Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

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

Ngatiteata and Ngatitamaoho

Ngatiteata and Ngatitamaoho.

The evidence differs as to whether Ngatiteata or Ngatitamaoho were living on this land before the time of Governor Hobson. I think it is most likely that they were living here, that is, that numbers of the tribe came and resided here, fishing and assisting at the cultivations, and returning to their own "kaingas" after periods of varying length. And I think that this practice had been continued nearly up to the time when the greater part of these tribes went into rebellion. We find that during the interval between 1840 and 1850 they came several times in parties, and on the occasion of the battles of Taurangaruru and Ihumatao the whole tribes settled at Okahu for a short time. The Court places no value on these acts of occupation. It, is an ordinary custom for persons who have, or pretend to have, no, claim whatever to the land itself, to come and reside upon estates of other tribes, when on terms of amity with the owner, especially when they are connected by intermarriages of the present day or by ancestry. The modern intermarriages between Apihai's people and members of the Ngatiteata tribe are proved to have been numerous, and the ancestral relationship is admitted, and is very clearly set forth in the pedigrees. This principle has been recognised by the. Court on many occasions in all parts of New Zealand, and we do not intend to set up a new rule. An understanding was clearly arrived at by previous generations that each of the tribes around Manukau, which were formed from the intermixture of intruding tribes with the original occupiers of the soil, should possess and occupy certain fixed, and more or less well-defined, portions of the country; and it would entirely frustrate the object for which this Court was established, if we were to ignore these territorial arrangements, and throw the ownership of land into a state of confusion greater than that in which we found it. Occupation in modern times of land to which the title of others is admitted by such occupiers, can confer no title on them, unless the occupation is founded on some previous "take," of which page 82the occupation can be regarded as a consequence, and partly as a proof. And this original "take," must be one which the Court can recognise, and which would be consistent with ordinary rules governing and defining Maori custom. Mr. Hesketh sets up as such "take," or ground of title, the ancestral relationship of Hori Tauroa and his other clients of their two tribes, to Apihai and other members of Te Taou, Ngaoho, and Te Uringutu. Te Atairehia was the grand-daughter of Hua, the great ancestor of Te Waiohua. She married the great Waikato chief Tapaue, the ancester of Te Wherowhero; and from the different offspring of this union there have resulted in the present day—Apihai, after a descent of four generations; Hori Tauroa, five generations; Aihepene Kaihau, five generations; and Matene Raketonga, six generations. Now, all these persons, in their several generations, except Apihai's ancestors, lived with and formed members of other tribes, into which they intermarried, and to some of which they have given their names (ex. gr. Ngatiteata), and their descendants now have their lands in the estates of those tribes. If their present representatives are allowed again to return and claim a share in the lands which their ancestors left, there will be no such thing as even a tribal right in any part of New Zealand. The whole of the tribes are related by blood in a more or less remote degree; and, if any such principle as that advocated by Mr. Hesketh were sanctioned, New Zealand would become one vast inheritance, of which all the Maories in the island would be the joint owners. And this great principle of ancient and gradual separation of tribes and tribal estates was very strikingly recognised by many of the witnesses. Hapimana Taiawhio is a much more direct and true representative of the ancient owners of the soil than any of Mr. Hesketh's clients except Maki, and he said he had no claim, although he has lived on this place, and followed Apihai's fortunes during nearly the whole of a long life. Another old chief, Te Keene Tangaroa, is similarly very pure blood of the old owners, and has lived here permanently all his life, but asserts no claim, and says that Ihaka Takaanini would have had none had he been alive; yet his mother was the greatgranddaughter of Papaka, who is the ancestor on whom Hori Tauroa founds his case. Watarawhi Tawhia was another witness with similar claims and ancestral connections, but he asserted no claim.

In fine, I say that the Court cannot recognise such claims as these, without disregarding all its precedents, and ignoring the objects for which the Legislature constituted it, and overriding its previous history and decisions. It is scarcely necessary, therefore, to notice that, during these descents, the conquering Taou came in and took this part of the country by force of arms; and that, if those ancestors who are now set up, had remained on the land which is now claimed through them, they would either have been taken prisoners or killed, unless they had been allowed to intermarry with the conquerors, or become members of their tribes, as Te Tahuri did, and Mokorua did. In any of those cases the present claimants would never have existed.

page 83

The only point in the case of Ngatiteata and Ngatitamaoho which is of any value is that Paul Tuhaere, the nephew of Apihai, seems to have disregarded this rule on the occasion of the confiscation of the Ngatitamaoho's land at Pehiakura by the Crown. He applied to the Government for compensation on account of his ancestral interest in that land, and received from the Crown Agent (not through the Court) a sum of £150. If the Court were certain that it had all the facts of that affair before it, it would make an order for the return of that money, for we think it was wrongly obtained. "Qui sentit commodum sentire debet et onus." But we cannot consent that a successful act of imposition, as we think it to be, judging from what is before us, should influence this Court to adopt the principle involved in it, and abandon its own rules of action, with the idea of dispensing a perfect justice even beyond the limits of this suit.

The presents made on thesales of landabout here do not seem to the Court to have carried any admission of ownership of the land sold. It is customary for Maori chiefs when they come into the possession of property immediately to distribute it among their friends, especially amongst those from whom they have received or expect to receive benefits, or to whom they are ancestrally related. And there is no doubt that Ngatiteata, with the other Waikato tribes who returned with Potatau, had rendered considerable services to Apihai and his people. These services were requited by the gift of a piece of land near Onehunga to Potatau, of Pukapuka to Te Kati his brother, and of Remuera to Wetere Te Kauae. The above remarks apply equally to Paora Te Iwi.

The Court is, therefore, of opinion that Hori Tauroa and Paora Te Iwi, and their co-claimants, have no interest, according to Maori custom, in the estate under investigation.