The East Coast Settlement Bill 1880.
Printed at the Office of "The New Zealand Times," Wellington, New Zealand Willis Street.1880
The East Coast Settlement Bill 1880.
A Bill, having the above title, will be introduced into the House of Representatives when Parliament meets in May. It is a private Bill, dealing with very large private interests; but it will also affect very greatly the public well-being of the whole colony. I therefore venture to explain its meaning. I do so for the purpose of soliciting public scrutiny; and, I hope, for an expression of public opinion upon the merits of a scheme, which if carried out, will mark the point of a new departure in the question of dealing with Native Lands.
Between the Wairoa River and the East Cape, upon the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand, lies a district of great fertility, possessing natural advantages, not exceeded in any part of the colony. The soil is rich and well watered, the climate genial, the means of access convenient. Along the course of the sea frontage of this region are at least three excellent natural harbours, at Mahia, Gisborne, and Tologa Bay. There, also, four or five large rivers find their outlet to the sea. In that wide area forming parts of Cook and Wairoa Counties, and comprising nearly two millions of acres of land, there are at present only some four or five thousand Europeans residing; nor until some change in the tenure of land takes place, is it probable that this number will be largely increased. This is not owing to natural circumstances, nor, as I have said, to a sterile soil. It is due to the complicated condition of landed tenure. The portion of the North Island contained within the limits above-mentioned is rich enough to support the whole present population page 2 of the colony. Perhaps one hundred and fifty thousand are owned by Europeans in fee simple. The title to portions of this land, however, is disputed by the Natives, or is so intermixed with land still belonging to them, owing to want of subdivision, that it is comparatively valueless. Perhaps five hundred thousand acres are owned by the Government in different blocks, but those lands are at the present for the most part useless, as roads and bridges are required to render them available for profitable human settlement. The remainder, upwards of thirteen hundred thousand acres, is Maori land, of which the greater part has passed the Native Lands Court under some act of the Assembly, and is now held by the Natives, not under their old tribal and hereditary custom, but from the Crown. That which is yet really Native land, and held as such, can easily be made to undergo the same process and thus become accessible for settlement. This one million three hundred thousand acres of New Zealand soil, in every way fit to support and enrich a numerous population, is now almost entirely a barren waste. It can, however, be settled without the expenditure of any public money, the bestowal of any public favor, or the granting of any monopoly.
Before explaining the plan of the proposed measure, it is necessary to shew the difficulties which now oppose the progress and development of the East Coast. Lands held by the Natives in that district under the Crown, are generally owned in large blocks and by very numerous bodies of proprietors. It is not unusual to find two, or even three hundred names in a title to a single estate. As a matter of course, among these are many married women and children. It is impossible that lands so held can be cut up for ordinary settlement, or small holdings. Even the preliminary step of surveying for sub-division would always be opposed by some of the Native owners; but if the lands were once "cut up" (which, however, is beyond possibility), then the expense and trouble of obtaining so many signatures from all parts of the country, and going through the long and page 3 expensive but necessary forms incidental to Native deeds, would amount to more than small pieces of the land were actually worth.
Moreover, very extensive areas of these lands are inalienable by reason of the provisions of the "Native Lands Act 1867," under which Act they passed through the Native Lands Court. They cannot be sold; they cannot be mortgaged; they cannot be leased for more than twenty-one years; neither can they be sub-divided until the expiration of any existing lease. Between Gisborne and Tologa Bay, a distance of more than thirty miles, nearly all the lands are in this position.
Through the whole district the individual blocks are, as a rule, very large. They run from one thousand to sixty thousand acres. Throughout this territory of such great extent, and inferior to no part of the Australasian Colonies, in those qualities and capabilities which attract the favorable notice of men, all growth is stayed, and all progress is paralysed. It is practically impossible to get a title to the land; and without some certainty of tenure, men will neither bestow their capital nor their labor upon the soil.
Titles are and must be imperfect, for—
1st. All the owners, as a rule, will not join in any one deed.
2nd. In the ranks of the proprietors are generally to be found married women and children.
3rd. It is impossible to cut up and sub-divide the blocks for settlement, and they are too large for individual holdings.
4th. Great areas of these lands cannot be sold either in the whole or in part, and these comprise some of the most valuable lands near Gisborne.
Before the East Coast can advance, such obstacles to progress must be removed. They are insurmountable.
