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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1877.

Report on Petitions of Renata Kawepo and 790 Others, and Piripi Ropata and 200 Others

Report on Petitions of Renata Kawepo and 790 Others, and Piripi Ropata and 200 Others.

These petitions are signed by 791 Natives and 201 Natives respectively, and appear to express the views of a large meeting of Natives held last year, and also the substance of resolutions arrived at by a meeting held more recently. The petitioners express an opinion that it is desirable that meetings of Native chiefs should frequently be held to discuss matters affecting the Native race, and think that the number of Native representatives in the General Assembly should be greatly increased. They complain of confusion in the existing Native Lands Act, as well as in the operations conducted under it, and pray for its repeal. In asking that a better Act be passed, they state their belief that the Judges should have the same status as in other Courts, and be free from the control of the Government.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That the various interesting matters referred to in these petitions are deserving of the careful consideration of the House; but the Committee do not deem it necessary to make specific recommendations in relation to the numerous political opinions expressed by the petitioners.

That inasmuch as the petitions threw great light upon the opinion of the Natives as to the shape which should be given to legislation upon Native lands, the Committee would recommend that the petitions be printed.

In recommending that the petitions be printed, the Committee desire to express its disapproval of the insertion therein of that portion of it which reflects upon the character of a member of this House, and hope that in future Maoris petitioning the Legislature will refrain from making such reflections.

John Bryce,

7th August, 1877.