Memorandum by D. McLean, Esq., recommending that an Officer of the Native Department should be appointed to take charge of Native affairs in the Middle Island.
Recommended,—That an Officer should be appointed to proceed without delay to the Middle Island to enquire into and report upon the state of the Native population, in the Provinces of Nelson, Canterbury and Otakou; with a view to the adoption of some measures for the permanent amelioration and improvement of the aborigines of that Island.
The first duty of this Officer should be to enquire into the state of the Natives at the Nelson gold diggings; where I submit that an Officer should be stationed to arrange cases of dispute that may arise between the various Natives resorting to the diggings, and the Europeans. A young gentleman, Mr. J. Mackay, residing at Nelson, who has a good knowledge of Maori, would be eligible for such an appointment, at a salary probably not exceeding £150 a year.
The next duty which should be assigned to the Officer who visits the Middle Island, should be to settle the boundaries of a reserve for the Natives at Arahura; and to extinguish the whole of their claims to that portion of the Island; also to have the Kaiapoi reserves finally settled, and the payment of £150 made to the Natives, in extinction of their general title.
These questions being settled, he should proceed to Otakou, to ascertain and report upon the state of the Natives of that Province; the reserves they possess; and whether they would wish to subdivide them, and obtain individual Crown Grants for portions of them: if so, to suggest the best and most expeditious mode of carrying this into effect.
The Rev. Mr. Turton, from his good knowledge of Maori and general ability, would be well qualified for this service; if he could be induced to undertake it at the rate of £300 a year.