The question at once arises—Is it possible to remove the obstacles and so throw open these lands for bona fide settlement on advantageous terms, without coercing the Native owners, and without casting upon them or the European settlers a pecuniary loss?
It is possible to do this, and also to do much more.page 4
"The East Coast Settlement Bill," if it becomes law, will enable all Native owners of land in the district, including infants and married women, to sign for each block a deed of trust, vesting in trustees, chosen by the Native owners themselves, the whole property in the land conveyed. These trustees will be aided by a Committee, also chosen by the Maori owners of the lands to be affected; and these trustees and committees, like the directors and managers of a Joint Stock Company, will have full power, but subject to strict supervision and control, to deal with the subject matter of their trust : to cut up, to lease, to sell, to part, and to divide the lands.
It may be said—Some of the Natives will not agree to do this. What of them? The answer is not difficult—Let the shares of such Natives be set apart in the Native Land Court, and their own land given to them, under the existing laws which provide for the partition of Native lands, and still subject to present restrictions. But this, though a possible, is not a probable contingency. Generally the Native tribes, from Wairoa to Waiapu, have already consented to the plan, herein set forth, and it is at their request that the proposed Bill is being introduced. By the Bill it is proposed that committees shall have power to determine what share each hapu, each family, and if necessary each individual possesses in the common property.
Thus nearly all the difficulties would disappear, and the land could be "cut up," leased, sold, and conveyed as easily, and as cheaply as an estate held by any member of the community, under an ordinary Grant from the Crown. There still remain, however, the lands to the north-east of Gisborne, which the Act of 1867 will not permit to be sold. The Bill gives power to place such lands under trust also, and removes from them a restriction which now prevents their being dealt with.
The Native owners of these blocks, to a large extent, have consented to assign their lands to Trustees, and in truth have already in great part signed the necessary deeds. The Euro- page 5 peans who hold leases in this particular district (and under these restrictions,) are three in number. One holds in lease twenty-four thousand acres in Kaiti and Pouawa, another twenty-one thousand acres in Whangara, the third twenty-eight thousand acres in Paremata and Mangaheia, in all seventy-three thousand acres, running in a straight line from the post-office, in Gisborne, for thirty-five miles to the north-east. Two of these have already agreed to terms for the surrender of their leases to the trustees; the third is willing to do so if Parliament gives the trustees the necessary powers. I have before said that these lands under restrictions as to sale, are among the most valuable upon the East Coast. On the south-west, when extended, they touch the town of Gisborne. Upon Kaiti, a part of Gisborne must be built, and upon the shore of that block also a breakwater will be erected. On the north-east Paremata and Mangaheia surround Tologa Bay and the Government township of Uawa. At the present, time only a few shepherds and a few sheep occupy this tract of country.
It is certain that there are now in the colony very largo numbers of persons who are willing and able to take up good land on deferred payments, wherever that land may be. Many classes of the community are concerned in this desire. Both in the North and South there are young and active men, the sons of settlers, who, unable to procure land in the immediate vicinity of their homes, would gladly secure freeholds for themselves elsewhere. In every town and district there are not a few to whom the obtaining a piece of good land on which to settle and work out a livelihood would be a boon. Working men's clubs, too, in every centre of population, would gladly co-operate to secure for many of their members such pieces of land. Hundreds of families already in the colony, who ought in justice to be considered, can, and will avail themselves of the advantages which this proposed measure will enable the Maori trustees to offer. I have received reliable information from Belfast, which page 6 tells me that if these lands are thrown open as the promoters of this Bill desire they should be, hundreds of farmers from the North of Ireland, men of good character, of great energy, and of substantial means are willing to emigrate and make homes upon the Maori lands of the East Coast. I am also informed that a similar desire has been expressed by many of the same class around Edinburgh and Glasgow, while I hear of repeated enquiries from farmers in Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Devon.
The subject matter of the Bill may be viewed in two aspects; one as it affects the Maoris, and the other as it may affect Europeans who wish to avail themselves of the facilities offered for the aquisition of Native lands.
As affecting the Maori owners, the trustees will have—
Firstly, to select such lands in each block as may be necessary and convenient for the dwelling places and cultivations of the different hapus and families interested in the particular property.
Secondly, to make such reserves as may be deemed advisable for schools and charitable or other like purposes; for roads, for townships, and for recreation and pleasure; and
Thirdly, to divide the nett proceeds arising from each block in the fairest and justest manner possible, subject to the general charges arising from costs of schools, hostelries, building and repair of houses, fencing, etc., etc.
