Mr. Alexander Mackay, Commissioner of Native Reserves, to the Hon. the Native Minister.
In accordance with the request contained in your memorandum, dated December 5th, No. 876, I have the honour to furnish an account of the Native reserves in the Province of Nelson and Marlborough, showing their position and character.
I presume the return of the Native Trust property, together with the letter accompanying it, which I had the honour of laying before you yesterday, will be found to contain sufficient information concerning those reserves under the immediate control of the Commissioner.
I will therefore commence with the reserve of 44,000 acres, first on the list. This block is situated at West Wanganui, in the district of Collingwood, Massacre Bay, and was excepted from sale by the Natives in 1855, when surrendering their claims to the northern portion of the West Coast, Middle Island. Its character is very indifferent, consisting chiefly of high hills covered with black birch, portions of it being very rocky and precipitous, but a small portion might be made available for a cattle run. Now that a constant traffic exists on the West Coast to and from the several goldfields, vessels occasionally take shelter in the harbour from which the place takes its name, this and the probability of a coalmine being worked on the land might induce parties to make farms for a right to occupy the available portions as a run for stock, as it would create a market for meat.
Very good coal has been found on the land, and an application for a square mile of the reserve for coalmining purposes, has been made lately by a Company in Nelson, the terms proposed are one shilling per acre rental per annum, and sixpence per ton royalty on all coals raised..
There are about ten Natives living on and near the reserve, but there are others interested in it, as it is a reserve set apart for all the Natives of the Ngatirarua, Ngatiawa, and Ngatitama tribes, residing in Blind and Massacre Bays.
It would be necessary to get the assent of the Natives to bring this reserve under the operation of "The Native Reserves Act, 1856," before the rents could be appropriated for Native purposes, even then, the Natives chiefly interested in the land would expect to receive the rent.
The blocks marked A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and I, are situated at and near Collingwood, in Massacre Bay, and were reserved for the Natives by the New Zealand Company. Crown grants for the individual owners are in course of preparation, they consist chiefly of old cultivations in use at the time of the Company's purchase.
The block of 41 acres at Wainui river includes the site of the old pah, cultivations, and burial grounds; it is of very little worth, a great portion of it being bare sand hills.
The section of 200 acres on Wainui river, Massacre Bay, belongs to [unclear: Peramena] te Haereiti and his relatives, numbering in all about 20; a portion of this section is cultivated by them, it is chiefly timbered, some parts being very low and swampy. The Natives have a few sheep running on it.
The allotments situated at the various places shown in the margin have been abolished, and a block of 100 acres substituted at Ligar Bay instead. It was reserved especially, by Mr. Commissioner McLean, for Matenga te Aupouri, of Motupipi, as a fishing reserve for himself and family, the land on the whole is very useless and swampy.
This block is now held under Crown grant by his sons, Raniera and Pirimona Matenga.
The block of 90 acres marked I is situated on the coast, near Collingwood, and belongs chiefly to Tamati Pirimona, Hori te Koramu, and a few others. It has been surveyed and sub-divided into individual allotments, and Crown grants are in course of preparation for the owners.
The blocks at the Parapara river, marked as follows:—M, N, O, P, Q, R, and S, have mostly been done away with; the few that remain in possession of the Natives are now held under Crown grant. The two allotments at Tukurua river, marked T and U, are in occupation by Pirika Tanganui and his family (numbering about 15), the land is chiefly hilly, a portion of it being quite precipitous.
The allotments on the coast near Aorere and Parapara, marked V. and W., together with the block of 62 acres at Parapara Harbour, are now comprised within a block of 100 acres on the Parapara river; a Crown grant for this is to be made out in favour of Henere te Ranga of Takaka.
The blocks on the Pariwakaho river, marked X, Y, and Z., are now included in Section 79, at Pariwakaho. This section was originally set apart for Henere te Keha and his family, and on his death became the property of his son, Eruera Tatana; a Crown grant giving him a life interest in the land is in course of preparation.
There are about 30 Natives living at this settlement, some of them are owners of land purchased from the Government.
