RC2009/2/13 - 23 Dec 1902

Danesfort, Paeroa.
23rd December 1902.

Dear Partridge,

Received yours of the 18th yesterday. I at once had a talk with some of the chiefs here but I fear there are not enough old men in the district to make anything like a success here. The young fellows know nothing about a war dance.

I think it possible we might get a sufficient number at Tauranga - or very likely enough Ngatihaua of Maungakawa Maungatautari and round Cambridge to form a party of 40. I could get 5 or 6 good men here to join in. If Ngatihaua are not sufficient we could supplement them with some Ngatiraukawa from Patatere, all of these could be easily brought to Cambridge. I think the best plan would be for me to go to Cambridge and ascertain the capabilities there first. If the Maoris are procurable we could easily get them into a paddock quietly to be photographed.

Cambridge is preferable to Tauranga in some respects we can get the Natives easier together there than at Tauranga.

The Uriwera country would be the place, but those Maoris would be difficult to get the consent of to being photographed.

As to cost I expect the Maori part would cost 15/- per head.
That is for railway fares, entertainment etc.

L.J. Bagnall for whom I do a great deal of work, pays me £2.2.0 a  day, when I am employed here, with 10/6 a day allowance for expenses if I go elsewhere for him. I will try and be as expeditious as possible, and if the time taken up is protracted by any unforeseen event, I will make a reduction for that.

My wife caught the influenza, just as I was recovering from a pretty severe attack of it. I was getting her in a fair way towards recovery, when she foolishly went outside to her daughters place, and caught fresh cold resulting in inflammation of the lungs. I nearly lost her on Sunday week (14th). She is now better as far as the lungs are concerned and only coughs occasionally, but the illness has made her very weak and low, which has also caused her heart complaint to come on badly, so that she is not altogether out of danger yet. If she progresses favourably I might be able to go to Cambridge about the 30th or 31st. I have an engagement for 4th, 5th and 6th January which I cannot well put off. How would Monday the 12th suit at Cambridge for the Maori meeting.

Meanwhile awaiting your reply to this letter. I will make further inquiries and write to Capt Mair at Thames, G.T. Wilkinson at Otorohanga and W.H. Grace at Kihikihi as perhaps Otorohanga would be a good place - and less expensive than Cambridge. The Ngatumaniapoto are pretty numerous and have a good few elderly men among them. You see 50, or even 30 years ago, it would be an A.B.C. business - but the difficulty is to get enough of the old element at the present time. In fact this will be about the last chance for a real old time performance. Rest assured old friend I will do my best for you.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year.

I am always,
Yours very sincerely,
James Mackay

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