October 10th. 1871.
The Hon. Donald McLean Esq.
My dear Sir,
As you expressed a wish that I should write to you occasionally and as I cannot expect to hear from you but seldom as you have much more important work to attend to, which must occupy the whole of your time as well as being very onerous and sometimes irksome, You may possibly glean something of some importance, at any rate you will wish to be informed of how matters are going on at the Thames as you cannot expect to hear of everything officially, therefore a private letter occasionally will not be out of place. You must by this time have received Mr. Puckey's report in re the mail route, I accompanied him and brought the mission bag from Ohinemuri. We said at Ropata te Arakai's settlement on the 4th. Oct. we went to Maha te Moananui's Kainga and who sold his interest in the foreshore at Hauraki as also Mihi Keiti. I may informed you that I am assisting Mr. Puckey in this matter of foreshore sale we have concluded the purchase of Mikorimao Matui Te poono, Maratuahu, Hera etc. etc. portions, Papana has not come forward as yet, the plan adopted has been not to seem too over
anxious and to allow the owners to offer to sell great success thereby than we anticipated has resulted. Mr. J.D. O'Keeffe has made himself very busy advising the natives not to sell to the Government and that if they hold out a greater price will be given he has been in communication with Mr. John Williamson. Rapaua says he will not sell until he hears what is the result of his "korero" at Wellington with the Government, Rapaua's share is considerable it is as well to hurry on this expected advice through Mr. Williamson. O'Keeffe idea is not for the benefit of the Maories but to effect his own purpose which is to get the "House" to upset the decision of Native Lands Court and Govt. Many natives are wishful to sell their interests but the survey has not been completed it is a pity Mr. Heale is not on the spot so that various interests can be secured it is highly desirable that the whole of the Beach from Tararu to Shortland should be secured to the Port, as it would be a capital endorsement for the municipal or educational purposes therefore actions should be taken while the "iron is hot."
4th. Oct. We visited Te Hira and Mere Keuru who were very civil and glad to see as their interest in opposing matters pakeha seem to be dying out or getting very slight, that is, so long as they are not advised by their pakeha brethren - who do not or will not see that for their future benefit friendly relations ought to exist between races to ensure propperity. The Kiriwera seem to be the
seem to be the only parties who oppose the opening up of country one of their chiefs Hohepa te Rauhihi happened to say that they would talk about the mail bag detention when Te Hira said that he had said it (the mail bag) should be given up and he was surprised to hear that they wished to argue the point - so that of itself will show what miracles time will work in their minds, no doubt others who are a present oppositionists to the Govt. will in time become its firmest supporters, that is if proper advice is given to them and not allow too many conflicting ideas to be given to them. This alone in my opinion is the true solution to the grand problem of Maori difficulties. No recognised Head has been looked up to at least the Maoris have heard every would be authority and accepted it as correct until properly informed which in most cases is too late as a great evil has already resulted, the consequence is their faith is thereby shaken and they suffer in trying to "serve two masters." I can well see that it is not the Maoris the Govt. have to contend against but their evil advisers it would be well if they (the Maoris) could be taught the difference between an educated and an uneducated pakeha in a similar proportion to that of their own class for instance they never forget the difference between a "Taurekaraka" and a "rangitira". This leads me to remark "en passant" that Mr. Jas. Mackay seems to have a sort of authority in re the Telegraph extension.
