No. 206.—Petition of Wi Parata.
The petitioner sets forth that he has lately been a member of the House of Representatives and also a member of the Cabinet; that, acting on behalf of his tribe, he brought a suit in equity, the nature of which is set forth in the petition, against the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Wellington, which proving abortive, he incurred personally costs to the amount of £391 12s. 4d. He prays that, as he brought the suit on public grounds, his costs may be recouped to him from the public funds of the colony.
I am directed to report as follows:—
That a petition was presented to the House of Representatives in 1876, signed by Wi Parata and eighteen other persons, setting forth the grievance, afterwards tested in the Supreme Court, as recited in the present petition. The report of the Native Affairs Committee in that year was as follows:—
"The petitioners pray that land granted by their tribe to the Bishop of New Zealand may be restored to them, the conditions of the grant not having been complied with. I am directed to report as follows: That the educational reserve referred to in the petition is a block of land situated at Porirua, in the Province of Wellington, containing 500 acres, which in the year 1850 was conveyed by Natives of Ngatitoa and Ngatiraukawa Tribes to the Bishop of Wellington in trust for religious and educational purposes. There can be no doubt, from the terms of the grant, that the erection and maintenance of a school at Porirua formed the principal condition of the trust, and it seems equally clear, from the evidence taken by this Committee, that a school has not been erected. Moreover, it does not appear that there is any intention on the part of the trustees to fulfil the condition of the trust. The Committee are not prepared to say-that it would now be either wise or expedient to erect a school on this particular piece of land for the purposes indicated in the grant, and still less are they disposed to recommend that legislative action should be taken for the conveyance of the land in question to the petitioners. But your Committee are of opinion that, if many educational reserves are Similarly situated to this one, the present position of the religious, charitable, and educational trusts of the colony requires the most serious and careful consideration of the House.
The Committee cannot Recommend that the petitioner's law expenses should be refunded to him by the colony, as such a course would form a very dangerous precedent.