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Reports of the Native Affairs Committee, 1888.

No. 253, Sess. II., 1887.—Petition of Arthur Owen

No. 253, Sess. II., 1887.—Petition of Arthur Owen.

Petitioner, who was in treaty with certain Native for the lease of a block of land on the north bank of the River Mokau, makes serious charges against two Judges of the Native Land Court and other, alleging that they have used illegal means to prevent him acquiring the said land. He prays that no action may be taken by the Government until a full inquiry has been made, and justice done.

I am directed to report as follow: That the Committee, having taken evidence on the petition of Arthur Owen, have arrived at the conclusion that the petitioner has failed to sustain his case, and that Stockman's agreement, on which the cliam is founded, has no validity; that the signature of Mere Kura, alleged to be a forgery, is genuine, and was affixed to the document before the hearing of the case by the Chief Judge of the Native Land Court; that the charges of corruption preferred against the Chief Judge and officers of the Native Land Court are not substantiated, and are without foundation; that there is grave doubt as to the validity of the certificates issued under sections 24 and 25 of the Native Land Administration Act; but that the Chief Judge, in issuing such certificates, acted in good faith. The Committee has no recommendation to make. [For evidence, &c., vide I.-3a.]

1st August, 1888