No. 453.—Petition of Robert Graham.
Petitioner states that in 1878 he entered into relations with the chiefs of Rotorua for the occupation of Te Koutu, near Ohinemutu; that the then Native Minister offered to give him a Crown grant of a portion of this land on condition that he would surrender his rights to the Government, which offer he declined; that in April, 1879, he vacated the land in obedience to a request of the Government; that the Thermal Springs Act now prevents him from acquiring any legal title; and, finally, that the passing of the Native Land Laws Amendment Bill will entail upon him loss, unless there be special provisions introduced to protect equitable rights.
I am directed to report as follows:—
That the Committee, after having fully examined the petitioner himself, would indorse and emphasize the report upon a similar petition (No. 349) considered last session. That report is as follows: "That Te Koutu Block, which includes Kawaha, was leased by Government in September, 1874; that in March, 1878, Government proclaimed the block as under negotiation for purchase, whilst the petitioner acknowledges that the alleged gift was in December of the same year; the pretended gift seems to have been got after a plentiful supply of stores, including spirits and tobacco to the Natives, and the promise of a church and newspaper, which promise has not been fulfilled. Mr. Graham seems to have no equitable claim to the land, and has no right to look to the Government for assistance."