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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

No. 7

No. 7

Copy of a letter from the Native Secretary to Mr T. H. Smith:—

Sir,—1. I am directed by the Colonial-Secretary to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January 22 covering copy of one addressed by you to Colonel Carey.

2. The Colonial Secretary desires me to state that it was not the intention of the Government that the information conveyed to Mr Baker in his instructions should have been communicated by you to the natives by circular as you report yourself to have done. Had the Government desired any such steps to have been taken they would not have failed to instruct you to do it, and they cannot help remarking that should it be found necessary for Colonel Carey to take any aggressive measures against those natives of the Bay of Plenty district, who are actively engaged in the rebellion, or aiding and abetting it, the step taken by you must place both the Government and yourself in a very false position towards the natives to whom you have conveyed an assurance that no such step should be taken. As you have acted entirely without instructions, the responsibility of your act must rest solely with yourself.

3. I am directed also to express the surprise of the Government at the information contained in your letter under notice, and in that addressed by you to Colonel Carey, in whch you state that there are page 57 very many individuals, and more than one considerable section of a tribe, who have not committed themselves, “and that the result of treating all natives on the Western side of Tauranga Harbour as rebels would be to inflict injury on many innocent persons and increase the number of the disaffected.” During your late visit to Auckland the Attorney-General and Colonial-Secretary both understood you to state to them, while inspecting the map of the district in the Attorney-General's office, that a well defined geographical line could be drawn between all hostile and friendly tribes of the Bay of Plenty; and that those on the West side of the Bay were almost to a man committed in the rebellion; that the greater part of them had been actually fighting in Waikato, that they were in fact Wm. Thompson's people, and the district in which they lived practically under his direct influence. This information (subsequently confirmed by five or six other gentlemen intimately acquainted with, and personally interested in the district) induced the Government to advise His Excellency to issue to Colonel Carey the instructions which he gave that officer.

4. As the tenor of your letters to the Colonial-Secretary and to Colonel Carey most materially differ from your previous oral statement, it becomes of the utmost importance that the Government should have immediate and accurate information on the subject. You will be so good therefore as to ascertain as accurately as you possibly can, and inform the Colonial-Secretary what particular hapus, or proportion of hapus, or the population of what particular kaingas have been actively engaged in the war, have hoisted the King flag at their places, or otherwise given distinct indications of their complicity in the rebellion, and also what hapus or villages may be considered quite free from all open participation in the rebellion. You will also communicate such information to Colonel Carey, so that he may not be paralyzed by the vague information you have given to him, in case he should consider it his duty to take active operations against supposed rebel natives on the West side of the Bay.

5. The Government will be glad to receive any explanation you may have to offer of the discrepancy which exists between the statement contained in your letter referred to and that made to the Government when in Auckland.

I have, etc.,


Native Secretary.
Colonial Secretary's Office,
Native Department,
25th January, 1864.