As affecting Europeans, the objects to be accomplished are—
1. To cut up the lands for lease and sale in suitable areas and positions.
2. To offer those lands for sale or lease upon such terms as to classification, price, times of payment, amount of interest or rent, and otherwise, upon such conditions as may attract settlers by their liberal nature, and yet yield a reasonable revenue to the native proprietors and vendors. It is easy to perceive that the trustees will be able to offer the land on very easy and liberal terms.page 7
3. To devote a reasonable and proper portion of the returns from the lands to the prosecution of useful works—i.e. harbours, roads, and bridges. This Bill provides for works of this kind to be constructed.
4. To choose suitable sites for special settlements for farmers and others from the colony and from the United Kingdom.
These, briefly, are the leading objects of the "East Coast Settlement Bill."
|1.||To pay off mortgages and encumbrances now existing.|
|2.||To pay all debts due by the Maori owners of these lands.|
|3.||To construct necessary or useful public works.|
The trustees are to be incorporated, and though possessing large powers, are placed under efficient control; all their transactions are to be patent and open to those concerned; and provision is made for the audit of their books and accounts.
It is not possible in a short paper such as this, to point out all the advantages which will result to individuals and to the community from the successful accomplishment of the scheme proposed.
To those Europeans already settled upon the East Coast it means the realisation of hopes which have buoyed them up through years of war, toil, and privation. To the district it means a speedy advance in prosperity, while to the colony it means an accession to population and to wealth.
If these proposals are given effect to by act of the Legislature, it is confidently believed that the beginning of the end of Native difficulty will have been discovered. Nearly all Native troubles have arisen in connection with the possession and the disposal of Native lands. To a law so easily understood, and arriving at page 8 such worthy objects as those proposed, I believe all the tribes will give their assent.
By the Bill all interests are conserved; existing rights aw respected. Every Native will be a sharer in the benefits arising from the occupation, the leasing, or the sale of his ancestral lands, Each individual of the Native race interested will feel that he has committed the care of his land to fit persons, and that he is safe.page 4
During the First Circuit.
Psalm XXX.page 5
Previous to the Consecration, Afternoon Service will be read in the Temporary Synagogue at 3 o'Clock.
The Minister, the Wardens, and other Honorary Officers of the Congregation, bring the Scrolls of the Law to the door of the New Synagogue, when the Minister exclaims in Hebrew:—
Open unto me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them, and praise the Lord.
The doors being opened, the Minister and others enter in procession, with the Scrolls in their arms, when the Minister and Chair Chant:—
How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob! thy tabernacles, O Israel!
O Lord! I have ever loved the habitation of thy house, and the dwelling-place of thy glory.
We will come into thy tabernacles, and worship at thy footstool.
The procession then passes up the Synagogue under the Canopy, until it arrives at the Ark; during its progress the Minister and Choristers sing:
From the Lord's house, we praise proclaim
On him who cometh in his name.
On us th' Eternal God doth shine,
And bless us with His light divine;
The sacrifice for Him design'd,
Upon the altar haste to bind.
A thankful prayer to Thee I'll raise :
Thou art my God, Thy name I'll praise.
The Lord is good, unto His name
Let us with praise our thanks proclaim,
For everlasting, good and pure,
His gracious mercy will endure.
Hear, O Israel, the Eternal is our God; the Eternal is One.
Our God is a Unity: great is our Lord, Whose name is the Most Holy.
The procession then passes round the Synagogue seven times; during each circuit one of the following Psalms is chanted by the Minister and Choristers.
During the First Circuit.
David's Psalm and Song for the Dedication of the House.
O Lord! Thou hast protected me, And lifted me on high,
Hast saved me from mine enemy, Still'd his exulting cry.
I will extol Thy mighty name; I cried, O Lord; to Thee,
From Thee, my God! assistance came, Thou hast deliver'd me.
Thou hast redeem'd my soul from death, My life Thou hast restored,
Hast saved me from the grave beneath, Eternal, mighty Lord!
During the Second Circuit.
Psalm XLIII.page 7
Ye saints, exulting voices raise, In song your thanks proclaim,
All mindful of God's holy ways, And His exalted name.
For momentary is His rage, But lifelong is His grace;
Though tears the night's dark hours engage, With dawn come joy and peace.
