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

Page 2

Page 2.

"Every cultivator is a member"…………

If Sir W. Martin means that a cultivator occupying a portion of land the property of the community, cannot deal with that land independently of that commu-page breaknity, he may be right: if he means that no cultivator has land which he cannot deal with except with the consent of the community to which he belongs, he may not.

The Bishop of New Zealand, in his statement before the Board of 1856 on Native tenure, says: "In many, perhaps in most cases, there would at present be considerable difficulty in separating conflicting or joint claims upon the same pieces of property, they are so entangled; yet there are instances of individual claims independently of the tribal right; the difficulty is seen when the money given for the purchase of land comes to be distributed to the various claimants." The Bishop also says: "A case now occurs to me: an old Chief at Otuki was pointed out to me by Mr. Hadfield as having been almost the sole donor of a piece of land, about 500 acres, as an endowment for the native industrial school. I recollect another case at Waikanae, where an old kumara ground was wanted for the enlargement of the school yard, but was refused by an old man who had an exclusive right to it, he said, and this right was acknowledged by the other Natives. I suppose this individual claim is by inheritance. The Native deacon Riwai te Ahu holds land at Taranaki, which he describes as having been inherited from his father and other relations, though he himself has resided from his childhood at Waikanae…………I most cordially approve of the plan which Mr. McLean has carried out, of ascertaining individual claims to land by name, and not acting in the loose way we hear generally as "the Natives."—The Rev. Mr. Taylor says: "Whatever piece of ground an individual cultivates for the first time, it becomes his own private property, if he be a claimant of the land in which it is situated; and when sold he only would be entitled to receive the amount."— The Rev. Mr. Hamlin says: "In the Bay of Islands, where land purchases were first made, the Native of every degree of rank sold his land without reference to any other authority."— Archdeacon Maunsell says, "Often, and more frequently, there will be several take (sources of title) and one of them will sell without consulting the others."— The Rev. Mr. Wilson says: "According to the primitive usages originally existing in this country, such a law as positive personal right to land was acknowledged."—Mr. Swainson says: "When any member of a tribe cultivates a portion of the common waste, he acquires an individual right to what he has subdued by his labour; and in case of a sale, he is recognised as the sole proprietor." Mr. C.O. Davis says: "It may be asked can individual claims exist with such an entangled web as this? The New Zealander has no law, that I am aware of, by which he is debarred from asserting his individual right to land: it may be a small portion, nevertheless it is an individual right."—The Native Board of 1856 says: "The Chiefs exercise an influence in the disposal of the land, but have only an individual claim like the rest of the people to particular portions."