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Petitions of Renata Kawepo and 790 others, and Piripi Ropata and 200 others

[Translation.] — To the House of Representatives at Wellington. — The Petition of the Chiefs and People of the Majority of the Tribes of the Island whose Names are hereunder set forth

To the House of Representatives at Wellington.
The Petition of the Chiefs and People of the Majority of the Tribes of the Island whose Names are hereunder set forth.

Humbly showeth,—

That at the meeting of the chiefs and people of understanding at Pakowhai, in the month of May, of the year last past, these resolutions were come to:—

1.That every publicity should be given to the faithfulness of our allegiance to the Queen, and that we should publicly declare that we will be faithful in giving effect to, in consenting to, and in carrying out Her laws at all times.
2.That it is right and good in our opinion that the tribes of New Zealand should be united, and that we should assemble to see each other and talk over our grievances; also to select what subjects are proper to be laid before the great Parliament of the colony, with a view to their being discussed therein.
3.We say that it is right that a meeting of chiefs of tribes should be held every year to discuss everything affecting or having authority over us; to look into our grievances, and to consider what matters it is proper to lay before the great Parliament of the colony. It will be for this meeting to decide where the next one is to be held during the coming year.
4.We should now select suitable persons as a committee to carry out the second and third resolutions.
5.We say that the present Maori Representation Act should be repealed—that is to say, the law which only allows a few representatives for the Maori people in proportion to the European representation. That the present electoral districts should be abolished, and the great tribal boundaries made the divisions between the new electoral districts.
6.We say that the conduct of the Native land purchases under the Act at present in force is very confusing and very bad, and that purchases under these regulations should be stopped. Land should not be sold while the original title exists. If the tribe, the hapu, and the chiefs consent to survey and to have the title to the land investigated by the Court, then only will it be right that such survey and investigation should take place. If all consent to sell land, then only will it be right to sell. When the consent to sell has not been, obtained, let no money be paid to the persons owning the land; and a stop should also be put to the unauthorized going of Government officers to urge the Natives to sell their lands, or to have them passed through the Court. Let the question of the survey of, and investigation of title to, their lands vest with the owners thereof.
7.We desire that the law which is now in force, and which authorizes the Government to prevent Native lands from being sold to private individuals should be done away with.
8.We desire that all the laws at present in operation under which the Native Land Court is working should be repealed, and that the Parliament of the colony should pass a clear Act, and one under which Native land matters could be fairly dealt with. It should be provided in that Act that the Judges of the Native Land Court should hold the same status as Judges of other permanent Courts, and that the Government should have no authority over such Native Land Court Judges.
9.We say that the Government formed in the year 1869 is a bad Government; it does nothing right; it has no good thought towards the Maoris. Let the Parliament upset that Government.
10.We should address a respectful petition to our Queen praying her to send hither a trustful and upright man to inquire into our grievances, to write them down, and to write down, our statements, in order that our Queen may see them.

After that meeting had concluded the above resolutions were embodied in a petition and submitted to Parliament.

Some of the points raised therein do not appear to have been finally settled by Parliament.

In the month of March of this present year the chiefs and people of knowledge among the tribes assembled, at Omahu to discuss the action taken by Parliament on last year's petition, and to give consideration to matters affecting the Native race.

