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Early Wellington

Native Troubles

Native Troubles.

A letter, written by Mr. Tracy Kemp, Protector of the Aborigines, Southern Division, on the 19th January, 1846, at the instigation of representative tribes, makes interesting reading. A few extracts are given:—

19th January, 1846.

“We used to hear what your intentions really were; then our minds were free from anxiety; and however frequently it may have been said to us by white persons: ‘Your land will be forced from you; you will be destroyed.’ Mr. Hadfield used at once to say: ‘Regard not these expressions,’ whereupon our irritable feelings became calmed.

“.… . We are anxious that the laws of the Queen should be firmly and permanently established among us, that by that means we may be raised to a more enlightened state; for we have already Ministers of God teaching us the laws of God.”

The signatures attached were:—H. Tracy Kemp; Te Rauparaha; Te Watahauki Motorua; Rawiri Kingi; Henry Martin Te Wiwi; Robert Hurumutu; Thomson Te Rauparaha; Noble Te Taiepa Paea: for the Ngatitoa Tribe. William King Wite; Wata Te Herepounamu; Riwai Te Ahu; for the Ngatiawa. Te Watanui; Zachariah Te Reinga; Solomon Toremi; for the Nagtikaukawa.”

On February 11th, 1845, H.M.S. “Calliope,” Capt. Stanley, arrived at Wellington; on the following day His Excellency Governor Grey, accompanied by Mrs. Grey, paid a visit to the port in the “H.M.S. Castor.”

The first steamer to enter Port Nicholson, H.M. Steamer “Driver.” arrived on the same day (12th).

On the 24th February, 1845, troops, comprising men of the 99th, 58th and 96th Regiments marched to the Hutt District, under the command of Colonel Hulme, to expel the intruding natives.

They comprised one hundred men of the 99th, commanded by Major Last. Captain Armstrong' and Lieut. Elliott; one hundred and forty men of the 58th, commanded by Lieut.-Adj. McLerie, Capt. Hardy, and Lieut. Leigh; and sixty of the 96th, under the command of Acting Brigade-Major McAndrew, Capt. Snodgrass, Capt. Eyton, Lieut Mundell and Lieut. Cervantes, accompanied by His Excellency the Governor, and encamped respectively at various positions near the river.

On Thursday, the 26th, thirty-five of the 96th, under Capt. Eyton, and seventy-six men of the 58th, commanded by Capt. Hardy, returned to Wellington.

A few days later forty-two of the 96th, seventy-three of the 99th, and ninety-four of the 58th proceeded to the Hutt. Two hundred men were stationed at the encampment until the new block house was completed.

Troops arriving by the “Slains Castle” were quartered in the barracks at Te Aro.

A band of natives pillaged the Waiwhetu District on March 1st, robbing on this occasion Messrs. Hart Udy, Thos. Freathy, Chas. Cundy (on the third river), Henry page 134 Jackson, Wm. Saxby, Jas. Bryant, John Cole, George Copeland, A. W. Shand, Richard Williams, Wm. Knight, Thos. Brightwell, Mr. Reynolds, Arthur Hayward (Waiwhetu). The total number of persons plundered was 79 adults and 157 children.

Rations were supplied to the sufferers by order of the Government.

Colonel Wakefield rode over to the Hutt on the following morning to ask for arms for the volunteers, and on the Governor's arrival there, arms were distributed. Fifty volunteers, under the command of Mr. Watt guarded the upper passes of the Hutt to intercept the marauders, while a picquet of soldiers were stationed at Mr. Boulcott's farm to cut off their retreat in that direction. The natives escaped with their booty and crossed the river near Mr. Swainson's.

Mr. James Cowan, in Volume I. of “New Zealand Wars,” page 99, mentions that the first shot was fired in the Hutt War on the 3rd March, 1845; the day that Martial Law was proclaimed in the Wellington District (south of a line drawn from Wainui
Fig. 40—Residence of William Swainson, Esq., F.R.S., in 1843. The site is now occupied by the Roman Catholic Convent, Main road, Lower Hutt. The successive owners to the property prior to the inception of the convent were Messrs. E. J. Riddiford and H. Bunny.

