The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864
Copy of a letter from Rev. C. Baker to the Colonial Secretary:—
I have the honour to reply to your note of yesterday, in which you request my opinion in writing as to the extent to which the Maoris on the West (or Auckland) side of the Bay of Tauranga are committed to the rebellion, and what may be regarded the geographical division between the hostile and friendly tribes.
For more than three years the greater part of the Tauranga natives have avowed their adhesion to the King movement, and in and since the month of August last, many from the west and the south, and some from the east of the Bay, joined the Waikato tribes in hostilities against Her Majesty's Government.
The Maoris occupying the east side of the Bay, Ohuki, and also a party residing at Maungatapu, the south-east side, have not, with few exceptions, risen in rebellion, but at a large meeting held on 28th December last, the voice in favour of the rebellion appears to have been general. Rawiti, who has been a staunch Kingite for several years, but has been ostensibly neutral of late, proposed to the meeting alluded to “that the wheat harvest should first be gathered in, and that then he would join and make common cause with the Waikato.”
My opinion is that a very inconsiderable portion of Tauranga has been untainted by the rebellion, the exception applies only to those on the east and south-east side of the Bay.
It is not improbable that had not the troops been sent to occupy a position in Tauranga, many who have been neutral, if not friendly, would have been induced, or coerced, to join the rebels.
Note.—The writer is the Rev. C. Baker, missionary of the Church of England, for many years, and till quite recently, a resident of Tauranga, and thoroughly acquainted with the natives there.