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



Riparata Kahutia and Hapi Kiniha are the claimants to this block, which contains 370 acres. Evidence was given by Hapi Kiniha at a former sitting of this Court, which has been read over and acknowledged by him to be correct, and to which he stated he had little or nothing to add. The evidence of Riparata, which was taken at length in the Wai-o-Hiharore case, equally applied to this, and it was agreed that that evidence should be adopted by the Court.

This claim is opposed by a section of the Rongowhakaata tribe called Ngatimaru, who base their claim on ancestry and occupation. Hoani Ruru conducted the claim of this sub-tribe.

Hirini Haereone, Paora Matuakore, and Wi Pere prefer claims to a portion shown on the map produced in Court by Paora.

Pimia Aata and Tamati and their party also claim through ancestry and occupation, and Tamati has pointed out on the ground one or two places which have been occupied by him for the purpose of fishing, on the Awapuni Lake.

With regard to the claim set up by Ngatimaru to this block, it has been proved to the entire satisfaction of the Court that these people have occupied land adjacent thereto, and if at any time heretofore they may have encroached on the fishing ground (which was then the only occupation that is attempted to be proved), they were driven off generations ago by the forefathers of the present claimants, and have never attempted to occupy since. This claim of Ngatimaru is considered extinguished; it has long ago become "cold (mataotao), and is dismissed accordingly.

The portion of this block claimed by Hirini Haereone, through his mother, Harata, who gave this land over to Paratene some years ago, by whom it was ceded to Mr. Donald McLean with other land as a peace offering for the offence of the Hauhaus, has been returned to the natives by the Native Minister during his late visit to Poverty Bay. Riparata having in her evidence admitted Hirini Haereone as "te tangata o te whenua," while he took no exception to Paora Matuakore as the owner of the land, Paora and their party are admitted as owners of this block. The other portion of the Awapuni block contiguous to Wai-o-Hiharore is admitted to be the property of Riparata, Hapi Kiniha, and their co-claimants, together with Pimia Aata and Tamati, and those who claim with them.

page 147

The decision of the Court in the case of Wai-o-Hiharore, the investigation of which has occupied so many days, is in favour of Riparata and her relatives. In expressing this view of her claim over Te Wai-o-Hiharore, regard has been had to the evidence given by Rutene, namely, that at the time Ihu came and erected eel pas on the Waikanae stream, Riparata's ancestor, Te Maanga, destroyed them. No one interfered to dispossess him, and those who came after him, to the present time. With reference to the question of tribal right over this land, and with regard to the evidence adduced on both sides as to the Wai-o-Hiharore being a fishing station used by the whole of the Itangaamahaki tribe for generations, the Court orders that ten acres of land situated at the spring on the block from whence it derives its name, and ten acres adjoining on the Awapuni block, be surveyed and set apart as an inalienable reserve for a fishing station, in the Memorial of Ownership for which the the names of Riparata, Rutene Te Eke, Wi Pere, Pimia Aata, Paora Matuakore, and all the claimants, be inserted.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Te Konotu put up a "rahui" (mark) on the Wai-o-Hiharore block, which was protected by Riparata's forefather, Te Maanga. The Native Land Court now sets up a land mark at the spring for the purpose of securing to the descendants of the present generation the privilege of coming from the interior to the beach, and of exercising the rights of their forefathers by occupying this favourite fishing ground.

The Court is of opinion that the shares in this and the Wai-o-Hiharore blocks are unequal.