No. 254.—Petition of Te Winiata Te Puhaki and Others.
Petitioners pray that a rehearing may be granted by the Native Land Court for a block of land known as Te Kapua situated in the Wanganui District, on the ground that the verdict of the Judges was against the evidence; also that the Assessor was an interested party, and that the Interpreter did not perform his work in a proper manner, and that the proceedings were irregular.
I am directed to report as follows: That, after a careful investigation extending over four days, the Committee agrees to the following report: The various allegations of the petitioners are answered as follows: (1.) Though the Assessor was related by marriage to one of the claimants, it is admitted by the petitioners that he had no interest in the matter before the Court. (2.) The judgment was the unanimous decision of the Court (consisting of two Judges as well as an Assessor), and was arrived at by each member of it from his own point of view. (3.) The Judges are perfectly acquainted with the Maori language, and able to detect any tampering with the evidence by the Interpreter. Judge Mair informed the Committee that there was no attempt to misinterpret. The petitioners themselves withdrew their charge that the Interpreter had "received a promissory note for a large amount on account of services in connection with the same case." (4.) The case seems to have been heard with care, and occupied forty-two sittings. (5.) The Chief Judge, in refusing a rehearing, acted in the usual manner, and seems to have bestowed considerable attention to the case.