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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1882.

No. 52 of 1882.—Petition of H. K. Taiaroa and Ihaia Tainui

page 33

No. 52 of 1882.—Petition of H. K. Taiaroa and Ihaia Tainui.

Petitioners state that they are chiefs of Ngaitapu and Ngatimamoe; that previous to the establishment of the colony the great bulk of the land in the South Island belonged to these two tribes; that when selling the land to the colonists petitioners stipulated for ample reserves, and for the erection of hospitals and schools; that in regard to some of the sales they were given to understand that one acre in ten should be reserved; that these promises have never been fulfilled; that for years past this grievance has been brought before Parliament, and that it has always been acknowledged that there are unfulfilled promises; that in 1879 a Commission was appointed to inquire into the extent of the alleged unfulfilled promises; that the Commissioners sat and did much important work, but before it could be completed the Commission was dissolved; that, notwithstanding the premature termination of its labours, the Commission made a report establishing the important points of the petitioners' case; that petitioners have spent thousands of pounds and much time in seeking for redress; and that they consider it is incumbent upon Parliament to fulfil the conditions upon which the land was surrendered. Petitioners pray that effect may be given to the report of the Middle Island Native Land Purchase Commission.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That the substance of the petition may be summed up under three heads—namely (1.) That when the Middle Island purchases were made there was an engagement that, in addition to the cash payments for the land, ample reserves should be made for the Natives to reside upon; (2.) That in regard to" Kemp's purchase" and the" Otago Block" it was arranged that an acre in ten should be set apart for the benefit of the Maoris; (3.) That schools and hospitals were to have been provided for the use of the Natives within the districts named above.

1.In regard to the first allegation, it is in evidence that the reserves made at a sitting of the Native Land Court, held at Christchurch on 7th May, 1868, were given in final settlement of all claims under this head. The Committee would further refer to" The Ngaitahu Reference Validation Act, 1868," in confirmation of this position.
2.There is no evidence to show that the claim for what are called the" tenths" was thought of until within the last few years. The purchase deeds contain no mention of them. Mr. Commissioner Mackay, who for many years has been conversant with Maori affairs in the Middle Island, says that he had heard nothing of the claim amongst the Natives themselves until recently.
3.Schools and medical attendance have been supplied since 1868 fully, and since 1865 partially, wherever and whenever required; but there are two cases in which the Natives have refused schools, lest accepting them should interfere with claims upon the colony. These places are Aorarowhenua and Moeraki. Prior to 1868, however, there was not that attention to this matter that there ought to have been, and it may be fairly considered how far the colony is liable to pay the Natives of the present day the arrears due to a past generation. The Committee thinks that it would be comparatively easy for the Government to ascertain how much the due carrying out of these engagements, prior to 1868, would have cost the country, and recommends that this should be done. This having been ascertained, the value ought to be given to the Natives in inalienable reserves in such a manner as would insure the poorer people against want in old age and sickness.

Legislation will no doubt be required to carry out the recommendation contained in the foregoing paragraph; but, in view of arriving at a permanent and equitables ettlement, the Committee considers that some trouble should be taken, and the needful sacrifice made. The Committee recommends this report to the earnest attention of the Government.

25th August, 1882.