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Report of the Native Affairs Committee, 1883.

No. 178.—Petition of Rapata Taita and 151 Others

No. 178.—Petition of Rapata Taita and 151 Others.

Petitioners state that they have been declared by the Native Land Court owners of large tracts of land in Poverty Bay; that in 1878, and since, they, with other Native owners, conveyed their land to trustees to be dealt with for their benefit; that, though the trustees had received over £50,000 on account of these lands, the petitioners had received nothing, and the trustees refuse to account for the money; that the trustees also conveyed to the New Zealand Native Land Company (Limited) large estates belonging to the trust, nominally for the benefit of the owners, and induced some of the Native owners to commit perjury before a Trust Commissioner and Judges of the Native Land Court in order to obtain certificates to the deeds under the Native Lands Frauds Prevention Act; that the said company, whilst paying large dividends to its shareholders, has given to the petitioners nothing but promises; that the said trustees and company have acquired lands to the value of £500,000 without consideration, and have sold or mortgaged them to shareholders of the company and other individuals; that petitioners have heard that several members of Parliament have been induced to take shares in the company; and that a Bill is now under consideration in Parliament for extending the powers of the company. They pray that, before the above-named Bill passes, a Royal Commission should be appointed to examine into the whole case; and, further, that no Bill dealing with Native lands should be permitted to be introduced by any private member.

I am directed to report as follows:—

That this is a case that only a law Court can decide with a due regard to the interests of all parties concerned. Considering that the Bill referred to in the petition has been withdrawn, the Committee has no recommendation to make.

7th August, 1883.