Fig. 40—Residence of William Swainson, Esq., F.R.S., in 1843. The site is now occupied by the Roman Catholic Convent, Main road, Lower Hutt. The successive owners to the property prior to the inception of the convent were Messrs. E. J. Riddiford and H. Bunny.

in Cook's Strait to Castle Point on the East Coast, excluding therefrom the Town of Wellington).

On Monday (3rd March), a party of rebels visited the Hutt District and carried away a quantity of potatoes from Mr. Mason's section, just above the spot where the camp formerly stood.

On Tuesday another party robbed a settler named Leverton of potatoes and 3 pigs, which they killed and carried away; they also took away his blankets and other property.

A party of Militia, under the command of Mr. Watt, followed on their track, but it was night before they came up with them, and as they were ignorant that Martial Law had been proclaimed, they refrained from firing. At daybreak Major Durie went up the Hutt with a party of Police to scour the valley and co-operate with the Militia in the necessary measures for the protection of the settlers.

On March 9th His Excellency proceeded to Porirua in the “Driver,” accompanied by the “Castor,” with 160 troops, under Colonel page 135 Hulme, and the Militia were called out to protect the Town.

His Excellency, when in Wellington, then occupied a suite of apartments at Barrett's Hotel.

On the 2nd April, Andrew Gillespie and his son, of 13 years, were murderously attacked and were found by a Militia man at the Hutt River.

Te Rauparaha sent in a letter, by Mr. W. C. Cowper, to the Rev. Mr. Hadfield, informing him that the murders had been committed by natives from Porirua. Acting on this letter, Ensigns Cervantes and Symonds, Fitzgerald, McDonogh and four constables, set out for Porirua.

On arriving at Jackson's, they apprehended two deserters of the 99th, who were staying there.

The party stayed at Jackson's all night, and in the morning proceeded to Mr. Cowper's. An interview took place between Ensign Cervantes and Rauparaha, who informed him that Rangihaeata would not give up the murderers without a struggle, and that he espoused the cause of the Hutt intruders heart and hand.

Later, a native arrived in Town, bringing despatches to the Governor, containing the above-mentioned intelligence.
Fig. 41.—Fort. Richmond and the Hutt Bridge, 1846. The new ferro-concrete bridge (1929), occupies the approximate site.

Fig. 41.—Fort. Richmond and the Hutt Bridge, 1846. The new ferro-concrete bridge (1929), occupies the approximate site.

Orders were instantly issued for Her Majesty's Ships “Driver” and “Castor” to prepare for sailing; and 260 men of the 58th, 96th and 99th Regiments were conveyed on board.

In the meanwhile poor Gillespie, after lingering for two days and three nights, expired, unconscious to the last. The body of the son was brought over from the Hutt and placed in the Episcopalian Church, and after the inquest. Mr. Gillespie's body also was placed by his son's in the church until the funeral, which, when it occurred, was attended by a large concourse of people.

The Gillespies were buried in the old cemetery, close to the Bolton Street boundary fence, about opposite the old vicarage.

On April 9th, 1846, the “Castor,” “Driver” and the “Slains Castle” (transport), proceeded to Porirua with troops, and established a Military Station on the site of the old whaling station belonging to Mr. J. Thoms, generally known as “Geordie Bolts.”

On the 13th April, 1846, the armed police were embodied, and Major Durie was appointed Inspector.

The following day the Porirua Road was commenced by the soldiers, and Martial Law was again proclaimed in the Southern District on the 20th April.

On the 16th May, 1846, fifty men of the page 136 58th Regiment, under Lieut. Page, stationed at Boulcott's farm, in the Hutt Valley, were surprised an hour before daylight by seventy natives, under Mamaku. Seven were killed and four wounded. The soldiers killed were: Lance-Corporal James Dockrell; Privates W. Allen, Robert Brett. Thos. Bolt, J. McFadden and T. Sonham. Mr. Thos. Hoseman, a settler, was wounded and conveyed to the residence of Mr. J. Boulcott, Te Aro, where he died five days later, on the 21st May. Pvte. Jas. French. 99th Regt., died of wounds.

Sergeant Ingram also died of wounds, received on the 16th. Privates P. Bevan, T. Taylor and J. Ward were wounded.

* Now Plimmerton.