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

Page 49

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Page 49.

"It is plain that he, Mr. Parris, did not investigate."…………

"If, as appears, the Government had determined."…………

"Contrary to what was certified by Mr. McLean."…………

If the general tribal title of the Ngatiawa had ever been admitted by the Government there would of course have been a necessity to enquire into that right as now claimed for W. King. But as in accordance with the acknowledged custom among the various sections of the Ngatiawa themselves and the plan invariably pursued by the Government, no general tribal right would be admitted, but on the contrary the Government would necessarily recognize nothing but the separate tribal rights of families and subdivisions, there was nothing to enquire into in connection with a general tribal claim.

The Government never pretended to "recognize nothing but the individual right." As stated in note p. 2, it is not disputed that everywhere in New Zealand the Native tenure is tribal rather than individual. An unsuccessful attempt was made some years ago by the Chief Commissioner to individualize Native claims at Taranaki, which was referred to by him in his statement before the Board of 1856 in the following terms:—"I have tried this system at the suggestion of the Bishop at Taranaki. It gave me considerable insight into the state of Native Tenure, but in endeavouring to carry it out I found it took about 30 days to define the boundaries of the claims of 40 individuals over an extent of 30 acres, and even then they regarded the arrangement as altogether imaginary, and it did not appear to affect in the estimation of the Natives the general or tribal right. When I considered the title settled of some individuals on this basis, I found the Natives quarrelled among themselves about the boundaries, and prevented any definite arrangement being carried out until I afterwards purchased the whole of the tribal claim in order to secure a clear title." This attempt was made with the Ngatipoutakataniwha, Ngatiurakinaki, and other subdivisions or families of the Ngamotu, which was itself a large hapu of the Ngatiawa. It was not found possible to separate the individual ownership from the tribal claim of each subdivision. But this tribal claim was not a general tribal claim of the whole Ngatiawa tribe, for the Ngamotu hapu would have resisted any interference with their land on the part of the other numerous hapus of the Ngatiawa residing in the country adjacent to them: and when the "clear title" was acquired, as sated by Mr. McLean, on "the purchase of the whole tribal claim," it was not the general tribal claim of the Ngatiawa which was purchased, but simply the tribal claim (in contradistinction to individual right) existing in these separate subdivisions of the Ngamotu hapus. The best evidence of the absence of any general tribal right was, that the payment was made to those subdivisions without any reference whatever to the tribe at large.