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Land purchases, Middle Island : in continuation of paper G. 6, 1874, presented 29th July, 1874 : presented to both Houses of the General Assembly by command of His Excellency

J.—Otakou (Otago) Purchase

[i roto i te reo Māori]

J.—Otakou (Otago) Purchase.

On the 31st July, 1844, the New Zealand Company, through the intervention of an officer appointed by the Colonial Government, acquired a block of 400,000 acres at Otago for £2,400, as a site for the New Edinburgh settlement, comprising all the tracts of country bounded by a range of hills to the north of Otago Harbour, and extending as far south as Tokata Point near the Nuggets; the Maungaatua and Kaihiku ranges being the western boundary. Three exceptions were made within the Block for the Natives, viz.,—At Otago Heads, Taieri, and Te Karoro, containing in the aggregate land to the extent of 9,615 acres; one acre was also reserved for them at Pukekura, within the block reserved by the Company as a site for a lighthouse. Independent of the general reserves thus made, it was evidently intended at the time to select special Native reserves, as contemplated in the scheme of the other New Zealand Company's settlements; on which point Mr. Symonds, the officer who conducted the purchase, in his report dated 2nd September, 1844, writes as follows:—"I pursued the course, as regards Native reserves, from the firm conviction that the system heretofore adopted in other purchases of large tracts was beyond the comprehension of the aborigines; and, at the suggestion of Colonel Wakefield, I left the further choice of reserves, namely the tenth part of all land sold by the New Zealand Company, to be decided by His Excellency the Governor, without making any express stipulation with the Natives on the subject."

According to the agreement entered into between the New Zealand Company and the Otago Association in 1847, the New Edinburgh settlement was to comprise 144,600 acres, a tenth of which would represent 14,460 acres. The term of purchase, however, between the Company and the Association precluded the possibility of any portion of the block of 144,600 acres being set apart as Native reserves; but the Natives were nevertheless to have land reserved for them within the block to the extent named; and ample evidence can be obtained, by a perusal of the Parliamentary papers and New Zealand Company's reports of that date, of the intention to make such reserves.