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Notes on Sir William Martin's Pamphlet Entitled the Taranaki Question

Pages 13, 14

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Pages 13, 14.

he 3rd August, 1844."…… "The Governor for nally and officially."……

This is the first time in which it has been formally attempted to be maintained that a general tribal right in the Ngatiawa was allowed by Governor Fitzroy. It is true that the Governor disallowed Mr. Spain's judgment, which awarded a grant for 60,000 acres to the New Zealand Company: but he certainly did not recognise a general tribal right in the Ngatiawa, for this would have given them rights which they had not before the Waikato conquest. The question then is, what he meant by allowing "in all their integrity" the claims of the Ngatiawa who had not been parties to the sale in 1840.

It is very important to know exactly what Governor Fitzroy's decision really was. Fortunately there is no difficulty in doing this, for there is the authentic record of the address which he delivered to the Natives on the 3rd August 1844, which was published in the Maori Gazette for September, after the M.S. (in English) had been revised by himself. That address was given in full in the Appendix to the Governor's Dispatch of 4th December 1860. In it the Governor distinctly recognised the individual right of each man, woman or child to land; desired each to point out his position; ordered schedules of the individual ownership to be prepared; gave as a reason for these schedules that they would prevent future mistakes; advised than to be careful each to sell his own property, in order that he might receive the payment himself; and expressly promised to buy any individual rights when they should be offered on reasonable terms.

But this was not all. When in the second visit which Governor Fitzroy made in November 1844 the piece of land now known as the "Fitzroy Block" was under negotiation, certain proposals were made to the Governor by Protector Forsaith, Protector M'Lean, and the Rev. Mr. Whitely, as follows: "Let a Block of land be marked out……Let a definite sum be fixed ns a fair and equitable price for this block, at a certain rate per acre; the unpaid resident Natives receiving their proportionate share, and the residue lodged in trust for absentees; who should have notice that unless their claims were preferred and substantiated within a given period (say twelve months) they would be considered forfeited. Such award should be final and absolute". These proposals were adopted by the Governor as the basis of his decision.

Governor Fitzroy's concessions constitute the extreme limit of the Ngatiawa claims. He said he meant to recognise their rights in all their integrity: and here is conclusive evidence of what he considered those rights to be. If he had intended to recognise a general tribal right in the whole Ngatiawa tribe, he would not have recognised the sale of 1840 at all, seeing that it was made by those who represented neither Chief nor Tribe. Assuming the view of the tribal right taken by Sir W. Martin, it is clear that the 70 people who executed the deed of 1840 could have no right whatever to sell: whereas Governor Fitzroy recognised their right, and reserved a similar right to those who were not parties to the deed; that is to say, the right of each section or family or individual of the Ngatiawa tribe that returned to the district, to sell without the interference of any one not being a part owner.