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

On "Seignorial Right." Government House, Auckland, 4th December, 1860

On "Seignorial Right."

My Lord Duke,—

Government House, Auckland, 4th December, 1860.

I have the honour to acknowledge, and beg to express my best thanks for, Mr. Chichester Fortescue's Despatch No. 55, of the 27th August last.

  • 2. I am desired in that despatch to furnish a full report to your Grace upon "the question of an alleged right, distinct from one of property, existing in the chief of a tribe, to assent to or forbid the sale of any land belonging to members of the tribe, in cases where all the owners are willing to sell, and how far such a right has been, or ought to be, recognized by the Crown." And I am also desired to give you my own views, and all the information in my power, on "the further questions whether there are reasons, apart from the Treaty of Waitangi, in favour generally of the recognition of such a right, and whether they justify the claims of Wiremu Kingi upon the present occasion."
  • 3. I am afraid that, in the endeavour to give an answer to these questions, I shall have to ask for your Grace's attention at much length. They involve, in reality, an examination of the Native tenure to land generally, and specially of the Ngatiawa title at Taranaki of the status of the chiefs before and since the establishment of British sovereignty; of the principles which have guided successive Governors of New Zealand on the Taranaki question; of the proceedings immediately connected with the purchase at Waitara last year; of the misrepresentations that have been spread abroad respecting those proceedings; of the relation between Wiremu Kingi's insurrection and the Native-King movement and land league; and, lastly, of the present aspect of the subject with reference to the special questions raised by your Grace.
  • 4. In submitting my own opinions on these subjects, gathered as they are from events that have occurred during a period of more than twenty years, I have desired to say nothing which was not either within my own knowledge or supported by some reliable authority. In order that these authorities should be placed before you in a readable shape, I have caused them to be printed separately as an appendix to this despatch, with distinct references to the publication in which each can be found.