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

Page 37

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Page 37.

[Letter from Rev. Riwai te Ahu.]

The Rev. Riwai te Ahu was a child when he left the Waitara district, "He has resided," said the Bishop of New Zealand in his statement before the Board in 1856, "from his childhood at Waikanae, in Cook's Straits." He was even ignorant of the boundary of a claim of his own in the neighbourhood of the block, which was investigated some time since by the Chief Land Purchase Commissioner. In his statement before the Board of 1856, speaking of a piece of land as an endowment for a school, he said, "I could point out the boundaries, provided I knew them."

In this letter to the Superintendent of Wellington he names three specific claims, one on behalf of Te Patukakariki, who being on the spot never claimed for himself; another on behalf of Wiremu Kingi, whose cultivation within the block he says is called Te Parepare; a third on behalf of King's two children. "The cultivations which belonged to their mothers are," he says, "at Hurirapa, the pa which was burnt by the soldiers: and another at Orapa on the south of their old pas." As regards the cultivations of Kingi himself, neither he nor any of his people had cultivations on the block. The Hurirapa was not burnt. No pa was burnt by the soldiers.

The Rev. Riwai te Ahu says that Te Patukakariki is the Chief of the Ngatihinga and Ngatituaho hapus. On this point the following evidence was given by Commissioner McLean at the bar of the House of Representatives: "Is not Patukakariki the head of the hapu to which Te Teira belongs? If he is not, who is?—I have never recognised him as such. I know the contrary. I admit, however, that he is a Chief of some importance. The principal Chief of these hapus died some years ago. Ropoama Te One, at Queen Charlotte 'Sound, represents them."

Again, Riwai says, speaking of the occupation of Waitara by the Waikatos in 1842: "Nuitone te Pakara was the first. Therefore one of those old Chiefs, Ngaraurekau, went up from Waikanae to keep possession of Waitara, lest Ngatinaaniapoto should come back." It has been shown at note to p. 12 that the Waikatos returned for quite a different reason: but there is something extremely ridiculous in the notion of an old man from Waikanae preventing the Waikato conquerors from returning.

But Riwai admits Teira's title. "True, he has a title, that is to say to his own cultivations within that block."

This is an important admission by the adverse party. It goes to prove far more than the Rev. Riwai te Ahu probably meant to admit. If Teira has a good title to his own cultivations and subdivisions, so has every other Native who is a party to the sale, including a number of absentees at Queen Charlotte Sound under Ropoama Te One, who is a Chief of the hapus concerned in the sale. The title of the sellers then to part of the block is certain. The Government contends that their title to the whole is probable. The question as to the extent of their ownership was what the survey would have brought out when it was forcibly interrupted by Wiremu Kingi. (See note to other letters, pages 34, 35, and 44.)