Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

A Compendium of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs in the South Island. Volume Two.

[No. 25. — J. W. Hamilton, Esq., to the Chief Land Purchase Commissioner]

No. 25.

J. W. Hamilton, Esq., to the Chief Land Purchase Commissioner.

Kaiapoi, February 5th, 1857.


I have the honour to report for His Excellency's information, that the Maoris of Port Levy, (Kokorarata) Rapaki and Kaiapoi, have this day by deed, surrendered to the Crown the remaining lands northward of Kaiapoi for the sum of £200.

The tract ceded comprises about 1,140,000 acres. It extends from Kaiapoi old Pah, and the page 20northern boundary of Messrs. Kemp and Mantell's purchase, made in 1848 and 1849, to the Waiau-ua, a distance of about 50 miles north and south; and from the Coast back to the sources of the Ashley, (Rakahauri) the Hurunui, and the Waiau-ua, where the waters of the East and West Coasts are divided,—being a distance of about 60 miles east and west. About 480,000 acres are situated in the Nelson Province; being north, and on the Nelson side of the River Hurunui, which forms the northern boundary line of Canterbury. The remaining 660,000 acres are situated in this Province, between the River Hurunui and the boundary line of Messrs. Kemp's and Mantell's purchase, above referred to.

I have previously stated my inability to obtain in this Province, the Deed of Sale by which I could distinctly learn how the Kaiapoi boundary line runs. The Natives did not seem at all clear about it, when stating that it runs from old Kaiapoi Pah, to "Mt. Thomas." This line would probably cross the Ashley far to the northward of its sources. To prevent any future doubts, and to ensure including all the remaining land of the Maoris within the purchase just completed, I bad the sources, of the Ashley named as the commencement of the inland boundary. Thus, part of a former purchase may appear to be over lapped by the present one. But the vendors are not thereby to be charged with fraud in twice selling the same land.

The vendors claimed no right over the land to the westward of the watershed of this portion of the Middle Island. They stated that the Arahura, on Putini, Natives own it. Consequently no reference to the West Coast country appears in the deed enclosed. Had I been able to communicate with the Arahura people, 1 should have endeavoured to include them in a negotiation for one general transfer of the lands between both Coasts.

My mission, it will be observed, was simply to treat with the Kaiapoi Maoris for the extinction of their title within this Province. But they understand nothing of our Intra-Provincial boundaries. My only proper course, so as to avoid difficulties now and at a future day, was, I conceive, to obtain whatever land they were willing to sell, irrespective of mere arbitary lines of demarcation set up by ourselves.

I should have experienced much less difficulty in negotiating with the Maoris, had a wider discretion been allowed me, especially in regard to money. It is unfortunate, I think, that the sum of £500 or £600 was not at my disposal; as I feel convinced that for such sum I could have concluded one general purchase of the whole country; for the remaining unsold portion of which separate treaties must now be entered into with the Kaikoura and Arahura Maoris.

I have incurred the responsibility of adding £50 to the £150 recommended in Mr. Johnson's Memorandum to be set apart for the Kaiapoi purchase. In my letter of 8th January, conveying the Chief Kaikoura's, offer to His Excellency, I brought forward the strongest primâ facie evidence that the Ngaitahu tribes were the only rightful owners of the country of Kaiapoi. That the question may be understood in its details, and the fairest consideration given to it, it seems right that I should subjoiu the following minutes of the proceedings at Kaiapoi.

Kaiapoi Land Purchase, 1857.
Minutes of Proceedings.


Tuesday, 3rd. Left Lyttelton for Kaiapoi. The Rev. J. Aldred, of the Wesleyan Missions, again kindly lends his services to Government as Interpreter.

Wednesday, 4th. Met Maoris of Port Levy, Rapaki, and Kaiapoi, by appointment. Present also, Whakatau, Chief of Kaikoura, and some of his people; also some Akaroa Natives, of whom Wiremu Korowheko, Chief of Onuku; Hoani, Papita Akaroa, Chief of Wainui; Mautai, Chief of Wairewa. These Maoris attended as relatives, and having some claim to share in the payment, not as enjoying any positive rights of ownership. They took no part in the proceedings.

Commenced by stating,—My commission was simply to offer from the Governor £150 for the land north of Kaiapoi. Maoris required reserves at Hurunui and Motunau. Replied: I had no instructions to entertain any question of reserves in this case. Maoris urged want of room for their increasing stock, insisting on a new reserve, also on the fact of my agreeing to one at Wairewa, without having instructions. Replied: Wairewa was agreed to, because Mautai and his people were in occupation, and would have no other place to reside on and cultivate; but besides their separate reserves at Rapaki, Purau, and Port Levy, all very ample, they had at Kaiapoi about 2640 acres, twice the quantity of all the Akaron reserves for a population not much larger. After many long speeches, my offer positively and absolutely rejected by acclamation and counter-offer made to settle the matter then and there, first for £500 cash; or second for the £150 named, and an ample reserve.

