Mr. Commissioner Swainson to the Hon. the Colonial Secretary.
I have the honour to bring the following case under your consideration and to request instructions thereon:—
|1.||On the allotment of Native reserves, &c., by Colonel McCleverty, to the different tribes and hapus in the Port Nicholson District, certain lands were given to the Waiwhetu Natives (Te Amua), including Section No. 19, Lower Hutt, purchased for them from a private individual.|
|2.||This section was occupied by them at once, and is so still, having been subdivided by and among, themselves.|
|3.||Of the original holders thereof, as mentioned in the deed (twenty-five in number), only four or five are now alive.|
|4.||The right to the various strips into which the section was divided, occupied formerly by the aforesaid original holders, has been a source of continual dispute between the heirs thereto or others putting themselves forward as such.|
|5.||The particular case in dispute is as to the disposition of that portion belonging to Te Watarauhi (deceased), the principal chief of Te Amua.|
|6.||During the last year I have held, at their own request, no less than five meetings to discuss the question; and, although satisfactory decisions have been arrived at for the time, a month hardly elapses without a repetition of the dispute.|
|7.||I yesterday informed the Natives that, with the concurrence of the Government, I should bring the case under the Intestate Native Succession Act, to which they unanimously agreed on the principles of the Act being explained to them.|
|8.||Under clause 2 of the said Act, I therefore apply for and on behalf of Hoani, Tipene, and Huhana, disputing claimants in this case, that an inquiry be made by a Commissioner (myself or some other person) to be appointed in that behalf.|
|9.||That any Commissioner, so appointed, may have power to inquire into any similar case that may exist in regard to the rightful ownership of other portions of said section.|
|10.||That, with the consent of the Natives lawfully entitled to any portion of the said section, a readjustment of the division thereof may be made in order to facilitate the issue of Crown grants.|
I have, &c.,
George F. Swainson,
Commissioner of Native Reserves.