R. PARRIS, Esq. to the UNDER-SECRETARY, Native Department.
Copied from the Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives, G. 1, 1882.
New Plymouth, 23rd May, 1882.
In my report of the 15th instant I omitted to refer to two questions which entirely escaped my recollection, and I beg now to furnish the following as a brief supplementary report.
In October, 1878, a European named McLean, who had been working on the survey of the Moumahaki Block, in the Waitotara District, was shot, and on the body being discovered and an inquiry instituted, the natives of the Ngarauru tribe gave information that he had been killed by a native of their tribe, named Hiroki, and that it was believed he was off to Parihaka, armed with the gun with which he had committed the crime. Scouts were sent out from the Hawera District to intercept Hiroki's flight. They got upon his track, followed him until they saw him, fired at and wounded him ; still he made his escape and got to Parihaka. As soon as it was reported that Hiroki was at Parihaka, the principal chief of the Ngarauru tribe, Aperahama Tamaiparea, with a party of natives went to Parihaka and demanded Hiroki to be given up to him, in his right as chief of the tribe to which Hiroki belonged. No discussion or explanation was offered, and instead of delivering up the criminal to be brought to justice, the old chief and his party received peremptory orders to leave Parihaka, failing which their lives were threatened. A native, who was living at Parihaka, and who was friendly disposed towards the old chief, came to him and implored him to make his escape without delay, assuring him of his peril if he remained. The old chief and his party left at once, leaving their horses which had been seized ; but after they had gone, their horses were sent after them and delivered up to them. It is, however, only fair to state that the injudicious and rash procedure of the party, on arriving at Parihaka, was said to have been the cause of the treatment they received.
For a long time previous to last November, and up to the time of his capture, Hiroki was a prominent character at all the meetings at Parihaka, and received that consideration which anyone in any community of people would receive who was looked upon as a hero. During all the movements for the obstruction of the road work and fencing surveyed land, the precaution was used of keeping Hiroki at Parihaka. Criminals of different grades have from time to time taken shelter at Parihaka, and native offenders generally regarded the place as a refuge of safety.
In October, 1880, the Government came to a decision to make a trial of releasing, by instalÂments, the natives who had been arrested and sent to the gaols of Dunedin, Lyttelton, and Hokitika.
The first lot was released from the Dunedin Gaol in October, 1880 ; the second lot from the Dunedin and Lyttelton Gaols in January, 1881 ; the third lot in May, 1881, from Dunedin and Lyttelton Gaols ; the fourth lot from Lyyttelton in June, 1881 ; and the fifth, and last, lot from Hokitika in the latter part of the same month.
I myself was called upon to undertake the service, in the first four cases, of going for the prisoners, and taking them to such places as was decided on for their release.
Two lots were landed at Opunake and released, and three lots at New Plymouth.
This service was performed to the satisfaction of the Government, and no unsatisfactory result was produced, nor any interference on the part of the released prisoners, except their joining in the movement of fencing and planting land which had been surveyed for sale, and thereby swelling the number of natives much beyond the number of Armed Constabulary available to be sent against them, when it was deemed advisable to leave the question in abeyance till such time as the Government was prepared to deal effectually with it.
I have no doubt in my own mind that this relaxation for the time was the cause of Te Whiti's large talk at the September meeting, thinking the Government had withdrawn from the contest, and that he had achieved another victory without violence, which he followed up by giving instructions in figurative language which most probably he never intended should be put in execution ; but Te Whiti's device on this occasion produced the very opposite effect to that he intended.
I have, &c.,
The Under-Secretary, Native Department, Wellington.