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

Enclosures. — (No. 1.) — H. C. Field, Esq., Surveyor, to the Resident Magistrate, Whanganui

(No. 1.)
H. C. Field, Esq., Surveyor, to the Resident Magistrate, Whanganui.

Respecting Survey of Putiki Reserve. Whanganui, 27th May, 1865.


In reply to your inquiries as to the Putiki Reserve, and the survey of it, I beg to report as follows:—

The reserve consists in all of from seventeen to eighteen hundred acres of land, of which about two hundred acres is proposed to be laid out as a township, while the rest is merely surveyed with a view to the issue to the several owners of Crown grants for the various portions. The laying off of the township, and the survey of the outlying portions of the reserve, were first proposed during the Governor's visit to Whanganui at the end of the year 1862, and the work was at once commenced and for some time went on rapidly. In order to enable the town to be laid off according to a regular plan it was arranged that the various boundaries of the Native claims should be cancelled, and that to each of the original owners of the land town sections should be allotted in proportion to, and as nearly as possible in the situation of, his original holding. This was agreed to by the whole body at a meeting convened by Mr. White, Resident Magistrate (I think in 1863), but a difficulty afterwards arose from some of the Natives, of whose land a considerable portion would be absorbed in a street, and who seemed to feel no certainty that they should get the damage made good out of the adjacent lands, insisting on the street being arranged so as to run along the old Native boundary-lines, irrespective of parallelism, equidistance, or regularity. After battling with these recusants for some time, Mr. White, who either had not, or supposed he had not, the necessary powers to override such frivolous objections, and who applied for them repeatedly in vain, desired me to let the town survey stand over, and get on with that of the outlying lands. This was accordingly done; a considerable portion of the boundaries of the several Natives' land were ascertained and surveyed, and seventeen blocks, measuring in all about four hundred acres, were mapped, and applications sent in for Crown grants. The grants, however, did not come, and Mr. White seemed to possess no power to let the lands, and thus the work seemed to a great extent thrown away. Several hundred acres more have been partially surveyed, but could not be mapped, because, in the absence of the Native owners of portions of the land, some of the boundaries could not be defined.

When the Governor was here a few months ago he promised to remove all the difficulties which had impeded the work, and desired me to get on with the town survey as fast as I could, and I have accordingly devoted to it all the time I have been able to spare from my duties as Town Surveyor I have found the same objections made to the regularity of the plan as were offered in 1863, and in some cases by the same persons, and I have several times found the pegs pulled up and the flag-poles page 49taken away. I have, however, persevered with the work, and hope, weather permitting, to have the whole of the portion of the town, from the Mission-house to Montgomery's, completed by the end of next week.

You will see by the above that the difficulty here arises from a totally opposite cause to that at Kaiapoi referred to by yourself, as it proceeds from the land being held as individual property, while the boundaries of the several holdings will not harmonize with a regular plan, owing to their having been run in all sorts of directions, according to the fancy of the Maoris themselves when they sub-divided the land. As regards the payment for the work, it was understood between Mr. White and myself that the Colonial Government was responsible for the whole, and this was confirmed by the Hon. Mr. Mantell when he visited Whanganui. Nothing, however, has yet been paid on account of the town survey, as it was Mr. White's intention to settle that part of my account out of the proceeds of some of the sections sold.

The survey for the country lands was paid for by Mr. White as the maps for the issue of Crown grants were sent in, a schedule being furnished with each map for Mr. White's guidance, and apportioning the cost among the several landowners whose lands were included in such map, with a view to the recovery of their share from each person.

I think the above will explain the position of the work in reference to the several points on which you requested information, but I shall of course be happy to furnish any further information if you should require it.

I have, &c.,

H. C. Field.

W.L. Buller, Esq., R.M.