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

No. 123. — Report on the Native Reserves in the Province of Auckland

No. 123.
Report on the Native Reserves in the Province of Auckland.

The Native reserves in this province have been set apart in the following manner: (1.) By contract made with the Native sellers of the land. (2.) By the voluntary action of the Governor in setting apart Crown lands as hostelry and school sites, and lands for the endowment of such institutions. (3.) By agreement with friendly and loyal Natives in lands taken under "The New Zealand Settlements Act, 1863." (4.) By appropriation out of confiscated blocks for surrendered rebels. (5.) At the instance of the Natives; and by the Governor, on the recommendation of the Judges of the Native Land Court.

Several of the reserves shown under the first two heads had been entirely lost sight of until search was made for the purpose of compiling the attached schedules.

In order to show the degree of responsibility attaching to the Government in respect to these reserves, I have classified them as follows:— Class A: Trusts under provisions of Crown grants or legislative enactment— (1) With a distinct and specified purpose; (2) For the benefit of Natives generally. Class B: Reserved lands, not under enactment— (1) For a specified person or purpose; (2) For he benefit of Natives generally. Class C: Reserves under or to be brought under Native Land Acts— (1) Grant with limitations; (2) Land which should be made inalienable; (3) Granted lands reconveyed to trustees.

Under Class A will be found the hostelry sites in Auckland and Onehunga, with the hostelry-maintenance reserves at Mechanics' Bay and St. George's Bay. The particulars of rents, &c., of these reserves will be found under the head of "Utilization." In this class will also be found a large number of reserves made for surrendered rebel Natives under the provisions of "The Confiscated Lands Act, 1867." The schedule shows fifty-seven of these, comprising about 2,744 acres, as having been surveyed and allotted, and a further liability in land for 1,900 Natives, equal to 96,145 acres. In most cases certain named chiefs or heads of families hold possession of these lands in trust for their people. Provision will have to be made for the survey of these reserves.

The schedules show that the period of probation of eighteen returned rebels, who are entitled to 727 acres of land at the Bay of Plenty, has expired. The conditions under which land was allotted to them appear to have been that the respective Native, or his "heirs and assigns," should "continue loyal" till the 1st January, 1870, when he would become entitled to receive a Crown grant. These grants should be issued with as little delay as possible to such of the Natives as have fulfilled the conditions.

It is necessary to draw attention to the character of several of the Crown grants made to friendly Natives under. "The New Zealand Settlements Act, 1863," and "The New Zealand Settlements Amendment and Continuance Act, 1865." The grant of Te Akau, on the West Coast, near Waikato Heads, of 90,360 acres, of date 13th March, 1867, has the following habendum: "To hold unto the said Tamihana Tunui [and twelve others], their heirs and assigns, for ever, in trust for and to divide the same among themselves and the loyal Natives of the Tribes Ngatitahinga and Tainui, with power to the said grantees to lease the same for any period not exceeding thirty years." Power is thus given to the Native Trustees to decide as to who is and who is not loyal, in so far as participation in the estate in virtue of loyalty is concerned. The grant does not set forth whether loyalty at date was essential, or would be sufficient at some subsequent period. There are grants in trust for the benefit of the Ngatimahanga, the Ngatihaua, and the Ngatihourua Tribes of the same nature. By section 5, "Confiscated Lands Act, 1867," it is provided that the subdivision of such an estate may be referred by the Governor in Council to the Native Land Court. It is desirable that these grants should be brought before the Court, and a definite partition of the land made as soon as possible, as on the death of any one of the grantees the heirs, whether loyal or rebellious, become trustees to hold or divide the estate.

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Another class of deeds is represented by that dated 21st October, 1865, by which an estate at Waiuku is granted "to Riporaha Taranga and her heirs, and after her death to Aihepene Kaihau and Hori Turoa, in trust for the tribe called Ngatiteata." Also in the grant to Piti Katipa, of 21st October, 1865. In these cases it is desirable, I think, that the land should be conveyed to the Queen before, if possible, the death of the first-named grantee, and fresh Crown grants issued of a simpler character, as it is evident that, after the death of the grantees, their heirs and the named successors would, by the terms of the present grant, have conflicting interests.

Certain of the returned rebels, settled in the confiscated blocks, have asked to be allowed to lease or sell the land allotted to them. Except in extreme cases, as, for instance, where the land is unsuitable for the Native mode of cultivation and an exchange might be desirable, compliance with such request ought not, I think, to be conceded. If surrendered Natives could lease or sell their allotments, or if their residence on them were not made indispensable, the act of submission might be resorted to for purposes of gain only. It is desirable that Natives who come in should experience the advantage of civilization—of roads and markets in settled districts—and that their improvement in circumstances should be apparent to those who hold themselves aloof. This can only be effected by making the lands inalienable, and by issuing Crown grants to those who have improved their holdings, and fulfilled a prescribed term of residence. When their holdings are made secure it does not appear objectionable that they should become liable to contribute in money or labour to the improvement of the roads in their districts.

Utilization of Reserves.

