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Middle Island Native Land Question (Report on.), By Mr. Commissioner Mackay

[Letter to Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois]

To His Excellency Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, Lieutenant-General in Her Majesty's Army, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over Her Majesty's Colony of New Zealand and its Dependencies, and Vice-Admiral of the same.

May it please your Excellency,—

Under the Commission issued by your Excellency, dated the 12th day of May, 1886, and the additional powers conferred under the second Commission, dated the 20th July, 1886, the following duties devolved on me, viz.:—

To inquire into and report on the allegations made by and on behalf of certain Natives residing in the Middle Island of New Zealand that the reserves and awards of land formerly made for their use and occupation are inadequate for their maintenance and support, and also to inquire whether any half-castes are still unprovided with land, as well as to ascertain whether the Natives interested in the inquiry held by the Commission appointed in the year 1879 to investigate and inquire whether certain matters pertaining to the purchases of land in the Middle Island enumerated in the afore said Commission, viz.,—(1) The Otakou Block; (2) the Ngaitahu or Kemp's Block; (3) the Murihiku Block; (4) the Akaroa Block—are willing or desirous of accepting a grant of land in final settlement of any claims or demands on the Government for the non-fulfilment of any of the terms or conditions of the deeds of purchase, or of any promises made in connection therewith, and to-recommend the quantity and locality of the land to be set apart.

It is proposed to confine the first portion of the report to the questions arising out of the sale of the Ngaitahu or Kemp's Block and the Murihiku Block, as the most important particulars concerning the non-fulfillment of the conditions relative to the acquisition of the territory comprised therein are associated with these purchases.

In order to bring the main circumstances in connection with these purchases before you, it will be necessary to furnish your Excellency with a brief history of the manner in which the lands were acquired, and I propose to do this by a simple narrative of facts, with a view to establish beyond dispute that the Natives concerned therein are entitled to be liberally dealt with for the non-fulfilment of the conditions of sale, and the promises held out to induce them to part with their lands for a small cash payment. In pursuance with the intention, I propose to deal with these purchases in chronological order, and will commence with Kemp's Purchase, it being first in point of time.