Mr. Puckey does not know of it. Now! do you not think that it would be far better (looking at the subject as a native would view it) that the Govt. would be more likely to clear away difficulties if only one was recognised as being in authority for instance Mr. P. is the authorised agent with the Maoris - Mr. M. - nobody. Mr. P. knows nothing of this. The influence Puckey might bring to bear on a matter would thereby be considerably lessened, if Mr. M. informed them he was requested to negociate by the Govt. Mr. Mackay has not the influence the papers have given him credit for I myself hear the Kiriwera blowing him up for his shortcomings as to sale of Komata property he tried to disclaim it but it would not do this was at a meeting at Moananui's kainga when he (Mr. Mackay) found that Mr. ukey and myself had gone to Ohinemuri he followed after no doubt in order to participate in the lion's share in the eyes of the public to anything good that may be effected this I have no doubt gives him a certain amount of credit which of course answers his Book and he takes jolly good care not to contradict or disabuse the public mind I do not approve of any man rising at the expense of another, though it is quite right that we should all aspire instead of "go down the hill". I have heard frequently said that Mackay will and is the man to open Ohinemuri simply because the papers promulgate that idea by having reports (incorrect) by Mackay's friends and they
never lose a chance. I am sure that from what I have seen of Mr. Puckey the Natives respect him as a gentleman he certainly does not associate himself so closely to them as Mackay and I am sure that no respect is lost thereby. I ask you do you not think that it is better to bring the natives up to our standard than for us to descend to theirs. Now, I see that the cravings for being possessors of ploughs is becoming all the rage with the Ohinemuri natives. I saw several ploughing double with horses and bullocks - this thirst for so much civilization ought to be encouraged. To proceed my scribbling will become irksome to you I am afraid.
Oct. 15. Turipoaka came to ask us to go to the Kiriwera to talk as to Mail Bag, there were about 25 assembled in the "Whare Runanga" to receive us. Hohepa te Rauhiki said "Why have you come here" Mr. Puckey daid "in consequence of having received your letter" Hohepa - "All right have you anything else to say" Puckey - "No". Then Hohepa said - "Here is the bag take it and let this be the last of these mails". Wi Katere said - "No more mails must be carried." Puckey replied "that he could not entertain that idea at all as it was for the Government only to decide and as soon as he received instructions to have the mail transmitted it would be recommenced." Hohepa said: "Next mail I take I will burn." Puckey: "Do you be cautious how you fire the mail lest the grass and stuff should also take fire and
burn your houses down."
No reply at all to this.
They (Kiriwera) said that in ancient times that path was a war path and closed against any hostile party, and as the carrying of the mail was hostile to them it should be closed against it. After their new year things would be different they would go down to Hauraki to see about their lands which had passed through the Court and sold without they having received any of the purchase money. They evidently mediate closer connection with the Government and recognise in a slight degree their authority though at present they openly confess their adherence to the Maori King and the Hauhaus and in time they will imperceptibly come under their wing. One word to show that the authority of the King (maori) is decreasing at Ohinemuri as you are aware there was a well fitted up Hau hau church where service was regularly conducted. Now it is unused the only service being carried on by some more attentive assembling in small numbers in one another's whares, for instance I went to one branch of the Hauhau's service (as designated by Ropata te Arakai) which was simply a chanting or intoning of various portions of Holy Bible viz. 34 Paalm etc., in which I saw nothing objectionable to my faith. The fact of them splitting up into various sections of various ideas will ultimately result in not knowing who is their head they will therefore require an adviser of more stability than their
former ones. They told Mr. Puckey that he might come and see them as often as he wishes but hoped that he would not bring any more Maori chiefs with him alluding no doubt to Tarapipipi who went with Mr. Puckey to Ohinemuri some months ago he may possibly have impressed his adherence to the Govt. in too strong terms for their present ideas. They asked about receiving a portion of the miners' right fees and were told by Mr. Puckey that the proper course was to go to Hauraki and talk to the chiefs about it if they consented it should be so, they said they would go when the new year set in. Tinipoaka told the Kiriwera that he had heard at Hauraki that Tarapipipi had said that Te Hira had consented to the Mail Service, they said that could not be and requested us to proceed to Te Hira to ascertain the truth of the statement. Proceeded to Te Hiras Hohepa told Te Hira as to Tinipoaka's statement. Te Hira of course before their faces said that he had not consented; all opposition seems to centre in Hohepa Te Rauhihi and that Te Hira has given over the matter to him to do as he thinks best if he chooses to stop, it is well, if not, it is well, in fact he may be called the Executive but when he finds that first one and then the other of his adherents become traitors to his cause he will I am sure give in. It is not necessary to write anything that was in the report
