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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

"Tauranga, 20th June, 1879. "

page 74
"Tauranga, "


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 10th inst. covering six draft-rules, which you propose should be made further rules of the Court under the 'Native Land Act, 1873,' and requesting me to sign the same unless I shall see reason to dissent from any particular therein.

"In reply I would say that, as regarding the proposed rule standing first on the list, 30 days, all circumstances considered, as from the native point of view, is, to my mind, a very short notice for a first notice. The case would seem, however, to be sufficiently provided for by Rule I., of the 24th June, 1874, and by the Act itself.

"Respecting the second rule with Schedule A. In this instance no reason has been shewn on behalf of the change sought. For my part I think the present condition, notwithstanding its imperfections, better for the public than the course proposed. If any rule is desired re an important matter of this kind I would venture to suggest the advisableness of a meeting of Judges and Assessors as heretofore, for the purpose of discussing and determining the same.

"Rule 3. This has reference merely to the previous rule.

"Rule 4, with Schedule B. attached, and following rules. These seem to contemplate an invasion of the natural right of employer and employed to make their own bargains. This right is postulated and fully recognised in clauses 72 and 73 of the 'Native Land Act, 1873,' the parties named being the 'Native Claimants' and 'Native Owners' on the one hand, and the 'Inspector of Surveys' on the other. Moreover, by clauses 74 of same Act, and 7 of the Act of 1878, No. 2, the latter party, that is to say the party surveying, may, subject to conditions therein named, be any surveyor duly authorised according to the Act, and in the event of the same coming before the Court, then the Court, by the clause last mentioned, is required to 'take cognisance of any proper and reasonable agreement entered into between a duly authorised surveyor and the persons employing him to perform any survey of native lands.' I do not know where we are clothed with the power to take this right from those parties and to invest ourselves with it, nor have I heard any reason why we should seek to do so. My own feeling is that the native is as competent to employ his surveyor as is a European.

page 75

"Again, apart from the foregoing, prices in New Zealand vary with the locality and fluctuate with the times, and a rigid system would not accord with these conditions. Again, the Court would necessarily be very much in the hands of surveyors themselves in fixing charges, and surveyors have an interest in fixing them at a maximum.

As regards Schedule B., I think the smaller lines are so very high that I should be afraid they would militate against the individulization of native title.


I have the honor to be, Sir

, "

Your obedient servant

, "

J. A. Wilson

, "Judge. "F. D. Fenton, Esq., "Chief Judge, Native Land Court, Auckland."