They urged the value and extent of their land; the price we had been selling it at ourselves, to prove the reasonableness of their offer. The land had been stolen from them,—they denied the Ngatitoa's sale, and challenged us to point out houses, burying places, Pas, or any signs of Ngatitoa's ownership. South of Kaiapoi all had been fairly bought, our ownership was unquestioned. I declined the first offer, not having £500 or authority to draw for it. The second offer, on same grounds as before.

Maoris then offer at once to accept £150, as a part payment of the £500, leaving to the good faith of the Governor payment of the remaining £350. Declined such a loose transaction, as well on their account as on that of the Government.

Offered next on my own responsibility to add £50 to the £150 placed at my disposal by the Governor, and pay the whole £200 at once. My powers being limited, I would incur no further responsibility. Offer very decidedly rejected. Left them to consider it for three hours. On my return the offer was again formally rejected.

I then proposed that during the night they should agree to their own proposal, which I would convey to the Governor. I should remain till noon next day at the Kaiapoi Hotel.

Meeting broke up about sundown.

page 21

Thursday, 5th. Early this morning principal Chiefs request me, by message, to delay my departure and the sending back of the £200 till they should meet me. Shortly after they arrived Stated: my proposal was discussed during the night; renewed their several offers of yesterday, dwelling strongly on the necessity for their having a large reserve. Declined to reconsider these offer, and proposed to convey their terms to the Governor for consideration. Chiefs then expressed their willingness to accept the £200, but required written guarantee that I would represent their case strongly to the Governor, and use my influence to obtain the full sum of £500. Declined: saying, being too confident of the favourable result of my representations, they would be tempted incautiously to sign away their land. I would not assert that my representation would carry any weight at all. Chiefs insisted, these were their terms; they fully understood their risk, and that I could not pledge the Governor. They believed a fair and generous view of their case would be taken, as soon as it was thoroughly made known. They desired an immediate settlement on these terms. I felt very unwilling to close with them for these terms, believing their demand for £500 to be a very reasonable one. Being much pressed, I agreed to their proposal; after making them thoroughly understand the uncertainty of its being attended to, I have a guarantee that I would recommend the distribution of £200 among them all, so soon as the Kaikoura purchase should be completed.

After this the assent of the whole body of Natives was given to the Deed of Sale. Twenty principal men were named to be receivers of the money, and to execute the deed, viz:—

Paora Taki,
Paora Tau,
Hone Paratene
Te Aika,
Horomona Haukeke,
Wiremu te Uki,
Ihaia Taihewa,
Hoani Timaru,
Ihaia Tainui
Kaikoura (Whakatau),
Henere Tawiri,
Horomona Pohio,
Hopa Kaukau,
Tamati Tikao,
Hone Pere,

After their signatures or marks were attached to the deed, £10 were counted out to each of the above named Maoris for distribution. J. W. Hamilton.

In reference to the foregoing minutes, I should remark that the country ceded has been for several years past almost entirely occupied by ourselves as freehold or sheepwalk. By reserving any new tract for the Maoris, serious complications might be created, and the necessity for reference to the Land Office would delay the purchase greatly. This was my chief reason (not made known to them) for declining their proposal to accept £150 and a reserve, which otherwise I should have at once agreed to. But, under existing circumstances, it seemed absolutely indispensable to pay a large purchase money and make no reserve.

I trust that His Excellency the Governor will see good reason to grant me the necessary warrant for payment of the additional £50.

I enclose copy of the guarantee given by me, and I beg to state that I should have named £300 instead of £200; but I feared, first, lest, notwithstanding all that had been said, the larger sum should really influence the Maoris in giving their signatures, as it were, on speculation. Secondly, lest the Kaikoura Natives should recall their offer, and raise their demands extravagantly.

I beg to urge on His Excellency the Governor, in the strongest possible manner, the justice and reasonableness of the first demand for £500. I venture to hope that weight will be given to my guarantee, on the following considerations.

I firmly believe that the delay of six years or more in obtaining a hearing of their case was the real reason why the Maoris accepted so small a sum as £200, instead of insisting on receiving £500; because they grasped at what was within their reach, fearing further delay. For, when I asked why, if they denied the right of the Ngatitoa to sell the land as they pretended to do some six years ago, they had not (as is their custom) turned Europeans off, who came to occupy. They replied, the Governor had asked them not to disturb the Europeans. I am aware however, though they did not mention the facts, that Mr. Torlesse was obstructed in about 1849 when he first crossed the Ashley to survey for the Canterbury Association. And that Kaikoura was exceedingly troublesome when Messrs. Hanmer and Wortley, in 1851 or 1852; first settled near Amuri. This was done to keep up the assertion of their rights of ownership.

Had I been sent to treat for their land, with power to pay any sum under £1000, I should have been glad to close instantly with their offer for £500.

According to the average scale of payment, before our settlement of this part of Middle Island had created a new value for their land, £150 paid at Kaikoura, £200 paid at Kaiapoi, and £300 distributed afterwards, in all £650, appears to me the lowest sum for which we could have expected six years ago to have obtained the surrender of the country extending from Kaiapoi to Waiau-toa (the Clarence River).