And thence in my security, Triumphantly I said,
"I shall remain immutably, There's nought for me to dread."
O Lord! it pleased Thee to endow With strength my mountain fair,
Thou did'st conceal Thy face, and, lo, Calamity and care.
I raised a supplicating cry, "O Lord! Eternal God!
What Good is it, that now I die? What profit is my blood?
"When I descend into the grave, Can I extol Thy name?
Shall the mere clay in utt'rance have The Lord's truth to proclaim?
"O Lord! give heed into my prayer, With favour on me shine;
O Lord! on me bestow Thy care, And grant Thy help divine."
Now Thou hast turn'd my wailing grief Into a dance of glee;
My garb of sackcloth taken off, And deck'd me festively.
Therefore my voice to Thee I'll raise; In thankful minstrelsy—
O Lord! Almighty God! Thy praise I'll sing eternally.
During the Second Circuit.
Judge me, O God! and aid my cause Against an impious race;
From unjust and deceitful men Relase me through Thy grace.
In Thee, O God! my strength abides, Why dost withdraw Thine aid?
Why doth my foes' oppression sore, With grief o'erwhelm my head?
Send forth, I pray, Thy light and truth, To guide me on the road,
Which leadeth to Thy holy hill, Unto Thy bless'd abode.
Then to God's altar will I go; I'll tune my harp, and sing
My thanks to God, my joy of joys, My Lord—Almighty King!
My soul, why art thou sorrowing, O'erwhelming me with tears?
Put trust in God, praise His great name, And cast aside all fears.
For I will ever offer praise And thanks unto the Lord,
Who hath upheld my countenance, And is Almighty God.
During the Third Circuit.
During the Third Circuit.
Shout joyfully unto the Lord, All earth your voice upraise;
Exulting serve Almighty God; Come, singing psalms of praise.
Know the Lord God created us; To Him do we belong;
His people, sheep beneath His care—Then come to Him with song.
Come to his gates with thankful praise. His courts fill joyfully.
Bless His great name, His holy ways, With grateful minstrelsy.
For everlasting is His grace, His goodness, truth, and worth.
Enduring when all human race Shall cease to be on earth.
During the Fourth Circuit.
A Song of Ascension by Solomon.
If the Lord lendeth not His aid, All useless is man's toil
To build the house, or safely guard The city free from spoil.
'Tis useless that at early dawn, From slumber ye arise,
And until midnight labour on For your necessities.
But if God's grace your work attend, If it by Him be bless'd,
He brings it to successful end, And gives the toilers rest.
Behold! the children whom ye love, Are blessings from the Lord,
A heritage sent from above To mankind for reward.
He who is bless'd in early life With children's loving smiles,
Is like a warrior arm'd for fight, Whose darts his quiver fills.
Such man shall never turn aside, But at the gate appear;
Speak to his enemies with pride, Nor shrink away in fear.
During the Fifth Circuit.
Praise ye the Lord, all nations sing,
All people your laudations bring;
For great and lasting is the grace
Which He bestows on Israel's race.
True and enduring is His word,
Then sing aloud, Praise ye the Lord.
During the Sixth Circuit.
During the Sixth Circuit.
A Song of Ascension.
O Lord! I raised to Thee a plaintive cry,
From the abyss of sin and misery.
O Lord! I pray that Thou wilt turn Thine ear,
And hearken to my supplicating prayer.
Alas! What man before Thy face could stay,
If thou did'st always mark his evil way?
But grace and pardon ever with Thee dwell,
And man to reverential awe impel.
My soul all hopeful waiteth for the Lord,
And steadfastly relieth on His word;
More eagerly than watchmen through the night,
Await the coming of dawn's glimm'ring light,
My soul relieth on the Lord, as they
Await, full certain of returning day;
And thus may Israel hopefully rely
Upon the Lord, who reigns eternally.
Mercy, and full redemption are with Him,
And He, from sin, all Israel will redeem.
During the Seventh Circuit.
A Psalm of David.
The earth, O Lord! belongs to Thee, And all that in it dwell,
For Thou hast built it on the sea, Above the ocean's swell.
O Lord! Who shall ascend Thy hill—Dwell in Thy holy place?
Whose heart and hands are free from ill, Imbued with heavenly grace;
Whose soul from vanity is free, Who hath not sworn deceitfully;
Such men a blessing shall receive From Thee, Almighty Lord,
Who in Thy saving power believe, And trust Thy holy word;
These are the men of Israel's race, who hope to gaze upon Thy face.
