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Memorial Relative to Working of Native Lands Court



Wellington, 29th July, 1869.

To the General Assembly of New Zealand.

O Friends, here am I sending the thoughts which I have discovered. This is not from any cause of complaint or strife, or for the purpose of creating evil, but for the purpose of pointing out the reason why trouble exists with regard to our side—the side of the Native race.

Let me here speak of one thing—a disapproval by me of this institution, the Native Lands Court. Its fault is this—listening to the false statements of men who have no just claim to the land. Friends, this is a very bad practice; our Maori custom is much preferable to this.

This is another things—the regulation of Crown Grants. The fault in that is this: do you listen! Where there are one hundred or more men (as claimants) the Court only admits of ten being inserted in the Crown Grant, while the one hundred (100) are thrown carelessly out of their land. This is the fault of that (regulation).

Another fault of the Crown Grants is, the European invites the man to whom the Crown Grant belongs to drink spirits, and that Maori then says, "I have no money." Then the European says, "Your money is your Crown Grant: your land is (your money)." I look upon this as being a cruelty to the Maoris, so that they may cease to have any land.

I had a word to say to the Judges who were at the second sitting of the Court at Napier. I said to them "O my friends, if the man who has the Crown Grant sells the land, will it go when it has been sold by him?" The Judges replied to me. "It will not go, unless the whole of the men whose names are in the Crown Grant consent: then it will go." Then I knew that the Lands Court was a good things, and I thought, verily, this is the permanent measure.

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Shortly afterwards another measure was adopted: the land went by the sale of one man. Do you continue to listen. I will never suffer my land to go upon the sale by one man whose name is inserted in my Crown Grant, because this is a lame system. Does it proceed from the lawyers, or from the Judges of the Court?

Friends, I was not formerly a man who wished to sell his land to the European. I proceeded to the Court that it might be permanently settled that the land should not be sold; but it appears that it can be sold.

Friends, this is a regulation which destroys men. I am not able to write out the numerous matters which are troubling us. All that I will intimate to you is this. Let the (one) man who is in the Crown Grant be prevented from selling, so that it be seen whether the Natives are to be as friends to you, or what, or whether they are to be cast carelessly aside through these measures of the European.

Friends, I am now requesting you to immediately take some action with regard to this thing which destroys men, that it may be put an end to, and that man may be saved. Enough.

From your loving friends,

Na Karaitiana Takamoana.