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Letters From Certain Chiefs Of Ahuriri to Dr. Featherston



Matahiwi, September 7th, 1863.

To Dr. Featherston,

Friend, Salutations to you. The report has reached us of your visit to Otaki, where you were told by Wi Tako and Heremia that they had received a letter from the King, telling them to kill the Europeans. We have doubts about this. We enclose the letter the King wrote to us, which is simply a caution to us, and which we send to you, that you may see for yourself what he says. If the letter to Wi Tako and Heremia had been from him, he would have sent a similar one to us, to urge us also to turn upon the pakeha.

Sir, we have been searching in vain to make out why our pakeha friends say that murders were the cause of the war in Auckland. Not being able to satisfy ourselves, we sent an express messenger to the seat of war to make enquiries, and he returned last Saturday evening. His report was that the Governor's war had not been caused by murders as the Pakehas alleged. Murders could not be heard of (i.e., preceding the war.) The only ground that could be alleged were—first, the expulsion of the Maoris from Auckland, from their own lands, and the burning of their properties and houses; and secondly, the crossing of Mangatawhiri. If you know of any other course, we should be glad if you would point it out to us, that we may speedily know it.

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Sir, we can clearly see the error of our Native tribes in slaying the pakehas at Tataraimaka. But at the same time we cannot lose sight of the error (or injustice) of the Governor in not making known his decision respecting the Waitara in proper time (i.e., before any other steps were taken), that (the Waitara) being the source of the evil in New Zealand, and having made clear what is the root and source (of the evil) before following up the branches (i.e., Tataraimaka, &c.) We were here waiting in vain to see (or hear from) the Governor upon the subject of our request to him, when he visited us, that the Waitara should be investigated. The Governor on that occasion stated that it was Waikato that was holding it (Waitara) back (from investigation); to which we replied, Give Waikato one more trial, and if they do not then consent, enough to them. Then do you fix a day for the investigation, for there are many tribes who wish for one, and let us turn and investigate that evil that it may quickly be done away with. All at once we were astounded by hearing that pakehas had been killed at Tataraimaka. The next thing is we are again astonished by the news "Ah! here is Waitara handed back to us. It was held back until evil was created (i.e., the renewal of hostilities, and then returned. Why not have returned it in a time of peace that it might have been seen whether the evil (of the Maori) would have been audacious enough to have climbed over (ki te piki mai) the Governor's just acts; and if so, it would have been clear that the Maori had (independently of the Waitara question) evil intentions towards teh Europeans.

Sir, use your best exertions to put down the evil in this Island of ours, being assisted by your friends exerting themselves in the same cause - that of drawing over the people to what is right.