to you, you know as to the Telegraph course in the hands of Moananui and Mackay acted as their friend or mediator simply because there was no one else and they wished to have some one to see the Govt. did not take them in - they alluded to how Shortland was manipulated under the Mackay dispensation but of course the Govt. get all the credit (Bad) Mr. Mackay kindly feathers his own nest with the "coup d'etat" portion and leaves the Govt. out in the cold in fact I believe he lays the unction to his soul that neither a McLean or anyone else can manage or understand the native so well as he does, he may be right but I do not think so. It is quite proper that every good citizen should use his endeavours to bring about any end for good and when necessary should be availed of. I am afraid I am spinning out my yarn too much I may say that any time you want information write me and I will do my best to collect it I am fond of scribbling when anything is to be done I set my mind on, I could spin this out much longer but I am almost afraid your duties will not allow you to run it through, being terrified at the length of it, you will put it in your pigeon-hole for future reading and forget all about it, though I must say you have never forgotten the writer and no doubt now the Government is held in favour by the by far the greatest part of the popluace that some good substantial appointment in this district will be put aside for me. I should much like to get into the position of Warden and RM.
under the new Act con-
templated a sort of warden friend-of-the-Maoris ought to be in office to see the strict adherence to the Natives Agreement I have always said that Ohinemuri would have been opened long ago if greater surveillance on behalf of the Natives had been kept, in fact the idea has been :" Oh! they are only niggers take it out of them" but now that I have visited Ohinemuri and noticed the wretchedness the Natives live in I feel convinced they have some pakeha adviser (I think him a traitor to his country and himself) who is causing them to hang out in order to get well paid to open the country I would not pay them a penny for giving their consent but I certainly should advise them that they be correctly in structed as to the advantages of having their country settled with pakehas. I fear there are some white men who think progress is a mistake. It appears to me that the payment of miners' rights fees wants a readjusting for instance the Kiriwera say they are entitiled to some propostion, other natives have told me that such and such a native takes his share and they get nothing; this of itself cannot help but increase the native difficulties. Some plan could easily be arranged whereby the whole of the proprietors can be satisfied and have their rights. I think I could devise such a plan if I was duly authorised and had power to collect the necessary information.
I noticed that the absence of a Court say a Native Circuit court is felt at Ohinemuri it would be advisable
to proclaim the district under the Native Circuit Court act I am sure the Natives would avail themselves of it besides which it would be inserting the "thin end of the wedge" for instance when Puckey and I were up there if we could have had authority for holding a court several casws were mentioned to him which required adjustment but he had no authority and was forced to make some excuse to them.
You will remember I wrote to you about the Native Land Fraud Act I see the Dr. Pollen is appointed commissioner no doubt this session some emolument will be set apart for the working of the Act. I presume Dr. Pollen will not care about keeping the post, with his residence in Auckland he is unable to collect information on Thames transaction in fact Mr. Puckey does all the work.
Mr. Puckey forwarded a requisition for salary on my account, I have been interpreting the deeds for sale of foreshore I prefer that I should be regularly appointed to certain work connected with the Native dept. at the Thames than make the usual charge for interpretation besides which it will be more economical to the Govt. besides which if so employed I can be available for other duties which may spring up. I have also at various times assisted Mr. Puckey in clerical work such as drawing out deed etc., there appears to me to be more work than one man can possibly get through as sometimes it is necessary we should go up country and the office work there fore at a stand still.
I have written you just my plain views on any subject which came into my head I hope you will not consider I have touched matters I had no right to do, but that you will accept them in the spirit they are given and also that you will excuse my rewriting this though only intended at first to be a rough draft to write a letter on, hoping you will be able to decipher my views. With kind remembrances,
My dear Sir,
Yours obediently & sincerely
Edw. Hy. Power J.P.