A Narrative of the Principal Subjects Included in the Work.
Shortly after his arrival, Colonel Wakefield entered into a treaty with the natives for the purchase of land, and, in the course of three months, concluded three purchases, extending from the 38° to the 43° of S. latitude on the West Coast, and from the 41° to the 43° on the East Coast; the deeds of purchase being dated respectively the 27th September, 1839, 25th October, 1839, and the 8th November, 1839. To the first of these, in obedience to Colonel Wakefield's instructions from the Company, which required him to make a similar stipulation in every deed, is appended a condition that a portion of the land ceded by the native chiefs, equal to one-tenth part of the whole, would be reserved and held in trust by the New Zealand Company for the future benefit of the said chiefs, their families and heirs, for ever. The second and third deeds likewise contain a promise of native reserves, but the quantity is not specified, these deeds merely reciting that a portion of the land ceded by the natives, suitable and sufficient for the residence and proper maintenance of the said chiefs, their tribes and families, will be reserved by the said New Zealand Company, and held in trust by them for the future benefit of the said chiefs, their families and successors, for ever. The quantity, in so far as the Nelson settlement was concerned, was ultimately fixed by the terms of the prospectus issued by the Company, in London, on the 15th February, 1841, in terms of which the quantity of land to be offered for sale was fixed at 201,000 acres, divided into 1,000 allotments of 201 acres each, to comprise three sections—one rural, one suburban, and one town acre; and it was especially provided, that a quantity of land equal to one-tenth of the 201,000 acres was to be reserved for the natives, so that the quantity of land to be appropriated consisted of 221,100 acres.
The principle on which the native reserves were made by the Company within their purchases, was confirmed by the Crown in the agreement made by Lord John Russell with the Company, in 1840, prior to the issue of their charter.
The quantity of land claimed to be purchased by Colonel Wakefield under the terms of the aforesaid deeds, amounted to 20,000,000 acres. The consideration paid, consisted entirely of articles of barter, the value of which it is difficult to determine. The value of the goods said to be sent out in the Tory and the Cuba, was estimated at £17,000—a portion of which only had been paid to the natives; the rest, which remained in the hands of the Company's Agent, was subsequently sold by public auction, in Wellington, and realized £7,000.
Formal possession was taken by Colonel Wakefield of Port Nicholson, or Wellington district, on the 30th September, 1839. He landed with his party under a salute of twenty-one guns from the Tory, and hoisted the New Zealand flag at a spot where a tall flagstaff had been erected, and, after listening the flagstaff, he took formal possession of the harbour and the district for the New Zealand Company. No public demonstration appears to have accompanied the conclusion of either of the subsequent deeds of purchase.
He called at Sydney on his way out from England, and, after taking the necessary oaths of office, sailed thence 14th January 1840, and arrived at the Bay of Islands on the 29th of page 2January, 1840. On the following day, the commission extending the limits of New South Wales so as to comprehend New Zealand, and appointing Captain Hobson Lieutenant-Governor over such parts of the Islands as had been or should hereafter be ceded in sovereignty to the British Crown, and the proclamation announcing the assertion of her Majesty's authority in New Zealand, and the illegality of any title to land not confirmed by the Crown, were formally read to the settlers assembled at or near the site of the present town of Russell.
Major Bunbury, of the 80th Regiment, arrived shortly afterwards, and Governor Hobson deemed it advisable to despatch this officer in H.M.S. Herald on the same errand to the most important portions of the Middle Island, Stewart's Island, and such portions of the Northern Island as were not already ceded to the Crown. Before, however, Captain Hobson could receive accounts of more than the partial success of his emissaries, intelligence reached him from authentic sources of the formation into a separate government of the settlers located at Port Nicholson under the auspices of the New Zealand Company, their election of a Council, and the appointment of Colonel Wakefield as its President.
The Governor, therefore, in consequence of the aspect of affairs, deemed it unadvisable to wait for Major Bunbury's report, but proclaimed the sovereignty of her Majesty, on the 21st of May, 1840, over the Northern Island by virtue of the Treaty of Waitangi, and over the Southern Island, on the same day, on the ground of discovery. [See Governor Hobson's. despatch to Secretary of State for the Colonies, May 25, 1840.]
Meanwhile Major Bunbury, after obtaining the signatures of the chiefs of those portions of the Northern Island which he had been instructed to visit, proceeded to the Middle Island, where he procured the assent of a sufficient number of the principal chiefs to warrant the assumption of the sovereignty of it by cession, and took possession of Stewart's Island on the 5th of June, 1840, by right of discovery.
In a despatch dated 28th January, 1841, Lord John Russell urges on Governor Hobson, that "the lands of the aborigines should be defined with all practicable and necessary precision on the general maps of the colony," and desires that tracts of land permanently retained for the use and occupation of the aborigines should be defined by Natural and indelible land marks, and should be inalienable, even in favour of the local Government. A sum amounting to not less than fifteen, nor more than twenty percent of the purchase money of all lands bought from the aborigines, was to be expended in "promoting the health, civilization, education, and spiritual care of the natives," on the recommendation of the Protector appointed by the Crown to watch over and superintend their affairs; such sums, when not immediately required, to be invested in the best securities which could be obtained in New Zealand, or in New South Wales, in the name of the Governor. The amount standing to the credit of the fund at the end of 1842 amounted to £4,110 16s. 2½d.; this amount, however, was chargeable with the expenses of the department for that year.