The Ark is opened, and the Header and Choristers chant:
Ye yates, uprear your lofty heights, Above all earthly domes,
Doors of Eternity, fly back, The King of Gory comes.
The King of Glory! Who is he? The strong and mighty Lord,
Whose presence bringeth victory, The sole Almighty God.
Ye gates, uprear your lofty heights, Above all earthly domes,
Doors of Eternity, fly back, the King of Glory comes.
The King of Glory! Who is he Whose coming ye proclaim?
The Lord of all Eternity! Praised be His hallow'd name.
Prater for the Queen and Royal Family.
May he who dispenseth salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes: whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; who delivered David his servant from the destructive sword; who maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters: May he bless, preserve, guard, assist, exalt, and highly aggrandize our Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, and all the Royal Family. May the Supreme King of kings, through his infinite mercy, grant her life, preserve her, deliver her from all manner of trouble and danger; subdue people under her feet, make her enemies fall before her, and cause her to prosper in all her undertakings. May the Supreme King of kings, through his infinite mercy, incline her heart, and the hearts of her counsellors and nobles, with benevolence to act kindly towards us and all Israel. In her days, and in our days, may Judah be saved, and Israel dwell in safety; and may the Redeemer come unto Zion; O that this may be his gracious will! and let us say, Amen.
And when the Ark rested, he said, Return, O Eternal! to the myriads of thousands of Israel! Arise, O Eternal! unto Thy resting place, Thou, and the Ark of Thy strength. Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness, and Thy pious ones shout for joy. For the sake of Thy servant David turn not away the face of Thine Anointed, "for I have given you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law; it is a tree of life to those who take fast hold of it, and the supporters thereof are happy; its ways are pleasantness, and all its paths are peace."
Do Thou turn us unto Thee, O Eternal! and then we shall return. Renew our days as of old.
The Scrolls of the Law are then placed in the Ark.
The Minister then Preaches a Sermon, and Offers up a Consecration Prayer.page 13
May he who blessed our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, bless the Wardens and Members of this Congregation, and all who have brought their offerings for the building of this synagogue. May he bless them, their wives, their sons, their daughters, and all belonging unto them. May he preserve them from distress and sorrow, may he prosper the work of their hands, and vouchsafe unto them length of days in joy and happiness. Amen.
It is incumbent upon us to praise the Lord of all; to magnify the Creator of the beginning; for he hath not made us like unto nations of other countries, nor disposed of us in the manner of other families of the earth; neither hath he appointed our portion like unto theirs, nor our lot like all their multitude. For we bend the knee, worship, and make our acknowledgments to the presence of the supreme King of kings! the holy and blessed Being; he who stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, the throne of whose glory is in the heavens above, and the residence of whose might is in the celestial heights. He is our God, and there is no other. Our King is truth, and there is none besides him; as it is written in his law, "Know, therefore, this day, and reflect in thine heart, that the Lord he is God, in heaven above, and on the earth beneath : there is none else."
We will, therefore, place our hope in thee, O Lord, our God! speedily to behold thy glorious power; removing the abominations out of the earth, and causing all the idols to be utterly destroyed, that the universe may be established under the Almighty government; all flesh invoke thy name, and all the wicked of the earth turn unto thee : then shall all the inhabitants of the world know and acknowledge, that unto Thee every Knee must bow, and every tongue swear: before thee, O Lord, our God ! shall they kneel and fall prostrate : they shall ascribe honour to thy glorious name, and all shall take upon themselves the duties due to thy dominion : and thou wilt speedily reign over them for ever and ever. For the kingdom is thine, and in eternal glory wilt thou reign; as it is written in thy law, "The Lord shall reign for ever and ever." And it is also expressed, "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth," on that day will it be acknowledged that the Lord is One, "and his name One,"
Sing Hallelujah! praise to God;
Upon His holy seat,
In His great power. His mightiness
With praise His presence greet;
And with His mighty excellence
Let your high praise accord;
Exulting Hallelujahs sing,
And shout, "Praise ye the Lord!"
With trumpet's sound, psalt'ry, and harp,
With timbrel and with dance,
With organs and string'd instruments,
Proclaim His excellence.
With cymbals' tone, with cymbals' clang,
Tour praise to Him accord;
Let every breathing thing proclaim,
"Praise Him! Praise ye the Lord!"