No. 79 of 1883.—Petition of Piripi Whatuaio.
Petitioner complains that the Land Court awarded Waotu No. 2 (otherwise called Waotu South) to the Ngatihurikapu, though it belonged to himself and tribe (the Ngatingarongo). He asks for a rehearing.
I am directed to report as follows:—
That application for a rehearing should be made to the Chief Judge of the Native Land Court, in whom the law vests the right to decide. Disappointed claimants seem to think that they can bring parliamentary influence to bear upon the Chief Judge by petitioning the House, and getting their case stated to this Committee; and the sooner this erroneous impression is removed the better for all parties concerned. The Native Affairs Committee cannot sit as an extra judicial Court of Appeal to investigate title to Native land. Even were its members chosen as specially fitted for this work, it is evident that the time at its disposal would be quite insufficient for the magnitude of the task. Indeed a single case might not be got through during a session.
The Committee has had some interesting evidence placed before it relating to the working of the Native Land Court, and the evils attending the present system of dealing in Maori land. It recommends that the evidence be printed.
The Committee is of opinion that the practice of previous Judges of the Native Land Court, in giving their judgments with their reasons at length, so that all might see that they were in accordance with law and justice, was a very proper one; and the Committee regrets that they cannot express an opinion as to whether the allegations in the petition are correct or not, as the Judges of the Land Court have given no reasons whatever why they decided against the petitioner, thus affording the Committee no data to go on.
That, in view of probable legislation on questions of this kind, the Government be recommended to consider this matter, and see if it can be brought under the class of cases under their consideration.
[Note,— For Minutes of Evidence vide I.–2a.]