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

Memorandum by the Native Secretary on the Individualization of Native Lands

Memorandum by the Native Secretary on the Individualization of Native Lands.

Auckland, 28th June, 1858.

It being desirable that provision should be made in certain cases to effect a partition of land held in common by the Natives as tribes, with the view of enabling the. Government to issue Crown titles to individual Natives, and that preliminary steps should be taken for this purpose,—Firstly. It should be ascertained that the parties claiming such laud are the real owners thereof, and that they are desirous of making such partition. The said owners should then prefer a request in writing to the Governor that a Crown grant of such land be issued to each or any of the said owners, setting forth also in writing in what manner they are agreed to partition such land. It should thereupon be lawful for the Governor, if he deems it advisable, to appoint Commissioners to investigate such claim and report thereon. Secondly. It should be the duty of these Commissioners to inquire into, ascertain, and set forth the situation, boundaries, and estimated extent of the said land; the names of the persons who are the owners thereof, or who may have any claim or interest therein; and the proposed partition of the same, together with any other particulars which may be calculated to assist the Governor in determining on the propriety of issuing a Crown title. Thirdly If, upon the consideration of such report, it shall appear to the Governor that it is desirable that the said land or any part thereof, should be dealt with in this manner, the Governor may direct that a survey and accurate description of the boundaries of the land be prepared, at the expense of the owners, by a surveyor to be appointed or approved of by him. Fourthly. When it is established to the satisfaction of the Governor that such Natives are entitled to such piece or parcel of land as joint owners thereof, and that it shall appear desirable that such land shall be granted to such Native owners respectively in severalty, then it shall be lawful for the Governor, upon such lands being ceded by such Native owners to Her Majesty for that purpose, to cause a subdivision thereof to be made in accordance with such proposal as aforesaid, and to make a Crown grant thereof in the usual form to each such owner and his heirs and assigns in fee-simple: provided, however, that if it shall appear to the Governor to be desirable in any particular case to restrict the alienability of the land comprised in any such grant, it shall be lawful for him, by the provisions of such grant, to restrict in such manner and to such extent as he shall see fit the alienation thereof. The grant should not issue until the Government is reimbursed for the expense attending such inquiry and partition as aforesaid. Every such grant should be considered a good, valid, and effectual conveyance, &c.

Half-castes of the aboriginal native race may be deemed to be persons of the Native race for the purposes of the Act. It should also apply to any individual Native claiming to be the sole owner of any piece or portion of land. In connection with the subdivision or partition of Native land it would be also desirable to empower the Governor, if solicited by all the parties concerned, to cause disputed boundaries between tribes to be fixed and defined, as a means of obviating or terminating such disputes.