Mr. G. S. Cooper, to the Hon. D. McLean.
I have the honour to inform you that I returned yesterday from Otago and Southland, where I have succeeded in placing all outstanding questions in reference to Native Reserves in train for settlement.
In Otago I could Only find one reserve which required to be surveyed to enable the Crown grant to issue. This is the Karoro Reserve at Molyneux Bay. On my representing the matter to the Superintendent, His Honor at once undertook that the reserve in question should be surveyed by the Provincial staff.
At Invercargill I found that very little had been done in the way of surveying Native Reserves, and what had been done was almost of no value.
I also learned that the Provincial Government was unable, from want of funds, to perform the necessary work. His Honor the Superintendent appeared to be impressed with the idea that the Province was not legally or morally liable, but was entitled to receive the estate from the Colony free of all incumbrances.
As the views of His Honor differed entirely from mine on this subject, and he could hold out no hope of the Province ing able to find the necessary funds for the surveys, even were Provincial page 67liability established, I proposed that the money should in the first instance be provided by the Colonial Government, the work being done under the supervision and control of the Provincial Chief Surveyor, in accordance with instructions from Major Heaphy, V.C., and all payments to be made on the certificate of the Chief Surveyor; the question of ultimate liability, as between the Colonial and Provincial Governments, to be left for after settlement.
To this proposal His Honor agreed, and, it having been ratified by telegraph by the Hon. Mr. Gisborne, I wrote to the Superintendent finally on the subject.
I have the honour to enclose copies of the correspondence.
I have, &c.,
G. S. Cooper,
The Hon. the Native Minister, Wellington.