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

5. Native Reserves and the Individualization of Native Title

5. Native Reserves and the Individualization of Native Title.

The Native reserves in the Middle Island are of three classes:—

1st.Lands reserved from sale by the Natives themselves.
2nd.Lands reserved by the Government for Native occupation and cultivation.
3rd.Lands reserved by the New Zealand Company, and by the Government, for raising funds for various Native purposes.

The Natives residing at Kaikoura, Queen Charlotte's Sound, Pelorus, Motueka, Massacre Bay, and the West Coast, are very anxious that the reserves of the first and second class should be sub-divided; and that Crown grants, should be issued to each claimant, for his respective piece. I see no objection to this being done, on the contrary it would have a beneficial effect, as it would break up for ever, the system of several families living together in confined and unhealthy Pas. A family living on its own allotment of land would be likely to make greater improvements and advancement than when massed with others as joint cultivators. The only district in which I have carried out the system of sub-division of reserves is at Takaka; there it has answered very well. In arranging that question, I found the greatest difficulty was in persuading the Natives to give up innumerable small holdings, and to get them to understand that 18 acres in one block was better than the same quantity of land distributed over the whole reserve.

Preliminary steps have been taken in other districts, but my numerous duties and engagements have prevented my completing them, or bestowing that amount of attention on the subject which its importance demands. I consider that the sub-division and apportionment of these reserves among the occupants would be one of the best measures which could be adopted for promoting the welfare of the Native inhabitants of the Middle Island, and would assist more than any other in placing them on the same footing as the Europeans. There is nothing the Natives complain more loudly of than not having Crown grants for their lands.

With reference to the reserves of the third class, I would nor propose to hand these over to the Natives, except a few sections at Motueka, required in compensation for lands at Wakarewa, conveyed to the Church.

Many of these reserves are very valuable, and at Nelson yield a considerable annual income in the form of rents. There has not been, up to the present time, any fixed scheme of allotting or apportioning these funds. I would now suggest that all moneys accruing from this source in any page 140Province of the Middle Island should be treated as one fund, and should be divided into four-heads for the following purposes within that Island, viz:—

1st.For the payment of Medical Officers, and expenses incurred in the treatment of and relief of sick Natives.
2nd.General purposes for the advancement of the Natives—procuring improved agricultural implements, encouraging schools, obtaining useful and instructive books.
3rd.Rewards to Natives for improvements in house building, or for industry in cultivating land.
4thRelief of indigent and infirm Natives, provisions to Natives attending meeting called by the Government, travelling expenses of Native Assessors.

A fixed rule should be laid down that no Native should receive any present, except as a reward for services performed, or for something which he had done as a good example to his tribe. The indiscriminate making of presents, because of a friendly feeling towards particular Natives, is a source of much evil and jealousy.

I do not believe that Natives residing in the Middle Island require the same system of Government as their countrymen in the North Island, many of the latter not having obtained the same knowledge of European laws and customs as those residing in the Middle Island.

To effectually carry out the arrangements herein proposed for the sub-division of Native lands in the Middle Island, it would require the services of an officer experienced in Native affairs, with two competent Surveyors, and two labourers (one Native and one European), the latter to act as chainman and as constable when necessary.

I have, &c.,

James Mackay, Junr.,
Assistant Native Secretary.

3rd October, 1863.