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Petition of Reha Aperahama and 47 Others

[Translation.] — To the Honorable Members of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Colony of New Zealand, now assembled

[ko te tohutoro i roto i te reo Māori]

To the Honorable Members of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Colony of New Zealand, now assembled.

Salutations to you!

The Petition of the undersigned Aboriginal Natives of New Zealand, of the District of Hauraki.

Humbly showeth,—

That your petitioners are owners of land called Te Aroha, at Hauraki. Your petitioners pray that you, the members of the House of Representatives of the New Zealand, will give careful consideration to the matters set forth in this petition, respecting their land, Te Aroha.

1.That land, Te Aroha, belongs to us alone, to our ancestors, to our hapu Ngatitumutumu, and to us, some of the members of the Ngatimaru tribe, who are included amongst the descendants of Ngatitumutumu; and we and our hapus, who have permanently occupied this land, Te Aroha, from days long gone by up to the present day, have large interests in the land, and we are still exercising acts of ownership on the land according to Maori custom.
2.No other hapus or tribes living at Hauraki had any right or title whatever to this land, Te Aroha, according to Maori custom.
3.None of the other hapus or tribes living at Hauraki, or any other tribes, from time immemorial to the present, have driven off our ancestors of hapus, or have objected to their occupying from the beginning till now, and we are still living permanently upon our land, Te Aroha.
4.When the Native Land Court came into operation, an unauthorized [pokanoa] application was made to the Court by another tribe, not being of Hauraki, with the intent that they, the Ngatihaua of Waikato, might be able to rob us of our land, Te Aroho, possibly that they might treat it as compensation for the confiscated lands in Waikato. However, they were defeated in the last Court that sat in respect of this land.
5.Your petitioners would point out to you, the Legislators for the two races living in the Colony of New Zealand, that it was James Mackay, Government Land Purchase Officer, who placed all the tribes of Hauraki upon our land.
6.We mean that this placing of the tribes of Hauraki upon this land of ours by him has been affected by his paying money to different people of all the hapus of the tribes of Hauraki.
7.Be it remembered by your honorable House that the moneys paid by that Government Land Purchase Officer to those people were paid at the town of Shortland, and not paid by him upon this land, Te Aroha.
8.That Land Purchase Officer cannot take the bodies of these tribes upon our land to live there, and those persons are unable in the body to go to Te Aroha, and point out to that Land Purchase Officer their portions of the land for which they have received payment, because they know full well that neither they nor their ancestors had any right to that land, Te Aroha.
9.We assert that those tribes were rejoiced on account of the unnecessary payment to them by that Land Purchase Officer of the money for that land, Te Aroha, to which land they had no right; and they are also rejoiced at the needless payment to them by that Government Land Purchase Officer of liquor, flour, biscuit, sugar, tea, and European commodities for our land.
10.We pray you to place the responsibility for these goods or moneys upon those persons, so that they may enjoy the results of their gratification, which they evinced when their hands took the money and goods.
11.We would point out to you that our land, Te Aroha, is of very large extent; it is also land of good quality, and contains many thousands of acres; and for that reason the Land Purchase Officer heedlessly paid money to all the tribes of Hauraki, who had no title there, in order that the Government might get all the land, and that he might get his commission at 4d. per acre for lands purchased by him for the Government.
12.That Land Purchase Officer told the tribes at Hauraki that they all had an interest in Te Aroha through the name of Marutuahu, our ancestor, the Court having ordered the land to be granted through the name of Marutuahu.
13.We wish to explain this last statement. It was quite right that the name of our ancestor should be mentioned in connection with our land, but the right to use his name rests with us and not with any other hapu or tribe of Hauraki.
14.We will tell you the children of Marutuahu—Tamatipo, head of the Ngatirongou; Tamatera, head of the Ngatitamatera; Whanaunga, head of the Ngatiwhanaunga; and also Te Ngako, to whom descended the name of their parent Marutuahu. We, the section of Ngatimaru, who are in this land, Te Aroha, are the descendants of Te Ngako.
