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

No. 15. — Mr. Commissioner Godfrey to the Hon. the Colonial Secretary

No. 15.
Mr. Commissioner Godfrey to the Hon. the Colonial Secretary.

Doubtless Bay.—Land Claims Dispute continued. Mangonui, 10th February, 1843.


Referring to my letter of the 15th ultimo upon the subject of the disputed Native titles which prevented my investigation of the claims to laud at Mangonui, I have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government, that I hoped to have brought Nopera to more reasonable views in the affair, by obtaining from him an admission of the sales understood to have been made by him and Pororua of these identical lands to the Government in 1840; but there appears to have been so strange a misunderstanding altogether with respect to this purchase that its assertion was of no benefit to ine in the dispute, for Pororua had previously sold nearly every foot of land at Mangonui to individual Europeans, and Nopera most stoutly denies that he ever parted with his interests in them for the paltry consideration given to him.

I then proposed that the question of original title should be set at rest by Pororua's party sanctioning the disposal already made of the lands upon the east side of the harbour and river, and Nopera's doing the same for those on the west bank. To this arrangement, after much hesitation, Pororua's party consented; but Nopera (at the instigation of his chiefs, I believe) objected to it, and he continued in this obstinate mood, rejecting all attempts at accommodation, insisting vehemently upon his absolute right and title to the whole of the purchased lands. In this temper he quitted Mangonui.

Immediately after my arrival at Kaitaia all Nopera's tribes assembled there in considerable numbers, and in a public conference many violent and seditious speeches were made by Nopera and other chiefs. In these harangues they declared—

1.That the sales of land around Kaitaia already made by Nopera and his party to individuals should be acknowledged; but that any surplus lands (i.e., those the Government does not grant to the claimants) will be resumed by the chiefs who sold them:
2.That they will sell no more land, either to individuals or to the Government:
3.That the chiefs will exercise all their ancient rights and authority of every description as heretofore, and will not in future allow of any claims or interference on the part of the.Government:
4.That they are all (except Nopera) very unwilling to arrange the dispute about the lands at Mangonui:
5.That they (Morenga and his party) object to give the promised compensation for having stripped the vessel at Wharo; one old gentleman declaring that they would be on the look-out, and take advantage of every similar godsend:
6.6. That they all demur to any purchase of land which may have been made by the Government from Nopera in 1840, though they would not object to give some other compensation for any moneys then given to him by the Government.
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These and many other violent expressions seemed to proceed partly from a feeling that not being allowed to dispose of their lands to whomsoever they pleased as formerly is an interference by the Government with a right they are not quite convinced they surrendered to the Crown. But in my opinion there were other causes of regret and discontent which we were unable to discover.

During the stay of Nopera and his tribes at Kaitaia, Mr. Kemp and I used, our utmost endeavours every day to correct and remove the erroneous impressions they have imbibed respecting the Government, but without much success. However, I obtained their recognition of every claim in this district from the North Cape to Mangonui (although the chiefs vowed that they will not again submit to similar investigations); and, after much debate, these tribes (Nopera's at least) consented to the arrangement I had suggested to Nopera at Mangonui, to determine his dispute with Pororua as above mentioned. Proposals to this effect, were instantiy despatched to Pororua's party; but it was their turn now to be litigious, and the offers were immediately and indignantly refused by them, and a declaration made that they would come to no compromise in the matter. This change in their sentiments may have arisen from Pororua having received offers of assistance from the Ngapuhi, in the Bay of Islands, three large canoes with several chiefs having visited him immediately upon their hearing of Nopera's pretensions.

Upon my return to Mangonui a few days ago I found these parties continue as pugnacious as ever, with the exception of. Nga Takimoana, who withdrew the opposition he had presented to Mr Taylor's claims in Nopera's district, having convinced him that the lands of his family still remain unsold and unclaimed.

It is quite certain that I can do no more in this affair; but I think it would be very advisable that Mr. Clarke, the Protector of Aborigines, who purchased the lands from these tribes, and made other arrangements with them for the Government in 1840, should as soon as possible attempt their reconciliation, or at least the amicable and final adjustment of the points in dispute at this moment; and from the circumstance of Mr. Clarke having been the party engaged in all the above transactions, I thought it proper to promise the Natives that he will convey to them the pleasure of His Excellency the Officer Administering the Government touching all their differences and dissensions.

I have, &c.,

Edwaed Lee Godfeey,

The Hon. the Colonial Secretary.