March 13, 61.
To His Excellency Col. T.G. Browne, C.B.
On Sunday last I met at Arowena (25 miles south of Otawhao) the natives expected from Patetere and Tauranga, on their way to Taranaki. They were very few in number, not more than about 60 men. I am informed that a small party from near Wakatane had also started via Taupo. Te Heuheu and Te Paerata and a few men (only a small party) were at the Waohe on Sunday (three miles east of Arowena) may be expected today at Kihikihi and Rangiawhia on their way to Ngaruawahia. You will perceive that the reinforcements from Tauranga and Ngatiraukawa are very small. This arises I believe from two reasons, 1st. they are engaged securing their crops, 2nd. they are waiting the return of Win. Thompson from Taranaki before any decided measures are adopted. My own opinion is that their plans are not yet formed, It will be a question again for discussion whether their operations are to be confined to Taranaki, or be carried into the other Provinces. I do not think that there is any immediate danger to be apprehended. It is however impossible to say what rash plans may be proposed on Thompson's return, or even before should circumstances arise to excite them, and call them together When the subject of a general attack has been discussed as it has been in several meetings, such a movement is possible and extra caution is required; but at the same time I see no
cause for immediate alarm. Had the Taupo chiefs had such an idea they would have had more men. They say that they are coming to cry over Potatau and to see their new king, and if he orders them to go to Taranaki, they will do so - if to Auckland, they will go. A large meeting is to be held at Taupo of that district in a few weeks. Whatever plans may be decided upon, I do not think that any very large body of fresh natives will move against Taranaki this season. The distance and the winter and probably scarcity of food setting in will tend to keep them back. Although I have seen Wm. Thompson's father lead 1000 men against Rotorua in the middle of winter, such a step is not usual with them. The winter season how ever would not prevent a rising of the natives is the several Provinces against the nearest towns, should they decide upon so wild a plan. Since writing the above I have had a long conversation with Hori te Waru. He does not deny that it has been several times proposed to attack Auckland and the other settelements, but that the proposition had been steadily opposed by himself, Thompson, Tamati Ngaporo, Waka and many others. Hori says that Tamati Ngaporo and others intend to have another interview with Your Excellency, and that if you continue to insist on the three points before mentioned to him as terms of peace, viz. 1st. that the murderers be given up, 3rd. that that the land be given up, 3rd. that the king movement be abandoned; that Tamati with all the natives from Mangare and Ngateteata tribe would leave Manukau and settle at Pukekawa
on the lower Waikato. Hori intimated that such a movement would bring matters to a crisis. At the present time with the infatuated state of the maori mind any direct interference with that movement would cause a great commotion and render the Waikato and the English out settlements unsafe. I fear also that then many southern tribes would rise. This is to me the most anxious point. The most difficult question is the king movement, because they have worked up their minds to believe that the movement is essential to their independence, or rather that if they submit to be ruled by British law, they will be only slaves to the Europeans, and finally lose their lands. This is now what binds them together and they consider as their enemies all persons who reason with them on their folly. This I believe to be the true state of the native mind, and I here state it plainly in order that your Excellency may consider what can be done. Earnestly do I desire to see the natives enjoying the blessing of British law, throughout the length and breadth of the land - but how to bring them under - it is a difficult question. Should it become necessary for the Europeans to leave the Waikato in consequence of the pland of Governt. the quieter they do so the better, for if known that a general move was being made, it has been several times said by them that they would detain them as hostages. The Europeans in the district frequently remark that they hope the Government will give them warning & time to leave, if
considered necessary for them to do so, and I have taken upon myself to assure them that Govt. would do so.
Thursday 11 A.M. I have avoided until this, the last moment, alluding to the Taranaki overland mail. It is now over due 4 or 5 days, and I fear that it had been either delayed or opened by Wm. Thompson and party at Mokau. When at Arowena on Sunday last some of the natives twice said to me, ''Why do you not cease writing to give information about the natives - The natives are very angry with you. They have opened one of your letters at Mokau on its way to Taranaki, and found that you had written to say that Wm.Thompson and Tioriori were on the road''. The statement as above is a pure fabrication. The mail left here a few days after Thompson's party,and as it would overtake them on the road I was particularly careful only to send the Napier mail, i.e. the mail from Napier for New Plymouth without a single letter or scrap of information from this district. I wrote a few lines to the Port Master on Port matters on an open sheet of paper, not even sealed, and did not mention the native movement. I felt this at the time to be necessary, as I thought it probable they would either detain or open the bag. I think it is more probable that Wm. Thompson has kept the carrier with him until he crossed Waitara fearing I had reported him as being on the road, and not that he has opened the bag. From all the information I can collect Thompson is gone on to Waitara. Mr. Reid wrote to me yesterday giving his opinion
the same. As you will now be more anxious on account of this mail stoppage, I will send you an express as soon as I receive any certain information. The mail for Taranaki left yesterday, so that when Reihana sent for it he had not heard of the stoppage.
I remain, Sir, Your Obt. Servt.,