By the action of the Native Land Court the great mass of the Native reserves in the Province of Auckland have been granted to the Natives for whose benefit they were originally set apart. Schedule C1 shows that 267 deeds, conveying 253,735 acres, have so issued. These reserves are either granted in trust or with restrictions that prevent the grantees mortgaging or selling the land absolutely, or letting it for more than twenty-one years without the Governor's consent. These lands are of course removed from the immediate control of the Government, but a responsibility rests with the Governor in regard to them that entails the necessity of a supervision, as frequent applications are made to alter the terms or remove the restrictions contained in the grants. Mr. John White states that at the West Waiuku the Native trustees have sold to white people some of the land granted to them in trust for themselves and relations in perpetuity.

The following Native reserves are let:— £ s. d.
Part of Allotment 19, Section 9, City of Auckland, at per annum 75 0 0
Allotment 89, Section 1, Suburbs of Auckland 13 0 0
Leases or Agreements signed during 1871.
Part of Allotment 4 of Section 12, City of Auckland, at per annum 14 0 0
Subdivision 1, Allotment 11, Section 20, Town of Onehunga, at per annum 3 0 0
Subdivision 2, " " " " 3 0 0
Subdivision 5, " " " " 3 0 0
Subdivision 6, " " " " 5 0 0
Subdivision 7, " " " " 3 10 0
Allotments 604 to 613 inclusive, Town of Tauranga " 2 0 0
Allotments 714 and 715 " " 0 10 0
Allotments 702 and 708 " " 0 10 0
Allotment 50, Suburbs of Tauranga " 0 12 0
Total per annum £153 2 0

The above rates of the Tauranga lands are for the first seven years of the term of twenty-one years. These lands have been for some time under agreement for lease, but, owing to the existence of doubts as to powers under the respective Acts, they could not, until the present month, be definitely let.

The Hostelry Maintenance Reserve No. 4, of Section 12, City of Auckland, has, until this year, remained unused. The footpath in common use from Auckland to Mechanics' Bay traversed its length, and access had to be free to a spring of water in the centre of the allotment. Upon offering, publicly, a portion of this land in March last for lease, objection was taken by the trustees of the adjoining estate of Hone Ropiha's to its probable enclosure. It appeared that the Crown had conveyed away a small street that had formerly given access (on paper) to Hone Ropiha's land in the rear of the hostelry reserve, which was then Crown land. The trustees claimed a right-of-way through the land, and, as it appeared that they would suffer an injustice if the reserve were enclosed, a lane 12 feet wide was set out along the western end of the reserve to afford the required access. The ground lying between this lane and the spring was then offered at public auction on lease for twenty-one years, and let to Mr. J. T. E. Rogan for £14 a year. The Municipal Council have commenced the construction of a path outside of the reserve, it having already been intimated that rent would be required for the further use of the land. When completed this path will afford good frontage access to the remaining part of the reserve, which I estimate may yield about £15 a year on a twenty-one years' lease. I propose that the sum of £40 shall be appropriated out of the proceeds of the hostelry lands for the purpose of leading the water from the spring to a fountain, to be constructed on the flat near the hostelry, where the water will be of benefit to the Natives and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood generally. The lease of the part let contains a provision to prevent the contamination of the water.

At Tauranga four additional allotments may be expected to be let, and at Onehunga one lot, yielding together about £9 a year additionally, in the course of the next year.

The lease of the hostelry-maintenance land at St. George's Point, Allotment 89, Section 1, will expire on the 9th June, 1873. Six and a quarter acres are here let for £13 a year. I propose to divide the land into four building lots, which I estimate would yield an aggregate ox £40 a year.

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The local authorities have lately taken down the Native market-sheds at the entrance of Queen Street Wharf. The hostelry site in Mechanics' Bay is too far from the centre of population of the city for the convenience of purchasers at a market. I therefore recommend that a quarter of an acre of the reserve at Point Britomart, near the Breakwater, should be set apart for a Native-produce-market site. The surface of the reserve is now 40 feet above the beach, but earth is required for filling the intake, and the alteration of level for as much space as will be required at first will present no great difficulty.

It is observed by the trustees of private trusts in Auckland that twenty-one years is too short a term to be attractive to good tenants. I respectfully recommend to the consideration of the Government the propriety of making forty years the maximum period in all future grants of beneficial trusts to European trustees.*

The foregoing sums, at their highest estimate, constitute, however, but a small income in relation to what is necessary for the legitimate—I do not allude to the political—government of the Natives. Educational and industrial institutions for their benefit are necessary, as well as hospitals and lunatic and other asylums. All these expenses, which, whether borne by the Provincial or General Governments, must be heavy, might be met by landed endowments. I would, therefore, recommend a very considerable addition to be made to the reserves in confiscated blocks for such purpose, and append a list (List E) of convenient lands. It is proper, however, to contemplate the arrival of a time when no distinction of race will exist as far as these purposes are concerned, and I would recommend that the terms of the trust should not be of such a nature as to make the revenue available exclusively for the benefit of the Maoris.

By Schedule A1 it appears that there are 1,022,669 acres in held in trust for the benefit of the Natives of the province.

