Samuel Ironside Diaries- The Wairau Incident

Last Modified: 20-2-2019 14:10

5th (June 1843) Returned home today from TOTARAHUI. It is refreshing to find that the people there and in TE AWAITI are getting on in good things amidst the contention and squabbles which are taking place over all over about the land. A great fight has taken place at the North among the Mission natives both from the C.M. & W.M. fifty are killed fifteen of them chiefs - Mr. Moon writes that pas are building in all directions - How grievous after twenty years of Mission of labour that these things should be! Land sold to Europeans is the cause of the quarrel. The example from the North will be pleased by the natives all over the Islands 'if any quarrel should hereafter arise. And in the very unsettled state of things nothing is more likely here in this place; for Te Rauparaha and his party are destroying they Surveyor's houses and have stopped them from going on with the survey. It is said that Capt. Wakefield has been sent for to settle the dispute.

16th (June 1843) Things look dark in this district. The Mission native have gone to Wairau and are altogether with Te Rauparaha & part. They are busy planting & are going to build a pa there & make that their residence. If so, this station will be unsettle - it will no do for me to live alone here & if I remove to Wairau, I am too far from the natives of the sound who are more numerous - or if I remove to the sound, I give up this people entirely - I am perplexed Lord - undertake for me! There is a Brig outside, report say that it is come to make Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata prisoners. Surely not. This will be the height of madness, but I cannot believe it. They will never suffer themselves to be made prisoners: besides until the ownership of Wairau is determined, such a step would be premature, to say the worst.

18th (June 1843) My worst fears are realised a collision has taken place, & many are killed on both sides. I was engaged quietly meeting my dear wifes class of native females & casting my eyes towards the window saw a canoe coming up here. Thought it very strange as it was Sunday when no canoes come, & also there was a very heavy rain falling, & no one would have ventured out in such weather but upon urgent business. Often the meeting was over, a man arrived to say that Capt. Wakefield, Mr. Thompson & about a score Europeans were slain, and also about ten natives. Mr. Thompson P.M. had gone to take Te Rauparaha into custody on a charge of arson (burning down a surveyors hut) TeR. Refused - a squabble ensued both sides commenced firing & this is the melancholy result. Now if the English let this rest, no property will be safe in future as the native will be highly elated at their success. And if justice is sought for a war of extermination may as well be set on foot at once - for the natives will not, I am afraid give up the offenders. And in the meantime what becomes of Missionary work! It is a distressing case.

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Samuel Ironside Diaries- The Wairau Incident. (2019) Retrieved May, 27, 2022, from