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

Copy of a memorandum on Native reserves exhibited by Mr. Alexander Mackay, dated January 3rd, 1870

Copy of a memorandum on Native reserves exhibited by Mr. Alexander Mackay, dated January 3rd, 1870.

The Native reserves at Motueka were made by the New Zealand Company, in accordance with their original scheme, that one-tenth of the land within the then settlement of Nelson should be set apart for the Natives, for educational and charitable purposes.

The original intention was to have appointed Trustees for the management of these lands, to consist of the Bishop of New Zealand, the Chief Justice, and the Chief Protector of Aborigines; but these gentlemen, having found many obstacles to the due execution of their trust, gradually ceased to act, and at last resigned.

During the time these gentlemen had the management of the Native reserves, Mr. Thompson, R.M., acted as local representative at Nelson till he met with his death at the Wairau massacre, in 1843, when Mr. A. McDonald succeeded to the management as Mr. Thompson's representative. A Board of Management was subsequently appointed in 1848, consisting of Messrs. Poynter, Carkeek, and Tinline, under the superintendence of Major Richmond. The Board retained the management of the property till the middle of the year 1853, when the sole management devolved on Major Richmond, the then Crown Land Commissioner, who was ultimately succeeded, in the year 1857, by Messrs. Domett, Poynter, and Brunner, by appointment, dated 1st December, 1856, as Commissioner, under the Act of 1856.

The estate of Motueka comprised 100 fifty-acre sections (5000 acres), of which 918 have been granted to the Bishop of New Zealand as an endowment for an industrial school; 1020 acres are occupied by the Natives; and the remainder (3062 acres, less 150 exchanged with Mr. Thorpe for Section 9, at Takaka) is under the management of the Governor through his delegate.

page 301

The average value of this portion of the Estate may be classed as [gap — reason: damage]fof viz:—

  • 1500 acres, poor land, value—about 26s. per acre.
  • 350 acres, middling land, value—between 40s. and 60s. per acre.
  • 1062 acres, good land, value—between 80s. and £30 an acre.

In 1844, as will be seen by the accompanying map, Mr. Commissioner Spain appears to have awarded out of the land originally selected at Motueka as Native reserves, Sections Nos. 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 182, 183, 187, 188, 212, 219, 220, 241, and [gap — reason: damage]242; in all, 800 acres, for the use and occupation of the Natives of Motueka, and one cause of the dissatisfaction continually expressed by them is that four of these Sections, Nos. 219, 220, 241, and 242, containing 200 acres in all, have been included in the grant made by Sir George Grey to the Bishop of New Zealand.

It would appear that the grant by His Excellency the Governor to the Bishop of New Zealand, of certain portions of the Trust Estate at Motueka, as an endowment for an industrial school, was made about the time the Board of Management ceased to exist, and immediately before the writs for our constitutional Government were returned, and just on the expiration of the Governor's power to make them.

The accounts show that the sum of £160 was expended for educational purposes, out of moneys accruing to the funds between the 1st January, 1852, and 11th July, 1853; and that, subsequent to that date, the amounts paid on behalf of the industrial school was £201 12s. 11d., as the following items will show:—

£ S. D.
1853, October. By paid Mr. Tudor, on account of industrial school 100 0 0
1854, April 12. By paid Mr. Tudor, on account of industrial school 50 0 0
1854, July 10. By paid Mr. Tudor, on account of industrial school 51 12 11
£201 12 11

It would appear that the first official intimation, concerning the alienation of a portion of the Native Trust Estate to the Bishop of New Zealand, received by Major Richmond, the administrator of the property at the time, was the receipt by him of a Crown grant, conveying nearly the whole of the Native reserves, then in the occupation of the settlers at Motueka, to the Bishop of New Zealand, for certain purposes. This circumstance was communicated by him to His Honor the Superintendent, on the 2nd December, 1853, in reply to a communication from His Honor, covering a resolution adopted by the Provincial Council then in Session, asking for a return of land set apart as Native reserves, and other particulars concerning the same.