And these were the resolutions come to afterwards at the meeting at Omahu:—

1.The first business of this meeting is a renewal of the expressions of loyalty to the Queen and Her laws.
2.The meeting expresses its sense of pleasure that the Parliament should have so carefully considered questions affecting the Native race; but still there are many great grievances of the Maoris remaining which require attention.
3.The meeting is glad to hear that the Government have altogether given up purchasing Native land. The evils which have fallen upon the Maori people through the action of the Government Land Purchase Officers have been very great, and it is very proper that the system should be put an end to.
4.The meeting is glad to hear that the Maori members have been put upon the same footing as the European members, so far as permanency is concerned; but in reference to their application made page 4last year, the meeting thinks that a new and fixed Act should be passed, making the representation of the Maori people by Maoris Proportionate to the representation of the European people by Europeans, that the present electoral districts should be abolished, and that the great tribal boundaries should be made the division between the new electoral districts.
5.The meeting is glad that at the next ensuing session of Parliament a new Act will be passed affecting the Native Land Court. The Maoris have suffered greatly in the past through the bad native land laws. Through the evils in the laws bad Europeans have seized without consideration the lands of the Maoris at Hawke'a Bay and at other places.
6.The meeting is pleased because the parliament has confirmed the election of Karaitiana for the Eastern Electoral District, and has allowed him to take his seat in the House of Representative.
7.In the new Bill which is to be brought in affecting Native lands, the meeting ask that the resolution come to at the Pakowhai meeting last year may be given effect to [Vide Nos. 8,7,6, above.]
8.The Act which allows Maoris to sit on juries in the European Courts in eases where Maoris are concerned should be carried out.
9.The chiefs and people of knowledge of all the tribes in this Island should have the names of those who are qualified placed on the electoral roll.
10.The Maoris throughout the colony should not vote for the new Councils, lest it be made a ground for demanding money for the Councils on account of Native lands.
11.The Government should use every endeavour to have schools, established throughout the colony, so that the Maori children may learn the English language, for by this they will be on the same footing as the Europeans, and will become acquainted with the means by which the Europeans have become great.
12.The meeting asks the chiefs and all the people of the Island to lay aside all old deeds, to return to the right religion, and the teachings of Scripture.
13.The meeting is glad that the disputes about Kakirawa and Te Awa-a-te-atua have been settled by the payment of a large sum of money, and the giving back of a portion of the land. The Europeans of these Islands will now know that the objections raised by the Maoris to the wrong-doings of Mr. Sutton and others, of Hawke's Bay, are not untrue; for if they had not done wrong, this large sum of money would not have been paid for Kakirawa and Te Awa-a-te-atua.
14.The meeting strongly objects to the return of Mr. Sutton, as member for the Europeans of Napier, to succeed Sir Donald McLean. The Maoris of Hawke's Bay will not believe in the actions of a man who has been the means of their suffering such evils, and the meeting says that Mr. Sutton's statements made in the Parliament should not be listened to, and that the members from all the different places should try to find out the reason why such a man as Mr. Sutton is allowed to fill Sir Donald McLean's seat.
15.The meeting approves of the action taken by the people of Ngatahira—that is, their keeping hold of it, lest Mr. Sutton should get it; and the meeting asks that neither the Parliament nor the Government should support Mr. Sutton in doing this great wrong towards the Maoris, under cover of the sacred name of the law.
16.The meeting praises Sir George Grey for his energy in working for the Maoris, and also praises the members who supported him in looking after and carrying out Native matters in the Parliament.
17.The Maori people will not at present express an opinion adverse to, or in favour of, the new Government now in office, but will wait to see whether they do right or do wrong, so that it cannot be said that the Maoris are supporting or agreeing to this Government without any grounds for doing so.
18.It is right and very good in our opinion that the tribes of New Zealand should be united, that we should meet and see each other to talk over our grievances, and to choose such subjects as are proper to send to the great Parliament of this colony, there to form matter for discussion.
19.All the chiefs of the tribes are to entirely do away with the drinking of spirituous liquors, and the Parliament should pass an Act to allow of penalties being inflicted on persons taking liquor to The Native settlements.
20.This meeting desires that Parliament will not put any obstacle in the way of the Maoris in respect to the action they are taking with reference to their lands which have gone from them wrongfully; but let the Courts of the colony deal with such cases.

These thoughts of the Marois are submitted for the consideration of the Parliament of the colony. And it is prayed that their just requests may be considered by the Parliament, and that these evils and grievances may be entirely removed.

And your petitioners will ever pray:

Renata Kawepo and 790 others.
Piripi Ropata and 200 others.