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An Epitome of Official Documents Relative to Native Affairs and Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand

No. 121. — Report on the Native Reserves in the Province of Wellington

No. 121.
Report on the Native Reserves in the Province of Wellington

Charitable Trusts.

There is so much of Native interest and Governmental responsibility attaching to the trust endowments at Wellington that, though not strictly within my cognizance, I have included them in the accompanying schedules. These lands were originally amongst the reserved "tenths," selected as Native reserves in pursuance of the contract between Colonel Wakefield and the Native sellers of the Port Nicholson Block; they were subsequently granted in trust for various religious, educational, and charitable purposes, from which Natives, in common with Europeans, might derive a benefit. Other lands belonging to the "tenths" have been appropriated by the Government to purposes conducing to the welfare of the Natives, but not so exclusively for their benefit as not to leave cause for dissatisfaction on their part. The Native Office and hostelry, the Governor's stables, and a part of the Te Aro barrack sites were among these appropriations.

While the Natives participated in the advantages which such institutions as the college and grammar school, hospital, and cathedral church conferred, the Europeans did so equally or, from their larger numbers, to a greater degree. In the terms of the trusts no provisions exist by which the Natives are to enjoy peculiar advantages or a preference at these institutions, although the sites, and in come cases the endowments, are taken from lands which, by agreement, were to be inalienable as reserves for the maintenance of the Natives.

It was declared by the secretary of the New Zealand Company that the reserves were to be "held in trust for the residium and proper maintenance of the chiefs, their tribes and families."* The purposes to which seventeen reserves have been appropriated are: A cathedral-church site, a, civil-hospital site and endowment, a grammar-school endowment, a Church-of-England school endowment, a military-barrack site, and a Native departmental office and hostelry site. It is impossible reasonably to aver that these purposes and uses are consistent with either the letter or spirit of the declaration above alluded to.

The Natives state that they have not a right to free access to the hospital, but admit that they obtain admission, the Government, or some one, paying the charges. As far as I am able to obtain information on the other side, it appears that, a provision having been made in the terms of each trust-deed to the effect that the Natives shall participate in the charity equally with Europeans, it was not thought unfair that some few of the Native reserves should be so appropriated. It is easy to understand

* See also terms of sale of New Zealand Company's land, 1st May, 1839: "110 sections will be reserved by the Company, who intend to distribute the same as private property amongst the chief families of the tribe from which the land shall have been originally purchased."—Vide "Supplementary Information relative to New Zealand," page 167.

page 75how health and education were considered as indispensable to the well-being of the Maori as the "fitting maintenance" which the New Zealand Company's agent had promised.*

It is necessary, now, to ascertain how far the compact regarding the tenths was adhered to by both parties In the first place it was broken by the Company in their agent selecting the 11th, 22nd, and 33rd sections instead of the 10th, 20th, and 30th, so causing the proportion to be an eleventh instead of a tenth. Some additional land may have been given as an equivalent to the deficient area, but the whole of the reserves were of less value from the order of choice on which they were selected being moved back But the compact was broken in a more serious manner by certain of He Natives—those, notably, of the south side of the harbour—omitting to give possession of the land to the Company when the reserves were ready for their occupation. It is no part of the present consideration as to whether it was wise to require or expect that the Natives would remove from their pas and cultivations; it is sufficient that they sold such places, and then, in many cases, declined to give them up. I am aware that it may be said that certain of the Natives had never received any payment for the land until the time of Colonel McCleverty's inquiry. This may be true in exceptional instances, but not extensively and such Natives received awards of land of far improved value. The manner in which Colonel McCleyerty himself viewed the ownership is shown in the wording of his deeds, which, in nearly all, is as follows: "These lands are given in lieu of lands on settlers' sections," or "belonging to settlers."

The refusal of the Natives to vacate the pas and cultivations led to a compromise: certain of the reserves were conveyed to the Natives respectively, and other lands, to the extent of about 12,205 acres in the Town and Town Belt of Wellington and the rural districts, made over to them in perpetuity. In addition to these the Government purchased several sections of rural land, and handed them over to the Natives for their sole use and benefit.

It thus appears that the Natives received, outside the scheme of the "tenths," as much as 12,509 acres of suburban and rural land. Under these circumstances the morality of the appropriation of certain of the reserves for charitable trusts in which the Natives would fully participate cannot, I think, be reasonably impugned. But it is difficult or impossible to cause the Natives to understand that their own act was the occasion of the scheme of reserves being altered. "We never got any of the additional land awarded by Colonel McCleverty," some of them will argue—"others received that land: give us, as you promised, the rents of the reserves at Thorndon and Te Aro."

To very many of the Natives this claim appears just, and in places far beyond the limits of the Wellington Province the misapplication of the reserves has for several years been the subject of discussion and censure. It may be wise, therefore, for the Government to make a concession—at the present time it could not be considered a sign of weakness. I would, respectfully recommend—(1) That payment of rent the amount to be settled by arbitration—should be made by the Government for the reserves used for the Native Office and Government, stables, and for the site of the barracks at Te Aro; (2) and, in consideration of the site and endowment land of the civil hospital being original Native reserves, to make provision to secure to the Natives free admission to, and medical assistance at, that institution. If this proposition, or a reasonable modification of it, be not agreed to by the Natives the only course open that I could recommend would be to suffer an appeal from them to the Supreme Court.

The schedules for the Province of Wellington give the following areas, viz.: Class A1—Charitable and religious reserves, 2,101 acres 3 roods 25 perches; Class A1—With a specified purpose, 8,661 acres 3 roods 33 perches; Class A1—Reserves under Native Lands Acts, 1,110 acres; Class B1—McCleverty's awards, 18,153 acres and 23 perches; Class B2—General reserves, 37,435 acres 2 roods 8 perches; Class C1—Grants with limitations, 105,904 acres 2 roods 25 perches: total, 173,366 acres 3 roods 34 perches.

By a return giving the names of the tribes in the North Island, presented to the General Assembly, 1870, the following appears to be the approximate Native population of the Province of Wellington: Otaki District, 740; Wairarapa District, 850; Rangitikei and Manawatu Districts, 1,091; Whanganui and Upper. Whanganui, 2,641: total souls, 5,322. This shows reservation of 31½ acres on the average per head, for the Native population of the Province of Wellington, independent of purely Native territory.

There have been made the following maps and tracings of Native reserves since, the date of the last report: Lithographs: Auckland, 15; Wellington, 2. Maps: Auckland, 19; Wellington, 15; Hawke's Bay, 4. Tracings: Auckland, 141.

The account of receipts and, expenditure of the Auckland Native Reserve Trust is made from the 15th July, 1871, as on that day the first moneys were received by the Trustee.

C. Heaphy.

5th May, 1871.[Note.—The schedule to this report is too voluminous to be reprinted. See Parliamentary Papers, F.—No 4, 1871.—Ed.]

* It is provided in the terms of the cathedral-site grant that the Native patients of the civil hospital shall have free sittings in the cathedral church.

An appeal to the Supreme Court has been for some time threatened by the Natives, who have paid, I am informed, £50 to a solicitor at Wellington for a legal opinion to guide them.

The Words used were— "Of the land ceded by the chiefs, a portion equal to one-tenth of the whole will be reserved and held in trust by the New Zealand Company for the future benefit of the said chiefs, their families and heirs."