Object #1026621 from MS-Papers-0032-0494

9 pages written 17 Jul 1863 by Robert Reid Parris in New Plymouth District

From: Inward letters - Robert Parris, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0494 (56 digitised items). 56 letters written from New Plymouth, 1861-1873. Includes copy of letter from McLean to Parris, 20 Sep 1870.

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

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English (ATL)

Confidential New Plymouth
July 17th. 1863.

My dear Sir,

I received your letter dated the 22nd. May, on Monday last 13th. instant.

The old hand waiting was cheering at first sight but on opening the letter the brevity of its contents was a disappointment, especially as it referred to a matter which has grieved me beyond measure, however I shall be relieved by opening my heart to you knowing that you will sympathise with me in the trials I have had to encounter during changes of no ordinary nature.

You ask "what the grounds are for giving up Waitara?" In the first place I believe Sir George came with a full determination to give it up, for I could trace in every conversation I had with him on the subject, that he was thoroughly imbued with Selwyn's and Hadfield's opinions. He brought down with him Lt. Bates as interpreter whose incapacity I expect you are aware of. He was principally engaged in searching for information against the Waitara purchase, but failing to make out a case with the Natives he at last had recourse to the Carringtons who among them (true to their principles) concocted a tissue of falsehoods which Bates put into a report for Sir George and got Octavius Carrington to certify as true. This was done while I was at Tataraimaka with the Troops.

Early one morning Sir George arrived at the Camp with this report and took me into the Generals Tent to read it which having done he asked me "if it was correct", to which I replied "totally false". My answer appeared to give Sir George dissatisfaction. The General who was present in the Tent remarked on hearing my statement "Mr. Parris's account gives the whole affair a very different feature".

It was very strange that Sir George whould have hurried away from New Plymouth this morning with only Bates when he knew the previous evening that Bell was going to Tataraimaka. They had been discussing Carringtons representations the evening before and Bell said he must see me before he could give an opinion and I am of opinion Sir George hoped to have got a confirmation of Carringtons lieing report before. Bell saw me. But Parete was not to be caught in so vile a trap for the name of Carrington stinks in my nostrils. I supplied Bell with information refusing the statements of Carrington of which he wrote a long minute for the Governor which led to continual controversy and hard battleing with Sir George and Dommett and Bell. They fought the question hard for a long time until I believe Sir George completely wore them out. The reason Domett and Bell assigned for sanctioning the abandonment of Waitara was this. - They say they were not aware that William King's Pa (Kuikui) stood on the block of land. In reply to which I called their attention to Sir Wm. Martin's Pamphlet in which it is distinctly stated, and which both admitted they had read.

They both also admit that they are more than ever convinced from what they have gathered from the different interviews with the Natives and the Governor, (Mataitawa as well as the others) that the Proprietary rights of Te Teira ma would perfectly justify their selling the land with the proposals made to a few opponents viz. to mark theirs off for them. You will no doubt be pleased to hear that Rapouma Te One and four others came over from Arapama on the 8th of this month and are now at Waitara. The Mataitawa Natives on hearing of his arrival the same day that he went to Waitara sent a party of ten men armed to Hurirapa for him, requesting him to go to Mataitawa but he declined the invitation in a manner signifying his disapprobation of their conduct, and in a day or two afterwards Patukakariki came from Mataitawa and has been with them at the Hurirapa ever since and says he will not return again to Mataitawa, but he has played the double part so often I dont put much dependence on him. You will be pleased to hear that Teira has kept the £100 the first instalment which was paid to him in 1859 until yesterday when it was distributed among the last of them in the presence of Rapouma and Patukakariki both of which participated in the distribution. The latter received £10 and I have this day received a letter from them desiring me to write to the Governor and ask for the remainder of the sum agreed to be paid for the block, (£500) which strange to say Sir George promised they should have although he abandoned all claim to the land, assigning us a reason for so doing. The fact of its being stated in the Deed that they had received the consideration money, which to this day has never been paid to them. Sir George is trying to make political capital out of this fact, against the late Governor and his advisers although I have explained to him that it was a special request of the natives themselves that the money should be kept by the Government for them until the War was over, as they should only spend it without benefiting themselves by the transaction during the unsettled state of affairs.

