The Story Of Gate Pa, April 29th, 1864
Copy of a letter from Mr T. H. Smith, to the Colonial Secretary:
Sir,—I have the honour to forward herewith, the information required by the Government, as to the natives of this place, who have hitherto implicated themselves in the rebellion.
The enclosed sketch and return have been carefully perpared, and may be relied on as containing correct information on the points referred to in Mr Shortland's letter of 25th ulto.
I received Mr Shortland's letter at Rotorua, where I had to attend several important meetings of natives. On its receipt I lost no time in coming over here for the purpose of obtaining accurate information on the points referred to, and communicating it to Colonel Carey.
I have to express regret that I have mis-interpreted the wishes of the Government, with reference to the information communicated to me by Mr Baker in accordance with his instructions. Having when in Auckland represented to the Government the importance of stating distinctly to the natives in this district, the intentions of the Government, before even sending a man-o'-war down to Tauranga, and having received no other intimation whatever from the Government, with reference to the object of the Tauranga expedition, I certainly supposed that the information which Mr Baker was instructed to communicate to me “immediately on arrival” was intended to be circulated in the district.
As Agent of the Government here, I am supposed to be informed as to the objects, and intentions of the Government in matters affecting the district under my charge, and in a matter of such importance as the military occupation of a portion of it, it would not be believed by the natives that I was without such information. I had then the alternative of remaining silent, or of giving such information as had been furnished to me by the Government. Had I chosen the former it would have increased in a ten-fold degree, the suspicion which already exists in consequence of the sending of page 61 troops here without previous notice. My statement that I was uninformed on the subject is disbelieved, especially having so recently returned from Auckland, and I am charged with purposed concealment.
Without presuming to dictate to the Government on the subject, I beg respectfully to state my opinion that any false position in which the Government or its officer may now stand would have been avoided by placing that officer in a position to state plainly, to those who looked to him for such information, what the intentions of the Government were in sending troops into the district.
As regards the assurance given by me in the circular letter referred to in Mr Shortland's communication, I have to state that the circular was not sent to any tribes in the Bay of Plenty district who are actively engaged in the rebellion, or are known to be aiding or abetting it. It was sent to the Arawa and Ngatiawa tribes, and my object was to counteract the effect which I feared might be produced among the latter—at Te Matata and Whakatane—by the news of the arrival of troops, reaching them unaccompanied by any explanation from Government.
When in Auckland, my opinion was asked as to the effect likely to be produced on these natives, and others not implicated in the rebellion, by sending down a man-o'-war to Tauranga. My reply was that if due notice were given, and the object of doing so explained, no ill consequences would follow, but I strongly urged that these precautions should be taken, and I left town under the impression that the course indicated would be followed. I was therefore much surprised, after hearing and contradicting a report circulated among the natives a few days before the arrival of the Tauranga expedition, to the effect that steamers and soldiers were on their way hither, to find that the report was verified.
With respect to the statement made by me in the Attorney-General's office, with reference to the line of boundary between those natives who were for the most part compromised, and those who as a whole were not implicated, I cannot perceive that any discrepancy exists between that statement and the letters addressed by me to the Government and to Colonel Carey on the 22nd ult. The return now sent, I submit, bears out the statement that the majority of the natives and tribes on the west side of Tauranga, are concerned in the rebellion, and that, with a few exceptions, those on the east side are free from complicity in it. It also shows that there are important exceptions in favour of the former, the existence of which was pointed out in the letters under notice.
THOS. H. SMITH, C.C.,
Bay of Plenty.
February 11th., 1864.
Return Accompanying Foregoing Letter.
|SETTLEMENT||TRIBE||Joined insurgents at Walkato||Total Adult Males|
|East side of Tauranga Harbour||Maungatapu||Ngatihe, Ngatiwhainoa||5||74|
|Auhi Tokitoki||Ngatirakei Ngatirurea|
|Te Apititu||Te Matekiwaho|
|Poiki or Hairini (Hoisted King Flag)||Ngai te Ahi||16||30|
|Okaeke, Tongaparoa||Ngatitama, Ngatirehu||0||13|
|Te Matapihi, Tumatanui||Te Rangihouhiri, Ngatuikairangi||10||78|
|Karakari, Te Mania,||Ngapotiki, Ngatitapu, Ngatiuarere|
|West side of Tauranga Harbour||Huria||Ngaitamarawaho||18||30|
|Otuatara (Hoisted King Flag)||Te Matewaitai||19||25|
|Papaoharia, Poteriwhi||Ngatitamahapai Ngatirangi||30||43|
|Pukekonui, Purakautahi||Ngatipango, Ngatimotai|
|Poututerangi (Hoisted King Flag)||Te Pirirakau||23||27|
|Islands||Tuhua (Mayor Is.)||Te Urungawera||19||23|
|Motiti, Orangatia||Te Whanau o Tawhao te Papaunahi||12||22|
|Otungahoro, etc.||Te Patuwai||0||35|
|East side of Tauranga Harbour||—||—||34 out of 238|
|West side of Tauranga Harbour||—||—||169 out of 253|
|Islands— — — —||—||—||30 out of 80|
|TOTAL||—||—||233 out of 571|