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

No. 29. — J. W. Hamilton, Esq., to D. McLean, Esq

No. 29.
J. W. Hamilton, Esq., to D. McLean, Esq.

Lyttelton, February 19th, 1857.


I have the honor to enclose vouchers for the sums expended by me in negotiating the recent land purchases at Akaroa and Kaiapoi, and for which I hope to receive His Excellency's sanction and authorization in ordinary form.

The Akaroa purchase comprises roughly 45,000 acres, and the Kaiapoi purchase 1,140,000.

The £53 advanced on imprest by the Provincial Government I have appropriated with the utmost attention to economy. In proof whereof I may state, that, whereas, according to the Chief Surveyor at Canterbury, a 400 acre section at Banks' Peninsula usually costs from £30 to £40 to survey and lay out with the ordinary survey staff; the three 400 acres reserves at Onuku, Wainui, and Wairewa, have cost but £26 12s. By the plan I adopted, and acting upon my knowledge of surveying, a saving of about £64, out of £90, or more, has been effected; and my whole expenses, including some £8 for flour and sugar given to Natives according to custom, amount only to £54 10s. 5d., viz: at Akaroa, £44 12s. 6d.; at Kaiapoi, £9 17s. 11d.

page 24

I estimate as follows the cost of the two purchases, if undertaken by an officer of the Native Lands Department despatched from Auckland:—

£ s. d.
Commissioner's salary at £300 per annum, two-months 50 0 0
Fourteendays onpassage from Auckland
" " " to Auckland
25 0 0
One Month
£75 0 0
Passage from and to Auckland (£12 10s.) 25 0 0
Contingencies at intermediate Ports, viz.: Four to six days on shore at hotels, boat hire, &c. 5 0 0
Passages to Akaroa and back, boat hire, conveyance of 40lbs. money in silver, expenses at Akaroa (£12 15s.) say 12 0 0
Fare of horse to Kaiapoi, ferries, conveyance of 40lbs. silver 5 0 0
Customary presents—flour and sugar 8 0 0
£130 0 0
Survey of three 400 acres reserves at usual charge, £30 to £40, each say 90 0 0
£220 0 0
Add, if Commissioners detained three months instead of two 220 0 0
Salary, one month 25 0 0
£245 0 0

The total saving thus effected is £165 to £195.

I should observe as to the time the Commissioner would be here, the Natives would not have gathered in one place; they would have required two places of meeting, for I had great difficulty in persuading even a few of the Chiefs to accompany me to Akaroa. This purchase occupied nearly three weeks on account of surveys. A stranger unacquainted with the localities would have required a month. Mr. Davie and myself, on several days, were up at five and six a.m., and working until after sundown, about eight p.m. Again, it would not have been just to attempt to treat for the land, except at the residences of the main body of the Native owners, or at a very long notice. The Kaiapoi purchase required the principal part of a week, including journies. I conceive, therefore, that in the period of one month, i.e., between two trips of the Zingari, nothing could have been completed. Indeed, considering the extent of country beyond Kaiapoi to become acquainted with, a stranger could hardly have left in less than three months, especially if desiring to ascertain from the Kaikoura Natives, 80 or 90 miles distant, what their claims might be.

When asking me to undertake these negotiations for land, His Excellency's Private Secretary (by letter dated 16th August, 1856,) stated that I should receive a compensation, to be left to the decision of the Honourable the Colonial Secretary. I shall feel obliged by your taking the steps necessary to procure a decision on this point.

My absence from home, and the loss of my private time for more than a month, have subjected me to several small expenses. These, and others incidental to travelling and living at hotels, which could not be shown in account, I should be glad to have covered. The inconvenience and loss caused in my private affairs will not be covered by £10 or £12 this year. Government has not been charged with horse hire in my Kaiapoi bill; for five days at £1, the usual charge, this would have been £5, had I not used my own horse. There was a day's detention after the Deed of Sale was signed, caused by bad weather.

The whole business has added to my office work, by throwing it greatly in arrear, and has altogether caused me no inconsiderable trouble; for the perpetual interruption caused by Maoris coming to see me from the time I was first commissioned to treat with them, has amounted to positive persecution, both during and after office hours. So much so, that this alone was quite sufficient to incite me to as speedy a settlement of their affairs as my official duties would allow.

I have, &c.,

J. W. Hamilton,
Agent for purchase of Native Lands at Akaroa and Kaiapoi.

D. McLean, Esq., J.P.,Chief Commissioner, N.L.P.D. P.S.—Will you be kind enough to return the enclosed accounts approved, with necessary directions as to my passing them through the Auditor-General's hands.
No answer has reached touching my application to you for authority to disburse £150 on the Akaroa or Kaiapoi purchase.