Report on the Petition of Wi te Wheoro.
The petitioner complains that the line of the Waikato Railway has been taken through a very old and sacred burial-place situate at the Taupiri Gorge, on the Waikato River, and that many houses have been built there, and he asks that a grant may issue at once in order to confirm his title to the land.
I am directed to report as follows:—As to the first subject, the Committee find that the allegation in the petition is correct: the line of railway has been taken through an old burial-place, and the bones of some of the dead have been disturbed.
At the same time it appears that the line could not have been taken in any other direction without very much increased expense, and without subjecting the Public Works Department to great difficulty in procuring ballast for the ballasting of the line. The Natives also admit that they have been somewhat to blame in not pushing the matter before the work was done.
The changing of the line would now entail a cost of over four thousand pounds (£4,000), with a line of bad curves and steep gradients.
Under these circumstances, the Committee cannot see how the request of the Natives as to noninterference with the burial-ground can be entertained; but as it appears from the evidence of Mr. Knorpp, that no necessity exists for any further trespass on the burial-ground for railway purposes, the Committee recommend that it should be fenced or otherwise protected from further trespass, and such other action be taken as will show to the Natives concerned that it is not the wish of the Government to subject the bones of their dead to desecration. As to the claim for the grant of the land, Petitioner alleges that it is a reserve of 20 acres, made by Mr. Mackay some years ago in favour of Petitioner and his tribe. If the reserve made by Mr. Mackay and the burial-ground site be identical, the Committee can see no reason why a grant should not be issued, care being taken to protect the public interest in respect of the railway line.
John Bryce, Chairman.25th July, 1876.
Ko te Kupu a te Komiti mo runga i te Pukapuka-inoi a Wi te Wheoro.
E whakapuaki ana te Kai-inoi i tona pouri mo te whakahaerenga o te raina o te rerewe o Waikato i runga i tetahi urupa tawhito tapu rawa kei Taupiri i te awa o Waikato, mo te whakatunga hoki i nga whare maha ki reira, e tono ana hoki ia kia tere tonu te whakaputanga o te Karauna karaati hei whakatuturu i tono take ki taua whenua.
Kua whakahaua ahau kia whai kupu penei ki te whare:—
Mo runga i te kupu tuatahi kua kitea e te Komiti e tika ana te kupu i roto i te pukapuka-inoi; kua haere te raina o te rerewe i runga i tetahi urupa tawhito kua hurahia ake nga wheua o etahi o nga tupapaku.page 3
Otira e kitea ana kua kore e taea te whakarere ke i te raina o te rerewe notemea he nui rawa atu to moni e pau he nui hoki te raruraru ki te tiki i nga kirikiri hei whakaoti i te raina. E whakaae ana ano nga Maori e ahua he ana ratou inahoki kihai i tere ta ratou tono i mua atu o te otinga o te mahi.
Mehemea ka kawea ketia te raina ka pau te moni neke ake i te wha mano pauna (£4,000), ka kino hoki nga kopikopikonga o taua raina ka ikeike nga pikitanga.
No runga i enei tikanga i kore ai te Komiti e marama kia whakaarohia te tono a nga Maori kia kaua e pokanoa ki runga ki taua urupa; engari e kitea ana i te korero a Mr. Knorpp i te aroaro o te Komiti kahore he tikanga e peka ke atu ai te rerewe ki runga ki taua whenua, e mea ana te Komiti me taiepa taua urupa me tiaki atu ranei kei pokanoa te tangata ki reira; me whakahaere ranei i tetahi tikanga e mohio ai nga tangata Maori e whai ritenga ana ki reira kahore te Kawanatanga e hiahia kia whakakinongia nga tupapaku Maori. Mo te kupu tono mo te Karauna Karaati o te whenua, e ki ana te Kai-inoi he porowhita e 20 eka i whakatakotoria e Te Make i mua mo te Kai-inoi ratou ko tona iwi, mehemea ko taua porowhita taua urupa e whakahuatia nei kahore he take, ki ta te Komiti titiro, e kore ai e whakaputaina te Karauna karaati, engari me tiaki te tikanga o te katoa mo runga i te raina o te rerewe.
John Bryce, Tumuaki.Hurae 25, 1876.