,
dated 7th. August 1854.
7th, August 1854.
My dear McLean,
We have had sad work here, in an attempt by Rawiri Waiaua, on the 3rd. instant, to cut a boundary line behind and adjoining the Bell Block. Katatori and his followers are there armed with guns; and falling to induce the line-cutters, who had only their hooks, --- to desist from their work, they shot them down like dogs. Among the fallen, you will be grieved to find the name of Rawiri Waiana, the Native Assessor, a steady and firm friend of the Government and Europeans. Paora te Kope, too, his brother; and poor old Taituha; and Paora Haupunga; and Ihaka of Waiwakaiho. Some were badly wounded:--- Piriha, (the great walker); Marangai, and Hamiora, (the lame native). Others slightly, including Haiana (who came with you from the South); and Rawiri, of the Kawau (Wikitoria's husband). The affair may be now at its crisis; Rawiri's body having been removed from the Hospital this morning
for burial at the scene of the slaughter; where Paora te Kope, Taitaha, Ihaka, and the other Paora lie buried; as Katatori has stated his intention of resisting any more burials there. So another scene of blood may now be enacting, but on different terms; the mourners having gone with the intention of shooting Katatori and his people, if they offer any molestation; or indeed, leave their pa. His position is becoming critical, from the blackness of his crimes; and occasional desertion of his followers.
Our course is clear, --- decided on at a Meeting of Magistrates, and pretty well observed on the whole, --- non-intervention, our only course. Perhaps there has been a little too much communication with the natives, --- a little too much made or thought of Katatori, considering that neutrality is our policy and safety; and considering the men we have to avoid offending in their present mood, by the slightest appearance of sympathy with the slayers of their people. It is understood as well as it can be, considering that natives are in the question, that so long as we abstain from interference with them, they will, with us. How much soever our sympathies are aroused in the sad business, we must be cautious, not to convert
a native quarrel into a land question, by not remaining strictly neutral. If the Government considers that these murderous savages, who spared not old age, rank, or relations, should, be brought to punishment, well and good. The friends of the murdered, have, perhaps, this claim on Government; that they fell in an effort to procure for us some land. And the native's generally, as well as ourselves, may not unreasonably, after the escapes we have had, look for a protective force, to guard us against the sudden, and always awful attacks of savages, which may occur at any moment. It is only recently that we escaped being over-run by all Ngatiruanui, --- whose proposal to attack the town, and cut down the flag-staff, was certainly effectively opposed by this very man, who has shown a want of pity and heart on the banks of the Mangaraka, that stamps him a ruthless, deliberate, and savage murderer. The occurence is second only to the Wairua Massacre.
It happened rather unluckily, that in the midst of our raruraru, the "Cashmere" came in from England, with between from 60 to 70 people for this place, out of upwards of 100. The Auckland mail arrived yesterday, (Sunday), and I received your letter
of the 12th, ultimo.
I am greatly satisfied at this junction, particularly that you intend employing Rogan. The only probably difficulty in our minds here having been the terms, which you approve of; for this is the very best time for pushing the Mokau question; now that all the tribes in and about New Plymouth are absorbed in the Hua Massacre; which will put an end for some time, at least, to land-purchasing, in the immediate neighbourhood; as, even if an offer of the land --- the price of blood --- be made, it may not be prudent for the Government, under the circumstances, to accept it immediately. It would be a prudent step, and a diversion, to resume the purchase of land 50 miles off from natives who are willing and anxious to sell. The example must operate beneficially on our own natives in every way. But even if our own were willing to sell more extensively than they are likely to do, Mokau is necessary to our progress, and should be purchased. It will cost the more in proportion to the delay, Rogan, I understand, can buy say 100,000 acres. One of the "Cashmere's" people is landing the latest improved steam machinery, for sewing and grinding. This, in New Plymouth, will remain on the beach to rust away. At Mokau, the owner might receive the reward of enterprise and outlay.
I have already stated, --- or so intended, my hearty approval of the arrangements you propose in your Department here. Rogan can materially serve us at Mokau; and here, when not otherwise employed. Cooper's removal is asked for by himself; and it will admit Henry, who, if I mistake not, will prove a careful and efficient man for the purpose.
Old Leech has some new dodge. The mail for Tuesday is to be made up at 4 p.m, this day, --- now past, I fear; so good-bye. I shall write you by the "Cashmere." The "Velox" is loading at Waitara, potatoes. The "Chectah" is in from Wellington. Weather delightful.