An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand
On this block, which lies immediately to the east of Drury, there had accrued, to 1st April, 1874, the sum of £889 18s. 7d. On assembling the Natives interested in this block, a difficulty occurred: the chief Hori Whetuki (Long George), of the adjacent Wairoa Valley, appeared and declared that his claim—a considerable one—to the Hunua had never been extinguished. He further said that he was absent from sickness at the time of the sale, and that his friends had not attended to his interests. He now demanded such a share of the 10-per-cents as would be equivalent to the share he ought to have originally received. Of course the claim involved a long discussion; but from the evidence of disinterested persons, and the admissions of those who had sold the land, it appeared that the claim was a valid one. Honetana and the other sellers were consequently induced to hand over to Hori Whetuki a share of the money divisible amongst them as large as that which he ought to have received at first. Hori then signed a receipt for the 10-per-cent. money as one of the sellers of the Hunua Block, and all parties were satisfied.
In this case; also, I had to keep back some money for two Natives who are at present in the King country. It was argued by the people present, in this case as at Hikurangi, that such Natives, by having thrown off their allegiance to the Queen, or from having become Hauhaus, had disentitled themselves to participation in the money now being paid—in fact, that their interests ought to be confiscated in favour of the more loyal of the sellers. I told them that the idea could not be entertained: the absentees had kept to their side of the contract, and the question of their faith or place of residence could not be considered. Opposition then ceased, and it was agreed that £444 19s 3½d. should be set aside for the schools to be established and for hospital purpose, and £30 11s. for expenses of management. This left £414 8s. 3½d. to be divided amongst them. I paid £364 8s. 3½d. and retained £50 to meet any claims that absentees in the King country or elsewhere may make good.
The total amount set aside to cover expenses of administration of fund, which includes passages to Auckland and back, visits to Whangarei, Mahurangi, Waikato, &c., is £200 7s. 3d.; for schools and hospitals, £2,351 1s. 4d.; for distribution to Natives, £2,149 3s. 11d. Of the last above sum, £1,677 14s. 8d. has been paid, and £472 19s. 3d. is in the fund, and available for distribution when certain claims are decided on and certain receipts obtained.
It was not, by the terms of the several contracts, necessarily incumbent to obtain the acquiescence of the Natives to the partition of the fund as above mentioned, but I considered it judicious to obtain it to prevent possible dispute hereafter, while I indicated that it was not to form a precedent to govern any future payments. The general effect of what has been done has, I think, shown that the Government keeps faith in respect to its obligations, however negligent and forgetful the Natives may occasionally be of the interests of themselves and those who will succeed them.
I have to express my thanks to Mr. George Brown, whose services as interpreter were kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. Commissioner Kemp, and who was very useful in explaining the accounts.
Commissioner of Native Reserves.The Under-Secretary, Native Department. P.S.—Accounts and receipts are appended.