The character of the land on the above named section is very indifferent, in fact there is barely sufficient arable land on it to maintain the resident population.page 311
The block of 59 acres on the coast at the same place, with the exception of a few patches, including at the most five acres, is of a very worthless character, a great portion of it consisting of steep hill sides, the portion available for cultivation is in use by the Natives residing at Pariwakaho.
The block of 100 acres north of the village of Seaford, Massacre Bay, was reserved by Major Richmond in 1852, for an old chief named Wiremu Kingi, who was one of the principal claimants to land in that locality; it is broken land and intersected with water courses. He and another are the only Natives now residing on it; 81 acres is the correct quantity contained.
Three out of the six sections situated on the Aorere river, Collingwood, are New Zealand Company's blocks, and belong to Tamati Freeman, and his brother. Crown grants are being prepared in their favour giving them a life interest in the land. The other sections were awarded to Pirika and his relatives, by Mr. Commissioner McLean, when settling land claims in that neighbourhood;the land is heavily timbered, and liable to be flooded.
The allotments, one of 30 acres, and the other of 62 acres, near Collingwood, and at Parapara Harbour, have been alluded to before.
The blocks marked A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, and K, situated at Motupipi and Waitapu, Massacre Bay, are New Zealand Company's blocks, and belong to Eruera Wirihana, Pirimona Matenga, Raniera Matenga, and others. Crown grants are being made out in favour of the above-named Natives.
The block of 100 acres at Wainui has been already alluded to, it is included in the block of 200 acres marked off in that locality.
The block of 157 acres at Taupo Point does not exist, other land has been substituted instead of it.
The reserve at Wharawharangi Bay and Separation Point includes a larger area than shown in the Schedule. I cannot, however, give the exact quantity from memory, although I am aware that, owing to its rough character, it does not contain more land than the few Natives resident there, who number about 12, require for cultivation.
The allotments on Sections 13 and 12, Takaka river, are New Zealand Company's blocks, and belong to the individuals whose names are shown in the margin of the return. Crown grants are being made out in favour of the owners.
These sections, and a block of land containing about 300 acres, which is not shown in the return, is really the only good land the Natives resident in Massacre Bay possess. The land is heavily timbered and of good quality. It is situated at the lower and of the Takaka valley, and, from its position, would let readily to European settlers at £1 per acre, provided the Natives were in a position to dispose of it in that manner.
As they have plenty of land for their own use, it would be a good thing if they could be induced to set apart a portion of the said land, from which a rent might be raised to defray the cost of medical attendance on the Natives in that district; the expense at present is borne by the Trust.
The whole of the within-mentioned lands are situated on the shores of Massacre Bay, and, although the area appears numerically large, the land on the whole is of such an indifferent character as would leave little or none beyond what is required by the resident Natives for their own use and occupation.
The Sections No. 111, 113, 117, and 118, at Sandy Bay, near Motueka, were given up at the instigation of Mr. Commissioner McLean, to Wi Parana and his family. They were originally New Zealand Company's sections.
The whole of the land, as shown per return, in the Riwaka, Motueka, and Moutere districts, which include about 100 sections of 50 acres each, were set apart by the New Zealand Company in accordance with the original scheme of settlement. A large slice of some of the best land on the Estate has got into the hands of the Church, and is vested in the Bishop of New Zealand in trust for an industrial school for the Natives. The school has now been closed for nearly two years, it having been found a failure. There are also about 100 Natives residing on the Estate, who have been allowed to occupy some of the finest land; they have been in possession ever since Nelson became a settlement, no other land having been appropriated for their use, consequently they have been allowed to remain in possession by the Commissioners, and on the death or removal of any of the occupants to other localities, the land will revert to the Trust and become available to let on lease.
It is very unfortunate for the interest of the Trust that one-fifth of the Estate, including, as it does, the cream of the land, should be alienated from the purpose for which it was undoubtedly intended, it is a loss, I consider, of fully £500 per annum to the Trust.