On receipt of this communication by the Council, it was resolved to form a Committee to take into consideration the Superintendent's message No. 12, respecting Native reserves (vide page 47 of Votes and Proceedings of the Provincial Council, Sess. I., 1853 and 1854); and a resolution was subsequently passed, which proposed, amongst other things, to memorialize the Secretary of State for the Colonies, praying that the necessary steps may be taken to set the grant aside. (For memorial, see page 149, same Session.) To this an answer was received during the third Session of the Council, informing the memorialists that the necessary facilities would be afforded to try the validity of the grants by scire facias. (See Votea and Proceedings, page 8, Sess. III.) The Council, however, resolved that it was inexpedient, for many reasons, to try the validity of these grants in a Court of Law; and recommended, in lieu thereof, that under the circumstances it would be better that the General Assembly should be moved to pass an Act to quiet the titles to these and similar grants. (Vide report of Select Committee of the Provincial Council, c. 3-56, Sess. III., of 19th March, 1856.)

The following is an extract from a report of Messrs. Domett, Poynter, and Brunner, Commissioners of Native Reserves, made in compliance with an order of the House of Representatives, of 13th April, 1858, in reference to the portion of the Trust Estates situated at Motueka:—

"With regard to the sections retained by the Trust, and to be let to Europeans, a great number, as you are aware, were granted by Sir George Grey to the Bishop of New Zealand as an endowment for a school for the Natives of the Polynesian Islands. A special Committee of the Nelson Provincial Council, as you may remember, expressed their disapprobation of these grants, but thought they should be declared valid by some competent authority, in order to avert the disturbance of titles and interests involved. The question is simply whether the grant was a breach of the equitable trusts upon which the lands were originally reserved, owing to the extension of the educational trusts to the Natives of Polynesia. But were the grants upset on this ground in the Supreme Court, it is probable the Bishop, on behalf of the Natives in the district professing to belong to the Church of England, might still ask for (though he could not demand) a certain proportion of the funds arising from the lands, to be expended in their education or religious tuition. Whether it would be worth while for the sake of the difference between what his Lordship now receives from these lands, and what he would then probably receive, to commence a suit in the Supreme Court to get the grants annulled, is a question the General Government is perhaps in as good a position to decide as ourselves."

For copies of grants to the Bishop of New Zealand, vide Votes and Proceedings of Provincial Council, Session XIX. Correspondence, &c., page 15. It will have to be borne in mind that the page 302whole of the land comprised in these grants to the Bishop is not entirely Native re[gap — reason: damage]erves. Subjoined is a schedule showing the several portions appropriated out of the Estate:—

No. of Section. Area in Acres. Where situate. Block or Section granted. No. of Acres appropriated out of each Section. Total Appropriation.
A. R. P. A. R. P.
6 50 Motueka 6 50 0 0 50 0 0
22 50 " 22 50 0 0 50 0 0
137 50 " I 100 0 0 100 0 0
138 50 " I 100 0 0 100 0 0
145 50 " M 29 0 32 29 0 32
146 50 " M 29 0 32 29 0 32
147 50 " M 29 0 32 29 0 32
157 50 " I 4 2 29 11 2 29
159 50 " K 7 0 0 11 2 29
160 50 " F 102 0 0 102 0 0
161 50 " F 102 0 0 102 0 0
162 50 " H 41 0 0 41 0 0
163 50 " H 41 0 0 41 0 0
164 50 " L 34 0 24 34 0 24
181 50 " L 34 0 24 34 0 24
218 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
219 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
220 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
221 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
222 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
223 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
240 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
241 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
242 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
243 50 " 500 0 0 500 0 0
Total area appropriated 918 0 5 918 0 5

The Ngatitama Natives, prior to the grant to the Bishop of New Zealand, resided on a portion of the block, and considerable dissatisfaction was manifested by them at being compelled to remove in consequence.

Provision was afterwards made for these Natives by allotting them land in another part of the Estate. The only Native who has any claim now to consideration, is a woman named Ramari, who was absent (in the Asylum at Nelson) when the others were provided for. It was proposed to have allotted her [gap — reason: damage] portion of Section 9, at Takaka, received from Mr. Thorpe in exchange for land belonging to the Trust at Motueka; but, owing to the jealous and domineering conduct evinced towards her by some of the local Natives, she could not be prevailed on to locate herself amongst them. The intention is now to allot her a small piece of land at Motueka, as soon as circumstances will permit, whereon to reside; and when Section 9 is sub-divided, to reserve a share for her out of it, where she can remove to in course of time, when the present feeling amongst the local Natives dies out.

