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

Monday, January 3, 1870

Monday, January 3, 1870.

Mr. Alexander Mackay, being duly sworn, states: I am delegate of the Governor under "The Native Reserves Act, 1862." The provision for the education of Natives, made by the grant to the Bishop at Motueka, appears to be very little appreciated by them. I have frequently requested them to send their children to the school, but they make so many pretended difficulties. Sometimes they have potatoes to plant, harvest to get in, and a variety of other frivolous excuses are given. They care, in fact, very little about it. There could not be a more zealous person than Mr. Ronaldson. He does all in his power to urge them to send their children, and holds a school in two different places, to give a chance to those who live at a distance to send their children. I think the soreness on the fact of the land being taken for this purpose has subsided. I have explained to them on every occasion that they are not entitled to this land, but only have a beneficial interest in it. They complain that they had been defrauded of the land by its being granted to the Bishop. The grant has generally been considered as given specially for the benefit of the Church of England Natives. The Wesleyans, Baptists, &c., have always taken that view of it. I do not know the proportion between the whole number of Natives at Motueka and those belonging to the Church of England. I presume the reserves were set apart by the New Zealand Company for the benefit of the Natives residing on the shores of Tasman's Gulf (Blind Bay), and Golden Bay (Massacre Bay). The Natives in these localities, of all denominations, have an equal right to a share of the benefit of them, in proportion to their respective numbers. I cannot say the exact proportion of the different denominations. I think the Wesleyans were the majority at that time. I am not positive on that point. The reserves given to the Bishop comprise a very large proportion of the best land in the reserves. The actual quantity reserved was 5000 acres (100 fifty acre sections). The total grant to the Bishop out of Native reserves, is 918 acres. The extent of good land is about 700 acres. I have not been over the whole of the property held by the Bishop, but I should think 200 acres would be the extent of bad land. Mr. Greenwood, in speaking of barren hills, must have been alluding to the portion of the grant which comprises the Crown lands, not Wakarewa. I can speak particularly as to the fact that the whole of the Crown land included in the page 300grant is bad. The complaint of the Natives of the grant being made is not confined to one denomination. They all join in this. I do not see how giving the land back again would benefit them in particular, as the proceeds would belong to all the Natives in the settlement. I do not think the retention by the Collingwood Natives of their reserved lands deprives them of a right to a share in the proceeds of the Motueka lands. The Golden Bay reserves were intended for the special use and occupation of the resident Natives, and similar reserves for occupation should have been made for the Motueka Natives. It has been to the detriment of the Trust property that they have, owing to the want of such occupation reserves, been allowed to occupy the New Zealand Company's reserves. It was, however, impossible to avoid this, unless other lands had been bought for them. The Motueka Natives have in occupation about 1000 acres. They cannot justly complain of want of land to cultivate. The Bishop's Trust, and the land appropriated to the use of the Natives, comprises nearly the wholo of the best land. They actually at the present time let 140 acres out of what has been appropriated for their own use, the rental being collected by Mr. Alexander Le Grand Campbell, and paid directly to them, without coming into the Trust accounts. If I had not agreed to this renting by them, they would have done it illegally and surreptitiously. If the land had been let in the usual way, and the proceeds not paid to them, they would have had a cause of complaint, as they have been recognized as the legal occupants of the land, which they would construe as legal owners of the land. They have, however, always been allowed to take the whole of the rents accruing from rents of appropriated lands; and I would say the rents were as necessary for their maintenance as the land itself was appropriated. A section of 150 acres at Takaka was exchanged with Mr. Thorpe for three of these sections at Motueka—the latter being sandy, poor land, near the beach. I think the Trust got an equivalent by this exchange. It was proposed to give Ramari a share of the Takaka land, where she was living with her husband, whose place it was. She could not agree with the Natives there, and afterwards left the place. Ramari, I think, is the only one fairly entitled to have provision made for her. I purpose to locate her on some land on the first opportunity. I have had her case under my attention for some time. I think I can manage to put her upon some of the land other Natives wish to rent, paying them the rental out of the Native Trust Fund. The Trustees of the Bishop's land under "The Natives School Act, 1867," would be entitled to aid from the General Government, which I think they are in a position to acquire a right to. The complaints about the Bishop's grant are chiefly confined to Motueka Natives. I think the reason we hear no complaints from other Natives is owing to their ignorance of their right to any share in it. It would be a great advantage if a central boarding-school could be established at Motueka, and all the Native children from the surrounding districts sent to it. It would be necessary however to adopt a different system from the one in use, before any good result could be expected; industrial training so far as out-door pursuits are concerned would have to be abondoned, but in-door handicrafts might be be taught to advantage. On reading over Mr. Greenwood's return I wish to observe that the gross rental produced from the land held by the Bishop is considerably in excess of that received by the Trust. Our gross rental for Moutere and Motueka does not exceed £360 a year, although the land let by us amounts to 2500 acres, or nearly three times as much as that let out of the Bishop's grant—confirming my statement as to the latter comprising the best of the land. I think if the boarding-school alluded to was properly established and carried on at Motueka, Natives of other denominations than Episcopal would send their children there. There are very few known Catholic Natives in the Province. I think there are none. I cannot call to mind a single individual of this persuasion. The following paper gives a brief history of the management of the Nelson reserves, which includes that of the Motueka grant to the Bishop of New Zealand:—

