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Important Judgments: Delivered in the Compensation Court and Native Land Court. 1866–1879.

Native Land Court. [Kukutauaki]

page 134

Native Land Court. [Kukutauaki]

Manawatu, 4th March, 1873.

John Rogan,, Esq., Judge; T. H. Smith, Esq., judge; Hemi Tautari, Assessor.


This is a claim of Akapita Te Tewe and others, representing certain portions of the Ngatiraukawa tribe, to a block of land lying between Manawatu river on the North and the Kukutauaki stream on the South, on the West coast of the Province of Wellington, and extending inland from the sea coast to the watershed of the Tararua range of mountains.

These boundaries include lands the titles to which have been investigated and decided by this Court, which lands are therefore excepted from the present inquiry.

The claimants apply to the Court to order certificates of title in favor of individuals and of sections of the Ngatiraukawa tribe, asserting an exclusive ownership, founded on conquest and on continuous occupation from a period anterior to the Treaty of Waitangi.

The claim is opposed by Te Kepa Rangihiwinui and others, representing five tribes—Muaupoko, Rangitane, Ngatiapa, Whanganui and Ngati Kahungunu, who contend that Ngatiraukawa had acquired no rights of ownership over the said block, and that the land belongs to them as inherited from their ancestors and as still retained in their own possession.

The claimants and counter claimants, with their witnesses, have been heard by the Court on the general tribal question, and

The Court finds: That sections of the Ngatiraukawa tribe have acquired rights over the said block, which, according to Maori custom and usage, constitute them owners thereof (with certain exceptions) together with Ngatitoa and Ngatiawa, whose joint interest therein is admitted by the claimants.

That such rights were not acquired by conquest, but by occupation, with the acquiescence of the original owners.

That such rights had been completely established in the year 1840, at which date sections of Ngatiraukawa were in undisputed possession of the said block of land, excepting only two portions thereof, viz.:

1.A portion of the block, the boundaries whereof are not yet defined, situate at Horowhenua, claimed by the Muaupoko tribe, of which they appear to have retained possession from the time of their ancestors, and which they continue to occupy.page 135
2.A portion of the block at Tuwhakatupua, on the Manawatu river (boundary not defined), claimed by a section of the Rangitane tribe, whose interest therein is admitted by the claimants;and

The Court finds: That the Ngatiapa, Whanganui and Ngatikahungunu tribes have no separate tribal rights as owners of any portion ot the said block, nor any interest therein beyond such as may arise from connection with the Muaupoko resident at Horowhenua.

That the Rangitane, as a tribe, have no rights as owners of any portion of the said block, nor any interest therein beyond such as may arise from connection with Muaupoko resident at Horowhenua, or with that section of Rangitane whose claims at Tuwhakatupua are admitted by the claimants.