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

Enclosure No. 1 in No. 9. — Copy of Memorandum by Mr. James Mackay, Junr

page 50

Enclosure No. 1 in No. 9.
Copy of Memorandum by Mr. James Mackay, Junr.

Auckland, June 8, 1866.

The question of the reserve at Arahura or Brunner River, was the great stumbling block in completing the purchase of the West Coast district. Natives wished for a reserve which would have contained about 8000 acres. I objected to this, but agreed that they could have 2000 acres and the whole of the river bed, and entered into a verbal agreement that they should be allowed to purchase at 10s. peracre, any land lying between the eastern extremity of the 2000 acres and Mount Tuhua.

In my report of the 21st September, 1861, it is thus alluded to:—

"It was specially stipulated that a very large reserve should be made at the River Arahura or Brunner, and that this reserve should be taken in a strip up each side of the river, with a view to giving them a right to its bed, from which is obtained the highly prized Pounamu, or greenstone, which gives the name of Wahi Pounamu (place of greenstone) to the middle Island."

On the map furnished to the Natives on 21st May, 1860. the following memorandum was made:—

"If the land indicated on this map does not extend to the mountain (Mount Tuhua) it had better be surveyed to there, as the Natives are allowed to purchase it."

The maps furnished are merely sketches; where practicable, one or more boundaries of each reserve were roughly measured. In the case of the Arahura reserve the beach frontage alone was marked off, but even this was in excess of my instructions which were:—

"All these reserves shall be defined with as much precision as may be found practicable without actual survey and cutting the lines on the ground."

I have previously, in transmitting a copy of the sketch plan of the Arahura reserve, informed the Provincial Government of Canterbury, that no accurate survey had been made, and that certain marks had been made showing the boundaries of some of the reserves, and that, if, on actual survey, the land so defined was found to be either in excess of, or less than the approximate area given by me, if possible, the first arrangement should be adhered to.

I think, as a vast territory was acquired by the Government for a very small sum of money, and it has since become very valuable, and the reserves, though much enhanced in value, are very small in comparison with the whole block ceded, that the Provincial Government would be justified in giving to the Natives the land at Arahura which forms the subject of Mr. Bealey's letter.

James Mackay, Junr.