15.Your petitioners are quite clear that the Court's decision was in favour of Marutuahu, and that the Court was quite clear that all his tribes would not have a strong title to this land. In part 4 of the 4th clause of the Judgment of the Court, published in the Kahiti Extraordinary of the 4th August, 1871, it says,—page 4
16.But all the Marutuahu disputed with the tribes of Waikato, those taking the most active part being the Ngatihaua of Waikato, and the Ngatitumutumu and Ngatimaru of Marutuahu. The Court did not say that the Ngatitamatera, Ngatiwhanaunga, Ngatipaoa, and other hapus of the Hauraki tribes, took an active part as against the Ngatihaua about this land, Te Aroha, to warrant the money of the Government being paid to those other tribes when the Court awarded that land as in the name of our ancestor Marutuahu.
17.Your petitioners would point out to your honorable House that Ngatihaua made a great many applications to the Court to sit to investigate their title to this land. The first Court was held at Waikato, and the second at Matamata, Waikato.
18.We and our hapus mentioned herein were the only ones who went to those Courts-that is to say, we, the descendants of our ancestor, the persons known by all the tribes of Hauraki to be the sole owners of this land, Te Aroha.
19.The third Court for this land was held at Kapanga, Hauraki, but the statements made to the Court were not clear, owing to the confusion that existed.
20.The last Court for this land was held at Auckland. On this occasion all the Hauraki tribes assembled to state the claims of our ancestors and the occupation by our hapus of Te Aroha, so that the Court might be clear to consider the question of the taking of our land by Waikato.
21.The Hauraki tribes did not appear in Court to assert their own rights to Te Aroha, but to substantiate the title of our ancestors, our hapus, or of ourselves, who are living upon our land.
22.Your petitioners again pray you to cause action to be taken in the House, or by the Government, that the money paid by their Land Purchase Officer to the tribes of Hauraki may be made a charge upon the lands of those who received it, so that each tribe of Hauraki can pay the money they received.
23.Let not that money be made a charge upon our land in consequence of the statements of the Government and their Land Purchase Officer.
24.We point out that we addressed a letter to Sir Donald McLean, Minister for Native Affairs, on the 3rd December, 1876, showing forth to him all these difficulties which we have related to you. A copy of that letter was published in the Thames Advertiser of 13th January, 1877; but we have not received any word from the Grovernment on the matter respecting which we now petition you.
25.Your petitioners state that certain of the tribes of Hauraki, to whom the Government Land Purchase Officer paid money for our land, have issued a notice stating that they really had no valid claim to Te Aroha, neither they nor the other tribes of Hauraki in the same category as themselves, and not belonging to the Ngatitumutumu or a portion of Ngatimaru.
26.Their notice was published in the Thames Advertiser of the 16th February, 1877, and they state therein that it was that Land Purchase Officer of the Grovernment who urged upon them to take, without cause, Grovernment money for our land, to which they have no title.
27.We would make it clear to your honorable House that Meha te Moananui surveyed certain land within the boundary of Te Aroha for himself and his tribe, the Ngatitamatera on account of the money paid to them by that Land Purchase Officer of the Government; and the Court has returned that land to your petitioners in accordance with the evidence given before the various Courts which have been held in respect of Te Aroha.
28.It will probably be clear to you that all the tribes of Hauraki have no right whatever to Te Aroha, because they have not yet gone to survey or to point out the places they claim as in consideration of the Grovernment money paid to them; and by this you will probably be made aware that they have been backed up by that Land Purchase Officer, Mr. Mackay.
29.We will ever pray to you both now aud in the future to regard with favour your petitioners while it is yet day, for the night cometh wherein no man can work.

We therefore send our petition to you for your favourable consideration.

And your petitioners will ever pray that God's blessing may rest upon us all-both you and us.

Sufficient. From all of us.

Your friends,

Reha Aperahama.
And 47 Others.