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Tales of Banks Peninsula

Kemp's Deed

Kemp's Deed.

While writing on the subject of "Maori History of the Peninsula, ' it would not be out of the way to mention the final transaction by which the New Zealand Company bought all the land from the South Island natives. The deed always known as "Kemp's Deed" was signed in 1848 The New Zealand Company paid £2000 for the land, the Maoris stipulating that certain reserves should be set aside for them and their descendants: —

"the deed was signed at Akaroa by forty chiefs. The land included the West Coast and part of Otago, Native page 368settlements with inhabitants in each were shown on the map at Waimakariri (10 inhabitants), Port Cooper (10), Port Levy (260), Akaroa (30), Wainui (30), Piraki (10), Ellesmere Mouth (10), Timaru (70), Waitaki (20). This number, 450. seems very small; but an estimate made by Fenton in 1859 made the number in Canterbury (including Kaiapoi), only 638 Speaking of Banks Peninsula, Kemp says the natives clearly admit to have sold the whole of Banks Peninsula to the French Company. The transactions at Akaroa form, in themselves; materials for a romantic history. The Lieutenant Governor was not at all satisfied with the manner in which Kemp had completed the transaction; and in his report to Governor Grey he deplored the fact that Kemp had departed widely from his instructions. Whilst the deed provided for reserves, no definite areas had been set aside, the deed itself was In wrong form, and legally invalid; he had erroneously recognised native rights over country lying within certain circuits; he had promised that payment should, if possible, be made half yearly instead of yearly, as stipulated. Eyre pointed out that the whole business had been completed in three days, in which time Kemp could not possibly have ascertained the wishes of the natives regarding the tracts they wished reserved, nor could he have visited all settlements interested, and of the seven marked as lying between Akaroa and Otakou, three only had representatives present. Still greater objection was taken to the fact that Kemp had arranged for the payments being made to two chiefs only—Tikao at Akaroa and Taiaroa at Otago. As the validity of the whole transaction appeared to be doubtful, the Lieutenant Governor said he intended to send another officer to define the reserves and have another deed executed, In forwarding the correspondence to Earl Grey, however, Governor Grey remarked: 'It may be sufficient for me to say that although I regret Mr Kemp should have departed from his instructions, I still do not view his proceedings in so unfavourable a light as the Lieutenant-Governor does, and I entertain no doubt that the trans-page 369action has been fairly and properly completed, and that the arrangements since adopted by the Lieutentant Governor will satisfactorily dispose of any questions which might have resulted from any informalities in Mr Kemp's proceedings.'"