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Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z.



Robert Noble Jones (born in Belfast in 1864) was an infant when his parents migrated to Thames. In his youth they moved to Gisborne, where he was admitted as a solicitor in 1890 and as a barrister in 1899. He was appointed a Judge of the Native Land Court in July, 1903; also president of the Tairawhiti Land Board in January, 1913; Chief Judge of the Native Land Court in August, 1919; assumed the additional office of Under-Secretary of the Native Department from January, 1922, till November, 1933; and was also, for a time, Native Trustee and East Coast Commissioner, vacating those offices in March, 1934, but retaining the office of Chief Judge until his retirement in 1939. When he was transferred from Gisborne to Wellington in 1917, Sir A. T. Ngata said at a farewell function: “Part 18 of the Native Land Act, 1909, is Judge Jones's work, and, when the history of the East Coast Maoris—or of the Maoris of the whole of New Zealand—comes to be written, that legislation will be pointed to as saving the remnant of a small people from oblivion.” In 1928 Mr. Jones was awarded the O.B.E. He died on 29 June, 1942.

In uniform, and adorned with a variety of trappings, Tuta Nihoniho made a picturesque figure. He was a son of a Ngati-Porou loyalist who was killed in the East Coast War (1865). Tuta fought at Waerenga-a-Hika and took part in expeditions to the Urewera Country in search of Te Kooti. He received from Queen Victoria a Sword of Honour, together with an enlarged photograph of Her Majesty, and was a member of the Maori contingent which attended the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London in 1897. During the Boer War he sent a piece of greenstone to Earl Roberts to mark his personal appreciation of the field-marshal's great services to the Empire. His offer to raise a force of 1,000 Maoris to serve in South Africa was declined.