September 23rd. 1869.
My dear McLean,
The ''St. Kilda'' came in this morning, having Ropata, Hotene, and some Ngatiporou on board. Ropata tried to make out that you had intended then to stay here; but, finding from Capt. Fox that these men were not on pay, and not having received any instructions from you, and Ropata not having any document to prove you wished them to stay here, I allowed them to depart for the coast. I offered, however, to keep 20 of them here on pay;as, by your instructions, I am allowed 80 men in all, and now have but 30 on pay. This offer, however, was refused. I really am not desirous to have any great number of Ngatiporou here, until our white population is larger. To make any use of men, I must have then under command; and I rather doubt the possibility of Ngatiporou caring to commanded, except by their own Chiefs.
I am keeping the district well scouted. Within the last week, European scouts have been near the Lakes - Waihau - Hangaroa - to within 2 miles of Ngatapa; to Waikohu and Mangatu up the main valley;
and also some distance on the Opotiki track. All the paths that I know of have been visited, and I intend to keep this system up if possible, although sometimes the garrison does not have a night in bed. Most of the inhabitants do volunteer duty, as Patrols, at night, finding six men each night. A few more white men here to render the duties somewhat lighter, and I should not care a pinch of snuff for Te Kooti and his band.
The Friendly Natives just returned from Wellington, are trying hard to induce me to give them guns; Ropata and Hotini having informed them the Hau Haus are somewhere near Te Wairoa.
I may mention that about a week ago, natives and Europeans reported having seen fires several miles to the Nor'ard of Ngatapa. I have been particularly careful ever since; and do not intend to be too sceptical of any reports. I do sincerely hope you will be able to send us the Defence Force men, or some Europeans at once, as this soldiering will soon ruin the settlement. All the sheep farmers are trying to save their wool this season, so the natives are earning a good deal by shearing, etc.
Tamihana Ruatapu is not living in a fighting pa, but has taken up his quarters with a few suspicious
characters at an old kaianga on the lagoon.
The Turanganui side of the Big River. This may be the abode of treason. So I shall place scouts about it at night, every now and then.
Hau Haus who have been sent along the coast, some to Ngatiporou settlement, and some to Mania, are commencing to turn up here; and I am rather at a loss to know what to do with them. To two fellows I quietly hinted that unless they took themselves off again, they might get accidentally shot. It had the desired effect.
Hoping we shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you,
very truly yours,
The Honble. D. McLean,