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A compendium of official documents relative to native affairs in the South Island, Volume One.

No. 5. — Mr. T. C. Harrington to Earl Grey

No. 5.
Mr. T. C. Harrington to Earl Grey.

New Zealand House, 11th November, 1848.

My Lord,—

The Directors of the New Zealand Company beg to draw your Lordship's attention to the present position of the claims of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company to land in Banks Peninsula.

In the report of the Commissioners of Land Claims, Colonel Godfrey and Major Richmond, dated 21st October, 1843, enclosed in Mr. Willoughby Shortland's Despatch of 15th November, same year, and printed in the Parliamentary Paper No. 556, 1844, Appendix, page 433, it was stated that the claim preferred extended to "all Banks Peninsula, in the Middle Island of New Zealand, with the exception of the Bay of Hikuraki, Oihoa on the south, and Sandy Beach, north of Port Cooper, on the north, the boundaries. The supposed contents, 30,000 acres." And further, that the expenditure by the claimants upon public objects had been represented to amount to £15,125 sterling; but that the vouchers being in France, this expenditure could not then be verified.

In Lord Stanley's Despatch of 7th July, 1845, No. 7, printed in the Parliamentary Paper No. 337, 1846, page 78, it was stated that Monsieur Mallières, the representative of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, had established to the satisfaction of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners an expenditure by the said Company of £11,685; and upon a personal reference to Colonel Godfrey, who was then in England, it appeared that that gentleman was of opinion that a purchase had been made from the Natives by Monsieur Langlois of a certain quantity of land in Banks Peninsula, but that its actual extent was not known with sufficient accuracy to enable the Governor to issue a deed of grant, and that it would therefore be necessary for an officer to proceed to Akaroa for the purpose of obtaining a more correct description of it. Directions were accordingly given in the said Despatch to instruct Mr. Edward Shortland, or some other officer, to proceed to Akaroa for the purpose of assisting the agent of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company in affecting an arrangement with the Natives for the Company's quiet possession of the land they had purchased, giving him instructions similar to those given to Mr. Spain respecting the compensation to be paid by the New Zealand Company to the Natives of Port Nicholson. It was also declared in the same Despatch, that the quantity of land to which it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to authorize the grant of a confirmatory title, was limited to 30,000 acres.

These instructions, the Directors believe, have never been carried into effect, owing probably to the circumstance of the agent of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company having left New Zealand before their receipt in the Colony.

Since the month of May, 1847, as your Lordship is aware, a negotiation has been pending between the Nanto-Bordelaise Company and the Directors of the New Zealand Company for the purchase of the interests of the former. In consequence of the shape which the opposition of Monsieur Langlois has at length assumed, and which I had the honour to communicate to your Lordship on the 5th of last August, hope is no longer entertained of this negotiation being brought to a satisfactory conclusion. But in the course of its progress the Directors have become aware that the members of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company consider themselves enabled to prove an expenditure larger than has been admitted by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners; that the restriction of the claim to 30,000 acres is alleged to have been occasioned by a mistaken belief that the quantity of land would comprise the whole contents of the Peninsula, and that such contents are now computed by the said Company to amount to 260,000 acres.

Whether any additional claims would now be admitted by Her Majesty's Government, and if so, to what extent, the Directors have of course no means of forming an opinion. Neither can they state whether in this case, as in purchases apparently equally valid, effected by the New Zealand Company, it will be necessary to pay to the Natives further sums of money.

page 79

In the report of Mr. Kemp (the officer employed by Lieut.-Governor Eyre to effect on behalf of the New Zealand Company a purchase of that portion of the Middle Island which lies between the purchases at Otago and at Nelson), which is enclosed in the accompanying Despatch, recently received from Colonel Wakefield, it is stated that "the Natives clearly admit having sold the whole of Banks Peninsula to the French Company."

That Peninsula, your Lordship is aware, contains four harbours of considerable magnitude, namely, Akaroa, on its southern coast, and Pigeon Bay, Port Levy, and Port Cooper, on its northern. "Hikuraki," the Bay excepted from the claim of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, appears to be an insignificant inlet at the junction of the southern coast of the Peninsula with the mainland. On the whole eastern coast of the mainland, from Cloudy Bay, in Cook Strait, down to Otago, there is not a single harbour for ships. Your Lordship therefore will at once perceive the importance of ascertaining, with as little delay as possible, which of the four harbours above mentioned are to become the property of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company; the more especially as, from the unsettled state of the Native claims in the district of Wairarapa in the Northern Island, and the circumstance of the district lying to the south of the Molyneux River and Milford Haven, in the Middle Island, not having yet been acquired, it appears at the present moment to be far from improbable that the site of the settlement of Canterbury will be fixed in the territory lately purchased as above mentioned, on the eastern coast of the Middle Island, and in the vicinity of Banks Peninsula.

On these grounds the Directors beg to submit for your Lordship's consideration, that it will be expedient,—

1.To call upon the Nanto-Bordelaise Company definitely to select, within such time as your Lordship shall deem reasonable, the whole of the land to which it is entitled, in order to the boundaries of such land being marked out upon the spot.
2.To direct that in default of compliance on the part of the said Company, the selection shall be made and the boundaries marked out by an officer to be appointed for that purpose by the Governor-in-Chief of the Colony [gap — reason: damage]nd
3.To make provision that in any such selection, whether made by the Nanto-Bordelaise Company or by the Officer of the Government, one or more of the harbours above mentioned shall be secured for the purposes of colonization.

I have, &c.,

T. C. Harrington.

The Right Hon. Earl Grey.