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

Province of Wellington

Province of Wellington.

In conformity with an old existing promise, the Native Reserve IV., on the east side of Porirua Harbour, comprising 382 acres, has been conveyed to Hon. Wi Parata and Ngahuka Tungia. This land, originally belonging to those chiefs, was brought in 1866 under the provisions of "The Native Reserves Act, 1856," and has been ever since managed by the Commissioner of Native Reserves. About four years since it was shown that the Natives, in handing this land over, did not understand the effect of their act; it was therefore determined to return the land to the original owners, which has thus been done.

Komangatawhiri, Porirua.—A long-outstanding dispute about this reserve at Porirua has been decided in the following manner, viz.: That, of the annual rental of £50, Wi Katene, of Nelson, should receive the current instalment of £25, no deduction being made for survey expenses, but that from all future half-year instalments £10 should be kept back by the Commissioner of Native Reserves, and placed to a "separate survey account," until the cost—about £120—for survey is covered; also that the Ngatitoa Tribe shall always receive the January net instalment, and the Ngatitama Tribe the July net instalment. £25 was paid to Wi Katene, with the approval of all interested.

Omaroro.—No. 16, Town Belt, Wellington: Mr. J. F. E. Wright, the tenant, had, in virtue of a purchasing clause in his lease, deposited (in bank) the sum of £700 for the freehold of his farm, containing 146½ acres, as above. The question of actual ownership was referred by the Commissioner of Native Reserves to the Native Land Court; and, upon the decision of that Court in favour of Hemi Parai and the Hon. Wi Tako being given, the money was handed to those chiefs, who conveyed the land to Mr. Wright. This was a "McCleverty" reserve, a class which the Natives have uncontrolled power over.

Hutt Valley.—Part of Subdivision No. 8 of Section 20, Te Momi, was purchased by me 29th January, 1875, for the Crown, for purposes connected with the Wellington and Masterton Railroad, from Komene Paipa and Patara Rangiatea. It contained 1 acre 3 roods 8 perches; price, £63 5s 10d. This was also a "McCleverty" reserve.

Mangaroa, Hutt.—Section No. 132, Mangaroa, containing about 100 acres, has been let by tender for twenty-one years to Mr. Cruikshank, at £10 per annum.

Pakuratahi, Upper Hutt.—The sections Nos. 3, 4, and 7, containing about 335 acres, have been let by tender to the following persons, viz.: Section No. 3, to H. Whightman and J. Sennex, for the term of twenty-one years, at £30 a year; tenants to clear fifty acres of land. Section No. 4, to J. Sennex, for twenty-one years, at £50 a year for the first ten years, and an increase of £20 a year for remainder of term; tenant to clear eighty acres. Section No. 7, to H. Whightman, for twenty-one years, at £50 a year for the first ten years, and £80 a year for remainder of term; tenant to clear eighty acres.

Makara.—Five acres of Section No. 22 have been let by Parata te Kiore, the Native beneficially interested, with the approval of the Commissioner of Native Reserves, to the Rev. J. B. Petit-Jean, for a Roman Catholic church site, on a term of twenty-one years, at a rental of £1 a year. A Court of inquiry, consisting of the Commissioner of Native Reserves and the Hon. Wi Tako Ngatata, recommended that Pirinara Tutawhia should receive an inalienable grant for sixty acres in Section 39, Makara. The recommendation has been approved.

In previous reports I have stated that the Wellington Natives have voluntarily intrusted to my management certain of their reserves at Polhill's Gully, Wellington City, and in other places. Of these I have this year let the following: Section No. 23, Aro Street, Te Aro, containing one acre, to Mr. Robert Lyon, for twenty-one years from 1st January, 1874, at £15 a year. Section 45, Te Aro, page 97containing one acre, to Mr. Joe Dransfield, for twenty-one years from the 1st December, 1875, at £13 a year; this being an increase of £1 a year upon the old lease, which expires on the 30th November, 1875. Section 49, Te Aro, containing one acre, to Mr. W. Cornor, for twenty-one years from 1st June, 1875, at a yearly rental of £14. The Natives beneficially interested have approved of each of these arrangements. The collective proceeds of all the Wellington lands so intrusted to me by the owners to let I divide periodically amongst the people interested I have induced the chiefs, who generally have other sources of income, to share alike with the inferior people in the division.