By Schedule C1 it will be seen that there have been reserved for Natives, by means of restrictions in Crown grants issued under the Native Land Court, an area of 258,735 acres, and by Schedules B1 and B2 it appears that in other ways 26,568 acres have been set apart for their benefit. This aggregate area of 1,307,973 acres, together with the large area of unceded land which is still available for them, appears a tolerably sufficient provision for the future wants of a people that does appear to be increasing in numbers.

It is possible, however, that there may be some tribes that have sold recklessly, and are in danger of becoming paupers. The ramifications of family and hapu make if a very difficult thing to arrive at the precise extent of land held by any one tribe, but a careful coliation of the schedules with the map, aided by what information is available as to the numbers of the respective tribes indicate the Rarawa of Mangonui, the Ngatiwhatua of Auckland, and the Patukirikiri of Coromandel, as those that have the least extent of land left in proportion to what they have sold.

The schedules show that there are about 24,296 acres reserved for the Rarawa. The population of that tribe is estimated at 1,275 souls: thus the average is 19 acres per head. The Ngatiwhatua Tribe comprises about 254 souls, and has 10,251 acres reserved, or 40 acres per head. The Patukirikiri, of Coromandel, have about 100 acres of cultivable land for a fast-diminishing population of twenty-nine souls. This area would have been less, but for the reservation, in 1857, at the instance of Mr. Commissioner McLean, of the Island of Motu Tapere, which is fertile, and in the midst of good fisheries. All their other land fit for cultivation at Coromandel the Patukirikiri have sold. They, however, have possesions by collateral relationship at Koputauake and Whangapoua, so that there is no present danger of their becoming destitute. The extent, however, of the land they have sold within the last six years, amounting as it does to 6,822 acres, shows that the temptations presented by the high value of land near a gold field will induce Natives to sell recklessly that which should be held sacred for their children.

Having regard, then, to the circumstances of these tribes with low areas of land, I would recommend that none of the cultivations of the Rarawa and Ngatiwhatua Tribes should be allowed to be sold; that an area of 600 acres should be made inalienable at Koputauake, and 600 acres, lying immediately south of the Pungapunga Stream, for the future wants of the Coromandel hapus. I also recommend that 1,000 acres at Waitaia, Mercury Bay, should be reserved for the future wants of the Natives of that place, and 444 acres at Opito Point for the Natives of Otama.

I would draw attention to the fact that there exist large tracts of land at Hokianga and Bay of Islands that have reverted to the Crown as "surplus land," on old land purchases. To the sale and Crown-granting of this in the ordinary manner, as waste lands, there exist acknowledged difficulties—such, indeed, as to prevent their settlement. These difficulties would not exist, however, in many cases if the lands were appropriated as endowments towards the support of Natives in local hospitals, and I think an arrangement might be made between the General and Provincial Governments, by which a large estate might thus be utilized, and the local revenue relieved of a liability that presses heavily.

Schedule D shows lands granted to friendly Natives, in which no provision has been made for necessary roads. These lands have been allotted, apparently, under the provisions of "The New Zealand Settlements Act, 1863," and Crown grants issued under "The Friendly Natives' Contracts Confirmation Act, 1866." Agreement was made, I believe with the Natives to whom the land was allotted that necessary roads should within five-years be taken, but no provision was made in the Crown grants to that effect. The period for taking such roads expires on the 1st August, 1871, and I thought it my duty to draw the attention of the Agent of the General Government at Auckland to the circumstance, and to the desirability of taking the roads before the expiration of the term. At the suggestion of that officer I have drawn on the maps the several lines of road that-appear necessary, and the Native grantees have been informed of the roads being required.

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Lying between the settlement of Raglan and the Waikato is an endowment estate of 10,000 acres for a Colonial University, and contiguous to it a grant in trust of 3,000 acres to the loyal chief Wiremu Nera, for the Ngatimahanga Tribe. As the main road from the Waikato to the West Coast would have to go in this direction, I was ordered by the Hon. the Native Minister, in February last, to report on the most suitable line for such road. I examined four different passes, and crossed the dividing range eight times, through a densely-wooded and mountainous country, and at length found a pass with easy gradients, and by which a road two miles sixty chains shorter than the present mail track could be carried. The Natives, who are anxious to work in the formation of this road, do not object to its being taken in part over their land. I have prepared a separate report and plan on the subject of this road that will be available for the information of the Assembly.

Charles Heaphy,
Trustee of Native Reserves.

Auckland,19th July; 1871. [Note.—For schedule to this report see Parliamentary Papers F.-No. 4, 1871.?Ed.]

* See Reports of Native School Trustees to the Diocesan Synod of Auckland, 1870.

The endowment for the hostelries is "for Natives and other poor persons visiting Auckland."

The Coromandel Native population in 1858 was 351 souls: in 1870 it appears to have been 280, showing a decrease of 71 souls in twelve years.—Vide Mr. Fenton's compilation of Census Returns, 1859, and "Return of the Names of the Tribes of the North Island, &c.," in Appendix to Journals, 1870.