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Life in Early Poverty Bay

Magistrate in a Difficulty

Magistrate in a Difficulty.

Resident Magistrate's Court, Turanga, April 8, '58.

“Yesterday Watane Motu, Hira Kingi, and Pana, all of Taru Horu (Taruheru), in consequence of Kahutia being dissatisfied with the decision of the amount in the case Manahi v Newnham, deliberately entered Newnham's house and removed from it all his clothing and bedding; a new double barrelled gun was taken and several other articles; indeed, they completely stripped the house.

“A cause of the dissatisfaction referred to was that I insisted on deducting from the amount recovered from Newnham by Manahi for Kahutia the price of a sledge which the latter some time since had most unjustly taken from Newnham. You are aware that, in this district, from the want of sufficient power, the only means which I can employ to obtain even restitution of these goods, are derived from moral influences.

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“In these circumstances, I request your co-operation in manifesting to all the Natives belonging to Taruheru that in the opinion of right-thinking people, such conduct as that described and over which they must collectively be considered morally responsible renders them the object of contempt and aversion and that until goods so unjustly taken are returned they can look for no friendship or assistance from the Europeans.

“It is very desirable that the manifestation of this feeling should be universal and continued until the goods are returned and I suggest that, in the meantime, the offenders should be spoken of as ngati muru wahine—a term of contempt amongst themselves and one which they partly observe as at the time the goods were taken Newnham's wife was alone in the house and against her some violence was used.

“I shall be glad if you will exercise your influence with those Europeans and Natives with whom you are connected in order that a general feeling of disapproval may be manifested. It is absolutely necessary that these acts should be treated very gravely or the effect on the minds of the Natives may lead to disastrous consequences.