Object #1027341 from MS-Papers-0032-0245

7 pages written 7 Mar 1854 by Alfred Domett in Ahuriri to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Alfred Domett, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0245 (32 digitised items). 32 letters written from Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Auckland, Nelson and Taranaki, 1852-1870 & undated. Includes letter from H S Chapman to Domett, 1866; drafts of two letters from McLean to Domett, Mar 1858 & Jul 1863.

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

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English (ATL)

Ahuriri,
7 March, 1854.


My dear McLean,

There are several things I wish I could consult you upon personally, as I cannot do so at present I write.

The 1st thing I have to say is that we must have the flat land around the port here as soon as possible. The place will never go ahead at all until that is done. I tell old Hapuku that he has sold the body of the land to us and kept the heart for himself. He says 'well give me a good price as you gave for Wydrop and you shall have the heart'. There is the first ill effect of the high Wydrop price. I am most anxious you should come down here in May, when all the natives seem to expect you. Nothing will be done except by you at present. At any rate we must have the land and also most part of the bush. The complaints are general of the natives having been allowed to keep all the bits of bush for themselves.

The next thing is the settlement or squatting of people upon unbought land. Only yesterday Hapuku and Waka (of Waimarama) came to me with a man namedHaleel to get my consent to his settling upon land at Waimarama for wh. there are several prior applications. I believe the man was to plough for them on their native reserve there. Now strictly speaking I have nothing whatever to do with unbought lands and I believe, at least I know, my fining people wd. be illegal, unless I were appointed, or someone else rather was appointed to lay information under the Ordinance. But what I also want to know is the exact position in which the associations further unbought lands here stand and what your desire is respecting attempted squating upon them. Let me know by 1st opportunity. Young Rhodes is also impudently going to build on the flat here near the big bush I hear. If I could talk the cursed Maori lingo as you can I think I could manage to get the land from old Hapuku.

There is great disgust at Porongahau Tautaru and other settlements down that way at Hori or Hapuku's receipt and appropriation of the purchase money of - which land I dont exactly understand - is it Mopua? - but one of your last Wellington purchases. Ropiha (Robert?) at Porangahau I think is the chief malcontent. Hapuku says they had £20 and affects to despise them greatly. The other day he said "the only question as to them a little time ago would be which was the fattest, in order that he might be killed to be eaten" horrible savage! But I want to know your view or justification of meaning of the proceeding, or at all events the truth of the case. I enclose you a letter from Ropiha on the subject. It was amusing to see (for he wrote this letter at his pah at Porangahau when I was there) how secretly the old fellow went about this and he specially requested me not to let Hapuku etc. know that he had written to you, which shewed in spite of their abuse of Hapuku and his 'tahae' how much they feared him still. I promised, however, you should have his letter so here it is.

There are nice lads about this place --- I came down here and went up again to Curlings place --- In my absence Villars was to send my goods on to this place (the Govt. whare on the island). Among them came an old strong box of iron, from my Wellington office. The things were left here alone. On my return I found the strong box battered in apparently with an axe. by bulldog force. I laughed to think what a "sell" it was for the fellows, who were looking for a glut of gold no doubt to pay surveys etc. My official documents precious things to steal, and make such great exertions for. I think the disappointment might be considered by a paternal Govt. as sufficient punishment. I suspect 3 or 4 fellows here who would not stick at such a thing --- If I had information that would convict anyone I would, easily get him arrested, by swearing in as special constables half a dozen of Hapukus Maoris --- But at present nothing appears --- and I have not a single constable and dont choose to do policemen's duty myself for all the Govts. in the world --- I have written to the Superintdt. at Welln. and to Auckland for 2 policemen --- support the request with your influence.

I have also written for a clerk and interpreter.

Tell them the necessity of this --- and choose one if you can yourself. This I shall esteem a favour.

I am greatly desirous of seeing Alexander here whose knowledge in many affairs I think will he of great use to me --- Thank him if he is in Auckland for his kind offer of his house etc.

The Wellington Provincials are usurping as much power as they can or dare over the Waste Lands. I dont know whether the General Governmt. means to stand this or not. I should just like to know their views on the matter --- because if they mean tamely to be ridden over by these upstarts, it is of no use one Commissioner opposing them. I have written to ask by what authority the Superintendt. issues proclamation making regulations about the lands. Use your influence with Dr. Sinclair or Wynyard to keep down these encroachments. I believe the general council will be for keeping the power over the lands in the hands of the General Govt. They will know better at Auckland how this is --- because if the Auckland members are unanimous either way, that way I believe the matter will be carried. Cantly and Munro, Kelson members are jealous of the Provincial arrogants. I think old Kelham and Barmy Rhodes, bright and shining lights to legislate for us (God help us what are we come to.!) will be so too. But I take it Bell is at the bottom of this --- and wishes to get as much power over the land into the Superintendents hands because he takes it for granted he himself will then virtually exercise it as confidential adviser to His Honor --- This should be resisted. The people here are naturally against being merged in Wellington. Therefore too the Auckland allianc should be fostered. I hope Alexander will do considerable things towards this. Spread the idea everywhere --- and let them know it is a favorite one here.

I have said nothing about the district. I am very much pleased with it --- indeed I think we may call it all things considered, a magnificent one, but useless till we get all the land in the central land. I have got Fitzgerald to work to peg out the sections immediately required at the Port Ihanga and say this was never done by Mr. Park, who must have wasted his time most egregiously. I had no conception this (pegging) had not been done years ago. As it is we cannot sell a section till it gets done --- People are frequently coming to see the district and returning disgusted at not being able to get any of the new flat land --- You ought to learn from Wellington what money they will be prepared to advance in May for purchases and get full powers from Auckland on the part of the General Govt. to conclude everything, if necessary. I ask support this by any representation you may think requisite.

As for the runs I have done nothing yet except to get Fitzgerald at work to mark down the boundaries on the plan wh. is absolutely necessary before I can stir a step. There seem to be several things in the old management that want altering --- but I wont do anything in a hurry, as the ouestions are very complicated. I will attend to your interests as to run etc. as far as I properly can --- I should like you however to come down here on that point as well as others --- but especially and thrice especially on account of acquiring the land. I think by dint of graduated annuities, percentages

Part of:
Inward letters - Alfred Domett, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0245 (32 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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