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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1882.

No. 299 of 1882.—Petition of G. A. Douglas

No. 299 of 1882.—Petition of G. A. Douglas.

Petitioner states that on the 14th July, 1868, a Crown grant for 1,090 acres, part of the Island of Motiti, was issued to Hori Tupaea" upon trust for himself and the other members of the tribe called Whanau-a-Tauwhao." In the same year Hori Tupaea leased the land to the petitioner for twenty-one years at a yearly rental of £70. About the year 1874 the petitioner began negotiations for purchasing, and agreed to give £1 per acre, which seems to have been fair value. It was then that the legal difficulty cropped up. Mr. Douglas's lawyer told him that Hori Tupaea could not convey. This was confirmed in a case being put before an eminent Auckland lawyer. Negotiations were then opened with Government to get the restrictions taken off. In January, 1878, Mr. Sheehau, then Native Minister, ordered a letter to be sent to Mr. Douglas, pointing out the fact that the land was held in trust and the freehold could not be disposed of, and no Trust Commissioner could pass such a deed of sale. Notwithstanding this warning, Mr. Douglas, according to his own testimony, has gone on paying money on account until the advances amount to £553. He says he did this because he still thought that, either by an Order in Council or legislation, the restrictions would be taken off.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That the question involved is one of a very serious nature, inasmuch as there are many cases in existence similar to that of the petitioner. The Committee is satisfied the difficulty is one which can only be met by special legislation, and it cannot recommend any legislation which will not deal with the whole subject.

7th August, 1882.