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An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

Correct Native Census should be taken, and Assessors appointed

Correct Native Census should be taken, and Assessors appointed.

No correct return of the Native population of this northern peninsula has yet been taken. This should be done without delay, and the territorial limits of the four leading tribes—the Aopouri, the Rarawa, the Ngapuhi, and the Ngatiwhatua—should be ascertained, and as nearly as possible, defined. Estimating the population at 8,000 souls, it would not be difficult to ascertain the names of the principal chiefs whose co-operation would be essential for carrying out the views of Government, and who should, in return for their exertions, when efficiently rendered, to preserve the peace of their respective districts, be rewarded with marks of approbation and fixed annuities for their services. These chiefs should be designated Assessors, and have commissions issued to them defining as nearly as possible the nature of their duties. They should also be invited to take part with the settlers in framing by-laws for adjusting cases of trespass, disputes, and other local cases. They should also be invested with powers of jurisdiction in some measure analogous to those exercised by the English Courts of Petty Sessions. It is quite evident that the English law cannot be strictly carried out without the agency of the Natives. It is therefore obvious that they should be invited to take part in the administration of justice, in order that executive authority, instead of diplomatic bargaining, may attend the decisions of the District Magistrates, who are at present placed in a most anomalous position when attempting to enforce against the Maoris that law to which all British subjects are amenable; and, if this result canpage 58 be more certainly effected by calling in the aid of the chiefs, it appears a most reasonable, just, and expedient means of effecting so highly desirable an object.

I am quite aware that time, patience and perseverance, mutual forbearance, and reciprocity of good offices, are required to reconcile the Natives to our forms of government, but I am nevertheless fully confident that if they are once made to feel that the aim and object of the Government is to promote impartially the permanent advancement of both races of Her Majesty's subjects, irrespective of any temporary expedient for gaining some particular object, they will soon-adapt themselves with zeal and loyalty to such changes as their natural acuteness of observation may prove to them as in reality conducive to such a consummation.

If your Excellency and your Excellency's Government concur in the general views which I have cursorily sketched out in this communication, I will afford further and more explicit information on the detailed means of carrying them into practice, as I should rejoice to see our relations with the Native population, in at least one portion of this province, placed on so firm a footing as to preclude all probability of future rupture between the races. Nor, from the high standing and commanding influence of the tribes inhabiting it, could I suggest a district where this could be done with greater prospect of success than that to which I have been referring. The Natives of all other portions of the colony would look on with imitative zeal and interest, while the Government would have the satisfaction of having laid a firm foundation upon which a more extended fabric of settlement and civilization throughout the Island might be gradually erected.

I have &c;

Donald McLean,
Native Secretary.
His Excellency Governor Gore Browne.