There is a large number of sections at present, which, from their position and character, are not available as leaseholds; a few of these, however, have been in demand during the current year, and have been leased to settlers at a low rental, and, as the country gets peopled, parties will no doubt be glad to take the remainder at a low rate; even should the settlers be willing to take them for little or nothing, it would be better than allowing the land to remain idle, as the fact of their being improved by cultivation would ultimately enhance their value.
The remainder of the Estate at Motueka under the control of the Commissioners, is let on long leases at various rentals, realizing an amount of about £300 per annum. A full and more descriptive account of the rate of rental and term of lease is contained in the return I had the honour of placing before you yesterday.
Of the various blocks situated at Arahaura, or rather at the Buller, on the West Coast, Middle Island, containing in all about 740 acres, not much can be said, as I am but little acquainted with the locality, however, from what I do know of the place, I presume the land is heavily timbered.
There are a few Natives resident there, but, as they lead such a wandering life, it is impossible to say with certainty what their numbers are.
There are also 1000 acres of rural land in this district set apart for charitable and educational page 312purposes, for the benefit of the Natives, which, as the place progresses, will no doubt be in demand, and may at some future date contribute a considerable amount to the Fund. There are also 3500 acres set apart, under the provisions of "The Native Reserves Act, 1856," in the Buller and Grey districts, West Coast, besides ten acres in each of these townships, which, although lying idle at present, will no doubt, when these districts get a settled population, become a valuable addition to the property.
This concludes the whole of the reserves in the Province of Nelson, and, with the exception of 5053 acres, situated in Nelson and Motueka, and the various blocks set apart on the West Coast, amounting to 3500 acres, there is no other land that could be made available for raising a Fund that could be appropriated for general purposes connected with the Natives within the Province of Nelson.
Of the reserves in the Province of Marlborough those situated in the Pelorus come first on the list, comprising an area of 1010 acres. As these allotments are nearly of one character, it is needless to particularize them. The land is of very good quality on the whole, but liable to be flooded. A portion of these reserves might be set apart, if the Natives would agree to it, for the purpose of raising a Fund for medical attendance on the Natives, and for other purposes.
A short time since, the Natives resident there were petitioning Government to appoint a medical man for their district, and it would be a good opportunity now to suggest to them that, if they were really serious in their desire to procure medical advice, this would be a good mode of obtaining it, and one within their reach.
The reserves in the locality of the Croixelles were made by Mr. Commissioner McLean in 1856, for the Ngatikoata tribe, who were the original owners of the land in that neighbourhood. The reserves, although large, are very useless, consisting chiefly of rough hillsides. The land is very poor, so much so, that the Natives have been induced to purchase land for cultivation from the Provincial Government at Nelson. These reserves, although shown in the return of Native reserves for Marlborough, belong properly to the Province of Nelson.
The Natives resident in Queen Charlotte's Sound have large reserves, but, with the exception of a block at Waikawa, near Picton, the rest is of a very indifferent character, chiefly steep hillsides, with small patches, suitable for Native cultivation, scattered here and there on the shores of the Sound.
Of the 770 acres on the north bank of the "Wairau river, there is barely 50 ares suitable for cultivation, the rest consist of a deep swamp. The amount of good land in this block is so very limited that many of the resident Natives have purchased land from the Government.
Although the Kaikoura reserve is large, it is very worthless, consisting chiefly of steep hillsides clothed with a small growth of timber. It was given to the Natives at their own request when surrendering their claims to land in that locality, in order to secure to them the right of fishing along the coast.
Of the remainder, comprising in all 770 acres, it is needless to particularize, as it is all of such a worthless character; and the small quantity of good land contained in the various blocks, is not more than sufficient for the use of the resident population, the uncultivable parts serving as a run for their stock.
In conclusion, I would beg to point out that it is not to the reserves in the hands of the Natives in the Province of Nelson and Marlborough the Government should look to augment the funds for Native purposes in the Middle Island, but, rather to those reserves in the Provinces of Canterbury and Otago, which do not as yet contribute anything in that way.
I have, &c.,
Commissioner of Native Reserves.
The Hon. the Native Minister, Wellington.