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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1876.

Report on the Petition of Meha te Moananui and 165 Others

Report on the Petition of Meha te Moananui and 165 Others.

The petitioners state that certain lands at Hauraki have been shut up by the Government, and that they suffer loss and inconvenience in consequence thereof.

They pray that the number of Maori members in the House of Representatives be increased, and that the Maori members of the Legislative Council be elected by the Maoris; they also pray that Maoris may be allowed to sit on juries, and cite a number of cases which they allege ought to have been tried by a mixed jury.

I am directed to report as follows:—

1. That, in the opinion of this Committee, the system of dealing with Native lands, of which the present case is an example, is exceedingly unsatisfactory, and the whole subject requires the most serious consideration of the House.
2. That, as the subject of increased representation is now before the House, and will doubtless be fully considered, the Committee do not think it necessary to make any recommendation on the subject.

And with reference to the prayer of the petitioners, that Maori members of the Legislative Council should be elected, the Committee do not see their way to making any suggestion, inasmuch as the power of nomination rests with the Governor.

3. In reference to the right of Maoris to sit on juries, the Committee are of opinion, that "The Juries Act, 1868," makes ample provision for the existing state of things.

These provisions had not however been brought into force, and cannot be brought into force until the Governor in exercise of the powers vested in him by the Act shall make certain rules and regulations.

The Committee recommend that the provisions of the Act should be put in force, and Maoris be admitted to sit on juries in the limited number of cases specified by the Act.

John Bryce,

9th August, 1876.
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