Mr. Commissioner Parris to the Hon. the Native Minister.
With reference to the last paragraph of the Under-Secretary's letter, dated 17th March, respecting a small reserve on Mr. Fishleigh's farm, I have the honour to inform you that this reserve is one of many that were made at the time of the purchase of the Fitzroy Block, being at the time a small Native cultivation (one of those spots which the Natives were in the habit of cultivating for a few years and then abandoning it); but, as Governor Fitzroy ordered all their cultivations to be reserved, they had to be marked as such on the maps, and this one, like many others, being situated in the centre of allotments afterwards taken up by Europeans, has no right of road left for it; consequently the Native owner has derived no advantage whatever from it for nearly twenty years. In 1863 the Commissioners for Native Reserves recommended that this reserve should be sold to Mr. Fishleigh for £5, the amount which he has offered for it; but the Native Minister, Mr. Bell, was of opinion that the interest of the Native owner would be better protected if the reserve was sold by public auction; but it would not have been so, for if Mr. Fishleigh bid one shilling for the reserve no one would be likely to bid against him. Seeing there was no right of road to it, and knowing those particulars, the Commissioners were of opinion that it would have been doing the Native owner an injustice to have submitted the reserve to public auction. This class of reserves has given the Government from time to time a great deal of trouble. Europeans holding land orders under the New Zealand Company were never allowed anything for them, and were subjected in several cases to great annoyances from the Natives until the Government bought them out, but not at the expense of the purchasers under the New Zealand Company, as in the case of Mr. Fishleigh by his offer of £5, the full value of the land, even if there was a road to it. I have caused this reserve, with three others, to be brought under the Native Reserves Act for management in the usual form, should you think proper to allow Mr. Fishleigh to purchase it, which I strongly recommend.
I have, &c.,
R. Parris, Civil Commissioner, and Commissioner for Native Reserves.The Hon. the Native Minister, Wellington.