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.

Mr. David Jennings, being duly sworn, states: I lave lived at Motueka 20 years. The object of my letter to the Nelson Examiner was to show that the experiment of teaching Maoris alone, as had been done, had been thoroughly, ably, and honestly tried, and had wholly failed. I attribute the failure to the absence of any attempt to bring up a few of the Maori boys in company with English boys. I am quite aware that the attempt to educate them with any of the lower class would not succeed; but I have always thought that the education of a few Maori boys with boys of a higher class, were the temptation of a higher education offered as an inducement, must to some extent succeed. I consider the Auckland College (the Bishop's) was a failure as a self-supporting institution, but I am not aware that it failed educationally. My experience is that instances have crossed my path of real elevation of character having been given to Natives through the means of that institution. I think the feelings of the Natives are very favourable towards education, but I think they are incapable of appreciating its full value, or of anything advanced beyond what they see to be absolutely useful; but I believe such power of appreciation would be the result of previous education. I never heard any complaints on their part of the manner in which the land was acquired. I consider that I am on very friendly terms with the Maoris, and have been more so with many that are now dead. I am not able to give a decided opinion as to their rapid decrease. I have no doubt they are on the decrease; but I attribute this to the want of better education. I remember an instance of a Maori lad, named Robert, who had been educated at the school. He afterwards lived with Major Richmond and other Europeans, and having apparently become highly civilized, ended by marrying and relapsing into the usual Maori habits. He took to drinking, got a complaint in the knee which required amputation, to which he would not consent, and died in consequence,—such indifference to life being a strong feature in the character of savages. I consider I have, and have had, a direct personal interest in the administration of the Wakarewa Trust, as being, in the words of the deed, a European subject of Her Majesty, and also as being the father often children. I applied to Bishop Hobhouse, in prosecution of such claim, on his first coming here, which he recognized very fully on principle. He told me, as I was the only person making such claim, in the present difficulties of the Trust, he had the opportunity of meeting my case for the time by sending a Mr. Wylie, a trained schoolmaster in his employ, to teach my children at my house three times a week. I do not think the Crown land granted tor the institution is so valueless as is generally reported. When I first recollect it, there was the remains of a considerable bush on the bottom of the hill, which had been repeatedly burnt by the firing of the fern. I was going to apply for this land, but heard it had been granted for this object. It is a magnificent site, with land good enough to live upon. There is a very productive garden at the back of the school-house. I think that, except on the steep slopes, the hill land in question is covered with strong fern, which, I think, in its natural state, is more valuable than that which has been rendered excessively foul by bad cultivation, like the lower cultivations on the south-west corner of the Trust land. I have myself excellent grass on land originally fern land which has never been touched by a plough, and also land which has been ploughed at least six times, and cultivated with a cultivator, but is now wholly covered with sorrel, the oats and tares sown upon it having been largely intermixed with the sorrel seed. With respect to the appropriation of the Trust Funds, I never contemplated the application of these, because remuneration for clerical duty would come under the terms of a trust for educational purposes. I consider the arrangement made for paying Mr. Ronaldson as such an appropriation. I object to his going to Takaka and Wakapuaka only as an impediment to his carrying out in a proper manner the education of the children of Her Majesty's subjects of both races. I think the funds as soon as they amounted to what they now yield should have been sufficient to carry on a school which would embrace a small number of Maoris, together page 304with a few Europeans—the Maoris being boarders and the Europeans day scholars, as the first would not have attended unless they were boarded. I think the latter would have come from any distance under three miles. I think that if a few Maori boys even had been well educated in this way, they would have had greater influence with their own class then any Europeans could have had. This is found to be the case in every other circumstance in which we come into contact with a savage rac[gap — reason: damage]. During the latter part of Bishop Hobhouse's time, the house was only made use of as a residence for Mr. John Greenwood, who I believe read Maori service on Sunday.

