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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1877.

Report on Petition of Tapa te Whata and Others (No. 2)

Report on Petition of Tapa te Whata and Others (No. 2).

The petitioners allege that in August, 1868, they received copies of Gazettes, in which it was notified that a sitting of the Native Land Court would be held in the Waikato District on the 3rd November, and also in Rangitikei on the 4th of the same mouth. That, not being able to be present at both, they consulted the Government as to which they should attend, and were advised to attend the sitting to be held at Rangitikei, on the assurance that the Waikato sitting would be adjourned. But the petitioners allege that the Court was not adjourned according to the promise made by the Government, and that the application for a rehearing was made too late. The petitioners therefore pray for an opportunity of proving their claims.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That it is clear that the petitioners did not attend the Court held at Cambridge in consequence of a request from the Government that they should remain at the Rangitikei Court, a distinct assurance that the claims before the Cambridge Court to blocks of land in which they were concerned would be adjourned, being made by the Government at the same time.

That the Committee are of opinion that the petition discloses a real grievance arising out of circumstances which do not attach any blame to petitioners.

That the Committee is not in a position to say whether or not the petitioners have any real claim to the lands which were dealt with, as they allege, to their prejudice at the Court at Cambridge.

That it appears that most of the land claimed by the petitioners has been alienated to Europeans by the persons in whose favour the judgment of the Cambridge Court was given, and therefore it will be impossible to reinstate them in possession. But the Committee would recommend such legislation this session as will enable the Native Land Court, or other competent tribunal, to determine whether the petitioners did own any portions of the lands referred to, and, if so, to what extent, and that it should be left to the Government to determine in what way any claims which they may be found to have had shall be satisfied.

John Bryce,

17th August, 1877.