Petition of Te Rangiwhakaewa and Others, in the Province of Hawke's Bay, relative to the Purchase of the Seventy-Mile Bush
29th August, 1871
To Henry Russell.,—
Friend,—We submit our grievances to you, in order that you may lay them before the gentlemen of the Assembly, to be there considered.
Friends, the gentlemen of the Government in Parliament in Willington, give heed. The Government of this Province—Hawke's Bay—have found out how to bewitch us and our land Maori fashion, and do not act according to law. We forward certain points for your information and guidance, in order to show why it is that we state that the Government of Hawke's Bay know how to bewitch Maori fashion; that is to say, to destroy the land, and us, the people, also.
Friends, hearken. There are three courses which have been pursued by the Government in respect of our lands, through which we have discovered the faults of which we complain. Had we seen the justice of their proceedings, we would not have sought your help, but, as it is, we have seen the faults.
Do not consider that we are speaking disrespectfully of the Government now: it is because certain matters are wrong that we find fault. Now then, do you give consideration to the question of the matters which have caused trouble for us—
- First, The survey.
- Second, The investigation.
- Third, The sale.
These are three matters which have caused us trouble.
The objection to the survey is, that it was not a survey made on the ground: it was done in a clandestine manner, by Mr. Locke and the Hawke's Bay Government, in the town of Napier, by collecting all the maps of previous sales to the Government,—the plans of Wairarapa, Mataikona, Te Wainui, Porangahau, Waipukurau, and Manawatu. When they had done with these, they had recourse to the Crown grants.
When the large plan was made, it was used by him to intimidate us in respect of our lands, so that he might get them as he wished. We therefore objected, because we were strangers to this survey. Much land has been dealt with in past times, but not as this has been dealt with,—the surveyor went upon the land so that the survey might be all right, and also the plan.
Our objection to the Court is this:—When the Court sat, Mr. Rogan asked Aperahama Te Rautahi Friend Aperahama, have you an interest in this land?—Yes. Who was your ancestor?—Te Rangiwhakaewa. Are you living upon the land?—Yes. Have you any cultivations upon it?—Yes, I have cultivations, I have a house, I have fences left by my ancestor. My ancestors had been living upon this land for eight generations. My father represented the ninth, and I am the tenth; my children will be eleven, and my grandchildren twelve.
When Mr. Rogan heard what Hoani had said, he would not accept Aperahama's statement, and so he failed through that man, and all his tribes failed with him. Ahuaturanga was the land in respect of which that man objected to Aperahama, and then he was overthrown from all the blocks of this land, Tamaki [Seventy-Mile Bush], Te Ahuaturanga Maharahara, Umutaoroa Te Piripiri, Tiratu, Otanga, Te Ohu, Orakaiatai, Te Tuatua, Ngamoko, Puketoi (these are blocks under this name).
Friends, the heads of the Committee. The reason why we were overthrown from our lands by the Court and the Government of Napier was, that we did not wish to sell our land. That is why we applied to the Chief Judge of the Native Land Court for a rehearing of the eases of these lands, the names of which are given above. That man agreed that we should survey it. On sending surveyors, the Government of Hawke's Bay prevented them (from acting). We are therefore trying to find out what the law is, in order that it may be discovered in what respect the investigation of the titles to these lands is wrong.
Friends, do not think that our objection to Mr. Rogan's proceedings is not a true objection. It is a very proper objection. We saw that a very improper course was pursued: he showed partiality for one party, and he abandoned the canoe in which he crossed the wide ocean, that is to say the law, and he took to the water, that is, he acted outside of the law. We therefore bring this wrong before you, that you may see how badly all the people of these hapus have been treated by that man, in being driven into the sea, there to swim about and call in vain for our canoe to be brought back to us. That man did not heed us, but pursued his own course: we therefore apply to you.
Friends, we pray you to take our land out of the Court, of the sale, and of the survey. Do not consider that the land has passed properly into the hands of the Government of Hawke's Bay, namely, Mr. Ormond, No, our land has gone wrongly. Had the disposal of it been correct, we would not ask your consideration of the matter. The Government have purchased a great deal of land about which no applications have been made. But with regard to those about which there is a difficulty, we shall apply for justice to be administered. In this case there is wrong, and there is great confusion, and we therefore strongly urge the matter of our lands. We therefore affix our names, and we, the said persons, apply to you. Our hapus and our names are hereunder written. We have but one decided request to make; that is, that we may have satisfaction, in which case only will we cease petitioning.
These are the hapus interested in Tamaki, who were cast in Court.
Te Rangiwhakaewa, and others.