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

Deposition of Mr. John Jones

Deposition of Mr. John Jones.

Mr. John Jones deposed as follows:—About the year 1844, when the purchase was made for the New Zealand Company, Mr. Daniel Wakefield was engaged on the part of the New Zealand Company, Mr. Symonds on the part of the Government, and Mr. David Scott acted as Interpreter to the New Zealand Company. I was in Wellington at the time, with the principal chief Towaki, of the Middle Island. We all five proceeded to Otago. I landed them in Port Chalmers, and I went to Waikouaiti and brought down to Port Chalmers four or five more chiefs. In truth, the whole tribe was on board the ship, but I mention the chiefs because they acted for the tribe. A meeting took place at Port Chalmers. The Natives showed Mr. Symonds and Mr. Wakefield, among other reserves which they pointed out, four spots. There were two spots which they reserved in Port Chalmers, and two in the place where the town of Dunedin now is. Respecting these four, a dispute arose between Mr. Daniel Wakefield and the chiefs. The first portion of the dispute taken up was about a piece of ground which the Natives used as a burial-ground in Port Chalmers. Mr. Wakefield gave way to the Natives on that account. They then proceeded to where Dunedin now stands, and selected the spots mentioned in clause 3 of the petition, as reserves for boat harbours, distant from one another about two hundred yards. The Natives drew a plan including both those spots, and an altercation took place between Mr. Wakefield and the Natives. Mr. Wakefield insisted upon retaining them, and would not give in to the Natives, and the negotiation came to an end. The whole of the Natives, including Towaki, went back with me in my vessel to Waikouaiti. Ten days elapsed, and a special messenger from Mr. Wake-field arrived at Waikouaiti, and I think he brought me a note, requesting me to use my influence with the Natives to return to Port Chalmers, and to bring the Natives over in order that negotiations might be resumed. I complied with that request, and took the Natives in my vessel again down to Port Chalmers—my object at the time being to forward the views of the New Zealand Company, and to benefit the Natives. In fact, I remonstrated with Mr. Wakefield (at the time that he objected to give up the two reserves in Dunedin), alleging that they were very paltry reserves, and that they were absolutely necessary for the use of the Natives. When negotiations recommenced at Port Chalmers, Mr. Daniel Wakefield gave in, and, as I was acting for the Natives, I distinctly state that these two reserves were exempted from the sale of the block subsequently known as the Otago Block, and that these two reserves are those specified in clause 3 in John Topi Patuki's petition. If I were on the spot, I think I could point out both reserves, within a very few feet of the limits which the Natives assigned to them at the time.

1.By the Chairman.]—Can you account for the non-insertion of these two reserves in the deed which was executed between the Natives and the Agent of the New Zealand Company?—I cannot account for it; but Captain Cargill, Agent for the New Zealand Company, some fifteen years ago built a stone house for the Natives on one of these reserves, and in fact always acknowledged their right to that reserve, which is known as the Beach Reserve. Towaki, as I said before, drew a plan of these two reserves, and gave it to Daniel Wakefield. This plan should be forthcoming; and if John Topi Patuki is correct when he says, in his petition, that he and his tribe, on the demise of the New Zealand Company, were unable to find written record of these two town reserves, then, in my opinion, the omission was designedly made.
2.As you acted on the occasion of the sale, as the friend of both parties, you are asked whether you see any way to settle the matter? I have spoken to Mr. Macandrew, the present Superintendent of Otago, and he informed me that he was prepared either to give the Natives a site on the reclaimed land, or, if they preferred it, he would purchase for them a site in Pelichet Bay, close to the water, page 155and erect a brick building, of the value of £500, for their use and that of the Natives of the Middle Island. Such a site and such a building would amply answer all the requirements of the Natives, and be the best way of settling the matter.
3.Do you know anything about the reserve in the Town of Dunedin specified in the fifth clause of the petition as having beer made by the Governor of the Colony in the year 1853?—Yes. That reserve was made by Sir George Grey, when Mr. Mantell was Chief Commissioner. That reserve contains an area more than four times as large as both the reserves that the Natives originally stipulated should be reserved for themselves; and I may add that, at the time of the original sale, the Natives never laid any claim to have so large an area reserved for them.
4.Will you read the seventh section of the petition, and then state to the Committee what you know respecting the phrase, that "your petitioner was also entitled to one-eleventh of the sections into which their lands might after their cession be divided"?—I am quite certain that at the time of the purchase no such question as this was mooted.

John Tones.