Important Judgments: Delivered in the Compensation Court and Native Land Court. 1866–1879.
The claim of Te Taou, Ngaoho, and Te Uringutu will now need short notice. The epitome of the evidence read with the table of ancestry, and combined with the part of this judgment which has gone before, will sufficiently explain their status. But it ought to be noticed that of seventeen native witnesses called by Heteraka not one is out of his own tribe or disinterested, while of twenty native witnesses called by Apihai nine have no claim on the estate. This case is briefly this: Te Taou—a tribe resulting from the union of a Northern tribe with an ancient tribe called Ngaoho—came down from Kaipara for reasons which have been previously stated, exterminated the tribes that occupied this isthmus, entered into possession of the empty country and settled down permanently, and here they have ever since remained, except during periods of hostility, during which the surrounding land was evacuated as being unsafe to live in, always returning as soon as the danger ceased.
Shortly before and about the time of the arrival of Governor Hobson, European evidence is imported into the case: Mr. George Graham, Mr. Shearer, Mr. Robertson, Mr. Smith, Captain Wing, Captain J. J. Symonds, Mr. Blake, and Mr. George, all of whom— with one exception, Mr. George Graham—more or less corroborate the fact by their recollection of different circumstances, that Apihai's people, under their generally-known name of Ngatiwhatua, were the sole resident natives here and on this part of the shores of Waitemata at the time of the Governors arrival, and that they had houses and cultivations at Auckland and at Okahu. The arrival of the English power found them domiciled at Okahu in undisputed possession, and thus they have remained ever since as the dominant lords of the soil.
The Court has found that there are no concurrent rights or titles which ought to diminish their estates or interests; and it therefore decides that one or more certificates of title shall issue in favour of these tribes, or in favor of such persons comprising them as shall be determined upon on hearing further evidence, or as shall be agreed to amongst the members of the tribes.
It only remains for me to thank the learned counsel engaged in page 96 this case for the great time and care which they have bestowed upon it, and for the very complete and able manner in which it has been placed before the Court. I also thank them for the patience with which they have listened to this long judgment. I could not, satisfactorily to myself, have made it shorter without the expenditure of more time than I have at my disposal. I cannot suppose that every fact which I have detailed is correct, or that the Court has in all cases accurately stated the evidence; but I beg the parties to believe that the evidence has been read and re-read with great care, and that in all probability those particular portions which they may think to be wrong have in fact been taken from other and contradictory testimony. The vast value of the rights at issue (proved in evidence to be £50,000), no less than the example of the several counsel, demanded this care from the Court.page break