You can better imagine than I can describe to you what my feelings have been, when I describe to you Sir George's treatment of the different Natives. The Mataitawa natives he idolized and thrust presents upon them until they would no longer accept them - whilst on the other hand our old friends, through every difficulty, he treated with freezing coldness - more especially Ihaia and his brother who he refused to speak to until after the Murders on the 4th May when he shook hands with them and allowed old Ihaia to make a speech which Bell assured me made him shed tears. Soon after the Murders the Mataitawa natives manifested a strong sympathy for the miscreants who had been guilty of the bloody deeds, When Sir George completely turned round in a manner that astonished us all. He asked me one day in the presence of Domett and Bell if I agreed with him in the opinion that Hunana (Kings daughter) and several others of the Mataitawa natives who were in Town should be taken and imprisoned. To which I sternly replied (for the spirit moved me to speak my mind even to Sir George Grey) "That before I would take so mean advantage of them after the encouragements they had had to come in to Town - I would first give them notice to keep away from the Town" The term "mean advantage" gave offence to Sir George but he soon forgot it and must have known that I was right.

I am afraid I shall tire you with this long narrative of occurrences. I should not say so much to any other person but yourself and I must request you will be careful to destroy the letter when you have read it, for you know how private letters have been used against me by persons in high authority.

Sir George thought by giving up the land he should reinstate Manukorihi at the Kuikui but no. Raupongo, Ruru and Teira ma must positively refuse to allow them to return there. After he had declared his intention to give up the land he requested all the Natives to meet at Waitara and bring about a reunion of the tribe. The meeting was held and Bates was sent to hear what took place, and to their astonishment and disgust, the Mataitawa natives said the only way the tribe could be reunited was for Te Teira ma and Thaia ma to put themselves and the land under the mana of the Maori King. On the other hand Ihaia and Te Teira ma said the only was a reunion could be effected was for all to put themselves under the Government and each section of the tribe go and live upon their own land. Upon this they split and Sir George as far as ever from reuniting the tribe which was no small disappointment to him.

I believe the abandonment of the block was the best thing could have occurred for the Natives will prove it to the world who the land belongs to. Kings people always distinctly refused to have any thing to do with an investigation and had they consented I am afraid the sellers would not have had fair play, as I suppose the Hudges would have been packed by certain influence which Sir George favours.

I know you were glad to hear of the punishment we inflicted on the Southerners on the 4th. June. I wish it had been the Taranaki miscreants instead of the deluded creatures from Manganui. Not that they deserve it for it is the proffered support from other tribes that make those Natives of one district so bad. The villains who massacred the poor creatures on the 4th. May were principally Patukais, Warea and further up. What effect in your opinion will the confiscation of the block between Omata and Tataraimaka have. I believe it will have a good effect after they are reconciled to it - but when will that be - I fear a long time first.

Unless we can keep such a man as General Cameron in the country with a good force at his command. What an unfortunate thing we had not got him at the commencement of the war - Colonel Warre is a fine soldier - I work very well with him but I assure you I long for peace to be free of the turmoil of military pressure, which in its best forms is very unsuited to the working of Natives.

Could a person with £1000 do any good in your Province in Sheep breeding, - or are there no chances left of getting runs or becoming a shareholder in Flocks and take the management.

I suppose you will have heard of the death of poor old Mr. Smart undee circumstances of a painful nature for an old man of his age. He was assisting to take down a house when the roof fell upon him and killed him - on the 17th. June.

I hope you enjoy your change of life. It must be a change indeed to you. But I suppose you are still Te Makarini with the Natives of your district.

We had Rogan with us for a short time in May. John is not as happy as when you used to be in the department. and I should like to know who is - Such is life.

I remain my dear Sir
Yours very truly
Robert Parris.

Part of:
Inward letters - Robert Parris, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0494 (56 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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