Report on Petition of Henare Tomoana and 33 Others.
Petitioners state that a short time ago they and other Natives went to Hastings, near Napier, to sign certain deeds, and that the reason they did not go to Napier was that they were afraid they would be led astray by drink.
They complain that, although their lawyer, Mr. Sheehan, made many efforts to get a magistrate to come out to witness their signatures, those efforts failed, and that great inconvenience and loss resulted therefrom to the petitioners and others.
The petitioners express an opinion that the officers did not attend at Hastings because they desired to prevent them (the petitioners) from becoming possessed of money wherewith to try certain cases before the Supreme Court, and they urge that those officers should be reprimanded for behaving in such a maddening way.
I am directed to report as follows:— "The Native Lands Frauds Prevention Act, 1870," provides that the Governor in Council may from time to time make regulations for the guidance of Trust Commissioners in the performance of their duties. The Committee is of opinion such regulations should be at once issued and gazetted.
That, in respect to the witnessing of deeds by Resident Magistrates, as required by "The Native Lands Act, 1873," the Committee is of opinion that general instructions should be given to Resident Magistrates to witness such deeds at fixed times and places, of which public notice should be given. The Committee is further of opinion that, in the case referred to by the petitioners, the officers concerned acted in accordance with their instructions.