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The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864

No. 14

page 63

No. 14

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

Sir,—I am directed by the Colonial Secretary to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of February 11th, covering a return of the natives at Tauranga, and explaining the reasons which led you to communicate with Colonel Carey on his arrival, wth the view of inducing him to suspend action on the instructions he had received from His Excellency. The Government, I am directed to state, regrets that it cannot regard your explanations as satisfactory.

The object of the expedition under Colonel Carey was to create a diversion, by operating on the district from which a considerable number of the rebels were known to have gone, to fight with Her Majesty's troops in Waikato. The expedition was despatched at the most urgent request of General Cameron. And the instructions given to Colonel Carey were the result of several days' anxious consultations between His Excellency and his Ministers. The Government can see in the facts of the case, as now explained by you, no ground for your taking the responsibility of urging Colonel Carey to suspend the intended action, which by those instructions, he was directed to take.

The tabular information now furnished by you, does not appear to justify your interference, on the ground taken by you. A district from which fully two-thirds of the adult males have gone to join the rebels, and are actually fighting with the Queen's troops, leaving only their old men and a few others, barely sufficient in all probability to reap their crops, is as much a rebel district, to all intents and purposes, as Waikato itself. And in this instance, is the more emphatically so, in consequence of the close relationship of William Thompson with the Tauranga natives. If the fact that one-third of the adult males are left behind, while two-thirds have gone to the war, were held to be a reason for not invading their territory, when strategical reasons demand it, the Government would find it very difficult to undertake any operations for the suppression of the existing rebellion, for with the exception of Central Waikato, there is probably no part of the country occupied by natives, engaged in fighting the troops in which considerable numbers have not been left behind to look after the kaingas, and to grow food for those who fight.

In advising His Excellency to give the instructions which he did to Colonel Carey, Ministers acted on a mass of information collected from various sources, and substantially identical with that now furnished by you, which does not materially differ from that you gave to them when in Auckland. You have since not communicated anything material to them, which they were not aware of when Colonel Carey received his instructions. If the course pursued by you, in interposing the weight of your official influence between that officer and his instructions were allowed to pass with- page 64 out the disapproval of Government, Ministers could never feel certain that their instructions would be executed in any case where a local officer might think proper to criticise the expediency of their orders, and take upon himself to urge their suspension by another officer specially charged with their execution.

In conclusion, I am directed to express the regret of the Government that after giving the most favourable consideration to your letter under notice, it cannot approve of the course pursued by you on this occasion.

I have, etc


Native Secretary.
Colonial Secretary's Office,
Native Department,
22nd February, 1864.

Memorandum by Mr Russell as to blockade of Tauranga:—

His Excellency is respectfully advised to instruct Captain Jenkins to maintain a strict blockade of the Tauranga Harbour. The Government will immediately prohibit supplies leaving Auckland for Tauranga, and as soon as possible will communicate with the other southern ports; but Captain Jenkins should be authorised to prohibit the landing at Tauranga of stores of any kind, except for the use of the troops.


Colonial Defence Office,
Auckland, 31st March, 1864.