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The Native Lands Settlement and Administration Bill, 1898 (letters received by the Premier from native chiefs and others relative to) : laid on the table of the House of Representatives by leave of the House.

Papawai, 20th June, 1898

[i roto i te reo Māori]

Papawai, 20th June, 1898.

The Hon. Mr. Seddon, Premier and Minister of Native Affairs.

Greetings.—By direction of the meeting of Maori chiefs assembled here, we who have been selected to be a committee to furnish you with the decisions arrived at at the meeting here submit the same to you as follows:—

1.This meeting of Maori chiefs entirely indorse the principles of the Maori Land Bill introduced by you to that meeting, and have made certain amendments and interlineations in the copy of the said Bill hereto attached.
2.And we pray that due consideration be given to these suggestions, in order that the wishes of your Maori people may be given effect to when finally preparing the Bill for its introduction into the Parliament of New Zealand.page 2
3.It is not that we desire in any way to arrest the means by which it is proposed to administer our remaining lands for our benefit by leasing them ; but we wish them dealt with at our Native meetings to be appointed, and the disposition of the lands belonging to each hapu to be submitted to the Board. This is a very reasonable proposal, for thereby all suspicion and fear in the Maori mind will be removed.
4.We wish that committees be appointed under the Board, and block committees to assist the Board and lighten its work.
5.We also wish that the committees be empowered to administer matters regulating the well-being and the sanitary requirements of the places of abode, rendering assistance to the children attending schools, and conserving the food-supply or the expenditure of moneys, so that they be not squandered, in order that the prosperity and comfort of your Maori people may be assured to them.
6.It is but right and proper that women having an interest in land should be eligible as members of the block committee, should they so desire it, for there are many competent women who are quite able to administer affairs amongst their people.
7.With regard to the mana of the Native Land Court, it is most proper that the Native committees should work together even though they are the appointees of the Board at first, or, supposing they were elected by both parties to a case that is to be dealt with, there are many cases that could be settled by mutual arrangement before the committee or the Board.
8. The Board should deal with all rehearings, or the Board might have the power to appoint a committee to rehear.
9. All orders to be confirmed by the Commissioner on the Board, who shall sign his name thereto, and indorse the signature of the chairman of the committee which made the order of the first or second hearing. But the persons delegated by us to take the attached Bill to you will afford you any explanation you may desire.
10. The large assemblage of chiefs greatly appreciate the views expressed by you in your speech here, and which has been printed and circulated amongst all the people; also for your kindness in forwarding the Bill to the meeting of your Maori people for their consideration, and express a hope that this enlightened policy will be continued in respect of any Bill in the future that will affect the Maori people; also for the liberality of your Government in helping us by reducing the railway-fares, thereby enabling the Maori chiefs to travel to the meeting at less cost; also in arranging for the services of a medical man being available for persons attending the meet' ing—many persons were taken ill who recovered, and who returned home in good health, and up to the present no deaths have occurred; also for supplying military tents to aid the meeting, thereby housing the people comfortably ; and also to your Government for conveying to us the thanks which our Queen was graciously pleased to accord to us on the receipt of the congratulatory address of the Maori people; also for your kindly expressed hope that the Maori people will be prosperous and retain their lands yet remaining to them, and that they be not dispossessed of them by sale. These are the greetings and the thanksgivings of all the chiefs of the Maori people, and the farewell greetings on this the closing day of this the large meeting of the two Islands of New Zealand.
11. It is also right and proper that we should here give expression to our greetings and thanks to Tamahau Mahupuku and the chiefs and chieftainesses, the local hapus, the entertainers of the marae, for their kind attention to their guests and their good management in serving the food to the meeting right up to its close. Everything was conducted in the most satisfactory manner, and the managers, the cooks, the stewards, the Maori policemen, and all that was conducive to the comfort of the guests were all good—very good. That Chief Tamahau was indefatigable in his efforts to provide for the comfort of the guests and of the meeting.

The Maori chiefs pray that their meeting may be established as an annual affair, and ask whether a law could be passed constituting the Maori Confederation Assembly.

We are considering that the numbers of the permanent members of the Maori Assembly should not be less than thirty or more than a hundred, thus it "would not be burdensome on the local Natives who would entertain them, so that this assembly might constitute a body who should, deliberate on matters affecting the Maori people, and Bills which may be forwarded by you to that assembly, and also deal with any applications of the Maori people that are made to the Government.

The assembly to be called the Confederation of the Maori people. Sufficient then.

Long life to you and to your Government.

From us the Maori chiefs and chieftainesses.

Signed by us, the members of the select committee.

Paratene Ngata and Others.