Manawatu.—The sections Nos. 203, 204, 205, 207, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 228, 238, and 239, comprising 62 acres, in the suburbs of Palmerston, have been let by tender for twenty-one years to Mr. H. S. Palmerson, at a rental of £25 Os. 4d., first seven years; £32 12s. 7½d., second seven years; and £41 6s. 8d., third seven years. Half-year's rent in advance has been received.

Whanganui and West Coast.—Leases have been executed as follow in respect to lands let last year:—Whenuakura: Section 88, 130 acres, J. Sheehan, £45 10s. per annum; Section 28, 95 acres, C. and D. Symes, £21 7s. 6d.; Section 94, 70 acres, F. J. Stewart, £19 5s. Patea: Section 488, 29 acres, G. B. Worgan, £5 1s. 6d.; Section 489, 43 acres, J. S. McCarthy, £11 16s. 6d.; Section 503, 66 acres 2 roods 6 perches, Gane Brothers, £16 12s. 6d.; Section 547, 67 acres and 14 perches, Napier and Mitchell, £8 7s. 6d.

During the last session of the General Assembly a petition was received from Mr. Charles Vincent; of Waiau, near Waitotara, the owner of a mill built on land held under a promise of a lease, in accordance with the prescribed Flax Regulations for confiscated lands. The petition stated that the growing flax upon which the mill depended had been improperly burned off by the chief Major Kemp, and prayed redress. I had the honour of receiving your directions to endeavour to settle the matter in an equitable manner. On inquiry on the ground it appeared that Kemp had been a principal owner of the Okotuku Block, within which Waiau is situated; that on the cession of the block he had abstained from participating in the payment, and that in consideration of this, and in recognition of his military services, the Grovernment had promised him a grant of 400 acres, to include an eel-fishing creek. The Waiau Creek, with 600 acres on its margin, had been promised by Mr. Commissioner Pharazyn to Mr. Vincent, for a flax lease, and the latter had erected a mill and made other improvements thereon. At a subsequent period Mr. G. B. Worgan was intrusted by the Government with the allocation of the 400 acres to Kemp. The latter selected the Waiau Creek, and 400 out of the 600 acres allowed to Vincent. Mr. Worgan seems to have failed to make Kemp understand the relative positions which he and Vincent would have to each other during the currency of the latter's lease, or of the proportionate part of Vincent's rent which it would be proper for Kemp to receive. Kemp, after a time, found that the mill and dam were obstructive to the eel-fishing of his people, and, deriving no present benefit from Vincent, let his 400 acres to an adjacent settler for purposes of cultivation. In clearing the land, and possibly to oust Vincent, Kemp burnt off the flax from the 400 acres. Vincent complained that his means of subsistence were gone, and laid his damages at upwards of £9,000. The case presented this difficulty: that there existed no other locality in the district where an eel-fishing creek could be secured for Kemp, and it appeared to be almost impossible for eel-fishing and the mill operations to go on together. Further, whether Vincent or Kemp was the rightful occupant, some one—either Vincent or Kemp's tenant—would suffer an injury, and have to be compensated. On examining the ground, I found that the flax had not been so much destroyed as entirely to prevent work at the mill. This enabled me to claim for the damages to be proportionately reduced. Mr. Vincent admitted that, in the existing state of the market, flax-dressing, save for rope-making, would not pay, and I found that there was a sufficiency of the material still growing for this limited branch of the business. It became necessary, however, to give Vincent a right, in case of flax becoming again in demand, to cut the plant on some adjacent Crown land. It was further arranged, with your approval, that he should receive the sum of £164 2s. for his expenses in coming to the session, and for loss of time since the suspension of the mill work. For the future he was, in respect to the 400 acres, to be considered the tenant of Kemp, that chief promising to protect him in the occupation of the land. The eel-fishing was to be arranged by mutual concession. This mode of arrangement still left the contingency of a claim by Kemp's tenant against him for breach of engagement in letting the land; but as it was questionable how far that letting was legal and valid, and the tenant ignorant of Vincent's holding, it was thought right to leave him to his remedy at law. Some difficulty occurred subsequently in finding other land conveniently situated for the supply of flax until the burnt plants were again grown, Vincent asserting that he could again fully work the mill to advantage. Eventually it was arranged that, in full satisfaction of all demands against the Crown, Vincent should be allowed to purchase at £1. 10s. an acre the section No. 415, at Okotuku, containing 350 acres. Legislative action will be necessary to legalize this.

Charles Heaphy,
Commissioner of Native Reserves.

The Hon. the Native Minister.