Diary and notebook, 22 May-28 Jun 1846
Reference Number: MS-1216. Object #1030726
Inside front cover McLean has written 'No 2 journal book Wanganui land claims carried on from book 1 Friday 22 May 1846'.The diary contains entries from 22 May to 28 June 1846, and continues from MS-1215. The entries describe the ongoing negotiations with Wanganui Maori to finalise the 1844 New Zealand Company land grant, up until negotiations were broken off by his superiors, against McLean's wishes. The remainder of the diary recounts his journey through the Maori settlements and mission stations on the coast back to New Plymouth.At the back of the volume are notes on Maori history and traditions of the Wanganui and Taupo regions, examples of Maori poetry, a list of chiefs of the settlements between Wanganui and New Plymouth, stories of origin and the names of stars.
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1846. LAND CLAIMS.
Friday May 22nd, 1846.
Started from Upoko Ngaro after having had a satisfactory conversation with the natives there. Tamati Waka, the first of that tribe baptised, is a quiet looking old chief; but the principal person there is an active looking young man, named or christened Taimihana.
Arrived at the Hotel about 12 a.m. Met Mr. Symonds, Dr. Wilson, and Captain Campbell. A great sensation was caused by Mawai's claim being considered exorbitant; and uncalled for reflections on the Revd. R. Taylor, who was alleged unjustly, I can maintain to have encouraged the extravagant demands of this native. A public Meeting was held protesting against the claim, when a vote
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of thanks was proposed by Captain Campbell, and seconded by Mr. Harrison, to Mr. Symonds and myself, for our endeavours to bring about an amicable settlement. I believe this was unanimously carried. Dr. Wilson was Chairman. The sensation this caused has had a good effect on the natives. An invitation to go in the evening to Captain Campbell's, but declined, feeling fatigued after a journey up the river.
Emutu Pakero's son, who intends to go with me to Join the Police Force at Taranaki, is an influential young man. I have given him some clothing, and hope he may turn out well. I can already perceive my taking him with me will have, as it already has had, a good effect on him as well as all the tribe.
Saturday 23rd. May 1846.
In the morning crossed to Putiki with Mr. Symonds and Willis, who, both of them, went out with Mawai to alter a boundary line, that Chief agreeing to give up some of the land he wished reserved.
I remained at Mr. Taylor's to dinner, and afterwards intended, by request of Mr. Symonds, to go to see the natives on Mr. Bell's section, who came to the Hotel in a body, and saved me the trouble of going over to see them. I told them they must give their claim up
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to his section, and remove entirely from there. I regret being obliged to have them in the Courthouse, there being no other convenient place to have them in, the key of the Hotel being in Mc. Millan's charge, who was then absent. Our meeting continued about one hour, and was satisfactory. Mr. Symonds did not think it prudent to make much of them, and I really think he and his ideas are very clever and satisfactory in treating these people. Had a letter from Taranaki from Mr. Bollard. All quiet there. Respectable applicants for young Police. Wrote a reply.
Sunday 24th. May 1846.
Breakfasted at Captain Campbell's. Attended Church; very few hearers. It is to be regretted that the people here evince strong feelings of animosity towards their worthy minister, who has, to my knowledge, laboured so zealously for their general good, and caused a friendly feeling to exist towards them by the natives that had, previous to his coming, been one of bitter jealously and dislike; and their reasons for this dislike I believe to be in a great measure caused by his interfering amongst the natives about the
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land question, though he does so with good intentions, and for their mutual good. Dined and slept at the Mission House.
Monday 25th. May 1846.
Saw Mawai in the morning. Came to the Hotel. Gave Kipu and George one shirt each, and 1/2 lb. of tobacco. Went to see the natives about Mr. Bell and Nisson's place. They are a stubborn, uncouth set of fellows. Lunched at Mr. Bell's. It is a sad pity to see a man of his years so much in the power of natives. I hope matters will be settled in such a manner as to enable the settlers to keep them at a respectable distance. A barque was seen bound to the north. The weather, that has been most severe, seems to clear up, and hope we may not be interrupted any further by it, though we have never rested yet a day, on account of weather, but one.
Tuesday 26th. May 1846.
After breakfast, crossed over to Mr. Taylor's. Got Mr. Willis under way, and arranged with John Williams to go with him on Wednesday to lay down the boundary of the Wangahu
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district. It is very deep regret that I hear of the death of the fine old Chief, Heuheu. I may indeed say that the very pride and boast of New Zealand Chieftains is now gone, nor will successive generations replace a more intelligent, or well-disposed man, well versed in every tradition and history of his country's people, as well as the productions of the country, for, all of which, from the largest tree to the smallest shrub, he had some tradition or knowledge. He was a skilful botanist, and knew the physical uses of many herbs and plants. Nor was he ignorant of the insects and birds of the country. What an irreparable loss to the Island; Would that I had half of his knowledge committed to paper. I would make a great sacrifice to obtain what I shall never have another opportunity of knowing. This noble-minded Chief lost his life at his residence, Te Rapa, on the Taupo lake, where he was with his wife and clever son, and 50 of his tribe, sunk in a land-slip. How sudden and awful are the works of the Almighty! Does not every day give us a convincing proof of the uncertainity of our existence? This, however, seems to be the most sudden and awful event recorded in New Zealand's history, at least since its establishment by Europeans. Though, like all countries subject to volcanic action, there has been, to the memory of some of the natives,
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similar calamities. The natives suppose this to be the work of a Taniwha or sea God, over whom old Heuheu had influence; but it is to be hoped that the God of Gods has not forsaken him, and that he is removed where superstition and heathenism are alike unknown. To have seen the stately, dignified manner of this Chief, only some months past, it is scarcely a credible feeling, though beyond all doubt, that he should have been called to his long home so suddenly. His brother, Iwikau, has written a letter to Mr. Taylor, requesting him to visit Taupo, and take up some linen, or other clothing, to cover up the old Chief when found. A search will be made for his remains by all the tribes of Taupo. Iwikau also states that as his brother died evincing friendship to all parties, he should now give up his warfaring propensities, and abide by his brother's disposition.
It is satisfactory to find Mr. Taylor's exertions are not lost in the most distant tribes with whom he is acquainted. No doubt he will have most of the Taupo people under his instructions. He went off to Waimate to-day, and I am afraid, with rather a heavy heart, from the severe reflections that have been lately passed on him, by the leading settlers of this place.
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I accompanied him a few miles on his journey, and wish it was in my power to remove the odium they have passed on him.
Mr. Symonds and I have removed up to Turoa's reserve, or better known as Waipakura, where that Chief died, and where there is a very handsomely carved post to commemorate his death. The death of Heuheu causes a sensation of grief throughout the river, more particularly amongst the Patutokotolco tribe, who were closely allied to him. The females in this tribe have decorated themselves with feathers, the mourning worn by New Zealbanders.
Wednesday, 27th. May 1846.
Wet and disagreeable weather. Confined to native huts and tents all day. Mr. Symonds directed me to send for Mr. White, and the Chief Maketu
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