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

Supplementary report from W. Buller, Esq., to the Native Secretary

Supplementary report from W. Buller, Esq., to the Native Secretary.

Christchurch, October 17th, 1861.


In my general report on the Canterbury Natives, of the 19th ulto., I stated that the Native reserves of this Province, taken altogether, might fairly be estimated to represent a current value of £67,000. To show how this result was arrived at, I beg to enclose a tabular return, showing the extent, position, description, and approximate value of each of these reserves. Any one at all conversant with the subject will at once admit that my valuation is a fair and moderate one.

Take, for example, the Kaiapoi (or Tuahiwi) reserve, which I have valued at £45,400. As far back as February, 1857, Mr. Hamilton, the Collector of Customs, in writing to the Chief Commissioner, makes the following statement:—"Not less than a sum of £40,000 now represents the value of the Kaiapoi reserve alone. The timber alone is now selling to sawyers at £35 per acre, and represents a value of £35,000; whilst the land itself cannot be worth less than the Government price of £2. Much of it, however, has a positive value of £4, £5, up to £10 per acre, if not higher. At the lowest value of £4, the land itself is worth £10,000." Some allowance, however, must be made on the bush land, the extent of which is much overstated in this estimate.

Mr. Hamilton assured me the other day, and no one is better informed on these matters, that a considerable part of the open land on that reserve would realize now from £15 to £20 per acre.

It will be observed that I have fixed the average at £48 for the bush, and £10 for the open land.

Mr. Hamilton's estimate of £35 for the bush, five years ago, does not include the land on which it stands, but mine does. Timber land, of much the same character, at Rangiora, a few miles from Kaiapoi, has realized more than double the price quoted above.

page 134

I have thought it right to enter into these particulars, less the aggregate estimate given in my report should be looked upon, if not as extravagant, at least as questionable. At first glance, and without supporting data, the appraisement of 7000 acres of country land at £67,000 might seem exorbitantly high, but I am satisfied that the details now furnished must at once correct any such impression.

I have, &c.,

Walter Buller.

The Native Secretary, Auckland.