Notwithstanding the award made by Mr. Commissioner Spain of certain sections of the Trust Estate to the Natives, it has never been considered that the Natives had more than a life interest in the land, and it is thought Mr. Spain exceeded his authority in making this award, and his action in the matter is looked on as a contravention of the original scheme.

Looking also at this arrangement in a pecuniary point of view, it is greatly to be regretted that the interest of the Trust was not better considered, by taking the precaution in the first place to have provided land for the Natives elsewhere, instead of allowing them to settle on some of the richest land belonging to the Estate, whereby the Trust is deprived of a considerable addition to its revenue annually, as a large proportion of the land so occupied would let readily at from 20s. to £2 per acre. Or, if it had been found impossible to have removed the Natives then in occupation, to have selected an equivalent in land elsewhere, in place of the quantity appropriated to their use.

The portion of the Estate the Natives have been allowed to retain possession of was sub-divided and apportioned by the former Trustees; but owing to the peculiar shape of many of these blocks, it was thought advisable to re-survey the whole of the land taking care to award the same number of acres to each family as were formerly allowed them. In some instances there were allottees who had more land than they absolutely required for cultivation, and as they were desirious in most cases to let the surplus to the European settlers, it was thought advisable—as it had always been considered that they were entitled to receive any pecuniary benefit derivable from the land allotted to them—to allow them to do so, through the Commissioner, as it enabled them to do regularly and legally that which it was found difficult to prevent them doing in an irregular and objectionable manner. 140 acres have been let in this way, from which they derive an income of £180.

The Native population of Motueka, by a census taken during the early part of last year, numbered 96, viz., 45 adult males, 31 adult females, 11 male children, 9 female children—total, 96.

If the Natives residing along the shores of Blind Bay and Golden Bay [gap — reason: damage] could be induced to send their children to one central school,—say at Motueka, for instance; although I am inclined to think

Note—153 acres is the total of Crown land included in the grant to the Bishop.

page 303that a school established at Nelson for the purpose would prove more successful, as it would do away in a great measure, with the feelings that exist amongst the Natives in the other districts against sending their children to the school at Motueka, owing to local jealousies, the Natives there being under the impression that they alone are entitled to any benefit derivable from the school,—there are a sufficient number of children of school age to form a very good central school. The number of children of all ages residing in the aforesaid localities, including also Motueka, is 97, viz.:—Wakapuaka, 18; Motueka, 20; Motupipi, 20; Takaka, 9; Pariwhakaho, 12; Tukurua, 8; Collingwood, 10;—total, 97. Besides the children enumerated above, there are at the Pelorus, 11; Queen Charlotte's Sound, 44; Wairau, 11; D'Urville's Island, 18—total, 84; some of whom might be induced to attend a school of the kind, although, strictly speaking, the Natives in those localities are not entitled to participate in the benefits accruing from the Endowment Fund; but admission might be obtained for the children on the payment of a fee by their parents, and a capitation allowance under "The Native Schools Act, 1867."

The greatest obstacle to the success of Native schools, I am afraid, will be found in the apathy and indifference of parents to the importance of sending their children to school. The children may be willing enough to attend, but the parents like to have them near themselves. Unfortunately the Natives have only an animal love for their offspring, and cannot be convinced of the advantage of a temporary separation, even although it might be conducive to the ultimate advancement of their children.

The industrial school at Motueka was closed about the middle of March, 1864, owing to the whole of the scholars having decamped; and as there seemed to be no inclination on the part of the children to return, or any intention on the part of the parents to compel their attendance, Bishop Hobhouse decided not to re-open the school until the Natives showed an inclination to appreciate the same. As no action was taken on either side, the school remained closed until after Bishop Suter's arrival, when Mr. Ronaldson, the present teacher, was appointed to take charge in May, 1868.

The closing of the school was duly reported to the Government in November, 1864.

Alexander Mackay,
Native Commissioner.

3rd January, 1870.