Mr. Mackay, re-examined: The school was closed from March, 1864, to May, 1868, the date when Mr. Ronaldson took charge.

Mr. Jennings, re-examined: I think it is a question whether the title of the Bishop of Nelson as Trustee under the grant is indisputable, inasmuch as Bishop [gap — reason: damage]elwyn had surrendered his patent—an act which Bishop Suter deprecated. I am afraid this is a difficulty it will require the aid of the Legislature to correct. The "successors" of the Bishop named in the grant were his successors under the patent of the Crown. I apprehend there are no such successors at present.

Mr. Thomas Brunner, having been duly sworn, states: With reference to the Motueka lands held by the Bishop of New Zealand, as far as I remember, I was called into the office of the then Commissioner of Crown lands, and instructed to bring in what plans I had, together with the rent-roll of the Native Trust property at Motueka; first, to point out what I considered an eligible site for a Native school, and then, what land should be given to yield a rental of £100 a year. I was obliged to select almost all, if not quite all, the lands that were then let, which of course was the best of these lands. I suggested the addition of the piece of Crown land on the hill at the back of the Wakarewa Estate, to provide a sort of run for sheep and cattle. I was not a Commissioner of Native Reserves at that time. I consider that the Native reserves at Motueka were made for the benefit of the whole of the Natives in Blind Bay. Mr. Stephens, the surveyor of the New Zealand Company, when he first laid out the Motueka sections, found there was a long strip of Native cultivation along the border of the wood from Waiponamu to Wakarewa. Instead of leaving this in possession of the Maoris in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi, he included these cultivations in his surveyed sections, so that they were afterwards chosen as Native reserves, whereas they should have been altogether excluded, and the reserves chosen in addition for the benefit of the Natives. He did increase the particular sections which comprised the cultivations of the Natives, so as to make them include fifty acres besides the part cultivated. But the result was that Mr. Thompson, the Resident Magistrate, was obliged in order to keep the cultivations of the Natives, to select these sections as Native reserves, under the New Zealand Company's arrangement, which created a confusion in administering the trust, because the Commissioners found themselves obliged to treat the New Zealand Company's reserves as land originally belonging to and always retained by the Natives themselves. With respect to the lands given as an endowment for the school, and what the Natives say they have not been paid for, the grant to the Bishop excludes the greater portion of the lands that were Native cultivations. The reserves belonged to the whole of the Natives concerned with the Nelson settlement, as they represented the tenths of lands in other districts. The property given to the Church of England, if given solely for religious purposes, is in my opinion far too large and valuable, taking the numbers of the different sects as the basis. I have always opposed the grant made to the Bishop, because I believed it injurious to the Natives, and also because I believed Motueka was not the proper site for the school. Being in the centre of the Natives, too much jealousy was caused by the feeling that others shared the rents or use of properties belonging to the Motueka Natives only. Having always had a desire to see a school properly tried, I have advised a school in Nelson to be under English masters only, and by following this plain some few children might be taught annually.