About two years ago, one block of this land between Waipaoa and the Hurunui, containing 30,000 acres, was sold by the Government for £15,000, besides several other smaller pieces.

Recollecting this fact, I should feel that I had made myself party to a gross fraud practised upon the Maoris in agreeing now to give only £200 for their land which we have already sold at such a very different price, were it not for the following considerations:—

  • Firstly.—I hardly doubted that the Government could refuse to act generously; and in the same spirit as the Maoris, in the matter of the guarantee they sought for.page 22
  • Secondly.—Having neither the means nor the knowledge to turn the land to account, it may he considered almost useless and valueless to themselves.
  • Thirdly.—It is greatly to their advantage that it should be in profitable occupation by ourselves; and that all questions about it should be closed at once.
  • Fourthly.—Our arrival among them has given such a value to their reserves that they may be considered to have been handsomely compensated for the surrender of what they could not use. Not less than £40,00 now represents the value of the Kaiapoi reserve alone,—when we first came it would barely have been valued at £500. This reserve consists of 2,640 acres, of which about 1000 acres are forest land. The timber alone is now selling to sawyers at £35 per acre, and represents a value of £35,000; while the land itself cannot be worth less than the Government price of £2. Much of it, however, has positive value of £4, £5, up to £10 per acre, if not higher. At the lowest value of £4, the land itself is worth roughly £10,000. This value given to the Kaiapoi reserve is quite as much attributable to our profitable occupation of the fine country to the north of it, which we had not purchased, as of that part of the plains we were rightfully occupying.
  • Fifthly.—The sum of £500 is quite insignificant in comparison with the £15,000 or £20,000 or more, which part of their land has already been sold for, and for which they seek to obtain but £500; they might, with every show of justice and reason, urge their right to receive from us the whole sum which has been paid to us for property still theirs at the time of payment.
  • Sixthly.—I feel fortified in the views thus expressed by me, by the concurrent opinions of the Rev. J. Aldred, who interpreted, and Sir W. Congreve, who was present at the meeting as an unconcerned looker on. Both these gentleman expressed themselves strongly on the justice of the demand for an additional sum of £300. To the latter gentleman I am indebted for much valuable information on the history of the Ngaitahu people, and their contests with the Te Rauparaha and the Ngatitoa.

The whole of the foregoing observations are necessarily based upon the assumption that the Ngaitahu Title to the country in question is thoroughly sound. I am in no position to enquire into the Ngatitoa side of the case. And, as Government have undertaken to treat for the land with Ngaitahu I must proceed on the belief that their Title is recognized.

Finally, I beg to remark that so strongly did I feel impressed with the justice of their case, that I was unable to argue against it at the meetings, with the Maoris. And when they at last agreed to the terms I was able to offer, I regretted they had done so; for I felt convinced that in holding out for their demand of £500, and referring the proposal to His Excellency, it must inevitably have been acceded to. And one advising them in their own interest, could not have recommended such a course to them.

I await with much anxiety His Excellency's decision in this matter; for, if an additional payment be not made, I shall cease to regret having been concerned in the bargain; and I may say the same for Mr. Aldred, who interpreted.

I have, &c.,

J. W. Hamilton,

Agent for purchase of lands at Akaroa and Kaiapoi. P.S.—I enclose copy of Memorandum shewing the areas of the tracts referred to in this and other letters respecting the Ngaitahu lands, which the Chief Surveyor of this Province, Mr. Cass, has kindly furnished at my request.
Kaiapoi, February 5th, 1857.

On completion of the purchase of the Kaiapoi lands as far as Waiau-ua and the Kaikoura lands from Waiau-ua as far as Pari-nui-o-whiti, I undertake to recommend the Governor to distribute a sum of £200 among the Maoris of Akaroa, Wairewa, Port Levy, Riapaki, Kaiapoi, and Kaikoura; to be paid into the hands of the Chiefs, and of any claimants who may appear after completion of the purchases named.

J. W. Hamilton,

Agent for Akaroa and Kaiapoi Land Purchase.

Between the boundary line of Messrs. Mantell's and Kemp's purchases and the Waiau-ua, taking the sources of the Ashley, Hurunui, and Waiau-ua, as the western boundary of the block, the southern boundary being a line from Kaiapoi old Pah, on Mount Thomas (1,140,000 acres).

Between the Hurunui and Waiau-ua from the sources of these rivers. This tract is the portion of the recent purchase which lies in Nelson (480,000 acres).

Between the Waiau-ua and the Waiautoa (Clarence river), from their sources (1,000,000 acres).

Between the Waiau-toa and Awatere river, from their sources (757,760 acres).

On the West Coast, bounded on the north by the Mawhera, or Grey (the boundary between the Provinces of Canterbury and Nelson) on the south by the Awaroa (the boundary between the Provinces of Canterbury and Otago) and on the east by a mountain range parallel with, and about 22 or 23 miles from the West Coast; contents about three millions of acres or about one-fourth of the area of the whole Province.

T. Cass,
Chief Surveyor.