It would seem that the instructions of the Imperial Government were not adhered to with regard to the setting apart of the fifteen percent upon produce of land sales as the money which was to have been appropriated solely for the benefit of the natives was allowed by Governor Hobson to be swallowed up in the pressing requirements of his general administration. The amount of the surplus—£4,000, was entered by Mr. Shortland, the Officer Administering the Government after the death of Captain Hobson, upon the schedule of the debts of the colony which were to be paid by a vote of Parliament; but this item was struck out by the Commissioner of the Treasury, who refused to recognize it as part of such debt.
After the assumption of the Government by Governor FitzRoy, in December, 1843, the original instructions appear to have been entirely lost sight of in the difficulties that then prevailed in regard to the finance of the colony. The mode also of disposing of the waste lands outside the Company's settlements, under the ten shilling and penny-an-acre proclamations introduced by Governor FitzRoy, precluded the possibility of setting apart any of the proceeds of land sales to the aforesaid purpose.page 3
The Protectorate was subsequently abolished by Governor Grey, the office of Native Secretary being substituted instead.
With reference to the reserves made by the Company within their purchase for the natives, the 13th clause of the agreement transmitted to the Company by Lord John Russell, makes the following provision:—
It being also understood that the Company have entered into engagements for the reservation of certain lands for the benefit of the natives, it is agreed that in respect of all the lands so to be granted to the Company as aforesaid, reservations of such land shall be made for the benefit of the natives by her Majesty's Government in fulfilment of and according to the tenor of such stipulations, the Government reserving to themselves in respect of all other lands, to make such arrangements, as to them shall seem just and expedient, for the benefit of the natives.
The first proceedings under Mr. Spain took place at Wellington, on the 16th May, 1842, at which date the claims of the New Zealand Company to land to the north of Cook's Strait came on for hearing, amongst a number of others of a private character.
Commissioner Spain intended to have held a Court at Nelson, in June, 1843, to investigate the Company's claims to land on the Southern shores of Cook's Strait, but was prevented from doing so in consequence of the fatal affray with the natives at the Wairau.
In August, 1844, the Commissioner held a court at Nelson to investigate the aforesaid claims, and awarded the Company the whole of the land claimed with the exception of the Wairau.
The land on the southern shores of Cook's Strait that formed the subject of the aforesaid investigation, was claimed to have been purchased by the Company under two deeds of purchase from the natives. The first of these deeds was executed at Kapiti on the 25th October, 1839, by the chiefs Rauparaha, Rangihaeata, Hiko, and others, members of the Ngatitoa tribe; and the second was executed at Queen Charlotte's Sound, on the 8th November, 1839, by a large number of natives of the Ngatiawa tribe.
It was found on examination that, besides the articles alluded to in the deeds as forming the consideration paid by the Company for these lands to the signing parties, Captain Wakefield, immediately on his arrival with the preliminary expedition, assembled the resident natives of the several districts in the vicinity of Nelson, and made them presents of merchandize to the value of £980 15s.
A further payment of £800 was also made to the natives by the Company during the investigation, and sanctioned by Mr. Spain. This amount was apportioned amongst the natives as follows:—To the Motueka natives, £200; to the Wakatu, or Nelson, £200; to the Ngatiawa, £100; and a special payment to Ngapiko, a chief of Motueka, of £10; leaving a balance of £290 for the natives of Massacre Bay. These people on being visited, at Mr. Spain's request, by Mr. Clarke, the Protector of Aborigines, declined to receive the amount set apart for them, and it had, consequently, to be deposited in the Bank waiting their consent to accept it. The matter remained unsettled until 1846, when, through the aid of the Government Representative, Mr. Sinclair, P.M., the Church, and the Wesleyan Missionaries, the natives were at last induced to complete the sale of the land with the Resident Agent.
It would appear from the evidence adduced before Mr. Spain, that the natives had always looked upon the transaction with Captain Wakefield as an alienation of their rights and interest in the land treated for, more particularly the Motueka natives, who had stipulated at the time for the retention of their pahs and cultivations. Those conditions had been in a great measure complied with, by the allotment into native reserves of a considerable portion of the Big Wood in that district. This arrangement was ratified by Mr. Spain, who ultimately set apart sixteen of the New Zealand Company's sections, or 800 acres in all, for the use of the Motueka natives.
A grant was subsequently issued by Governor FitzRoy in favour of the Company, in terms of Mr. Spain's award, subject to the following reservations:—
All the pahs and burial-places, and grounds actually in cultivation by the natives situated within any of the above-described lands hereby granted, viz.: Wakatu, Waimea, Moutere, Motueka, and Massacre Bay; the limits of the pahs to be the ground fenced in around the adjoining houses, or huts without the fence; and the cultivations, being those tracts of land which are now used by the natives for vegetable productions, or which have been so used by any aboriginal natives of New Zealand since the establishment of the colony; and also excepting any portions of land within any of the lands hereinbefore described to which private claimants may have already proved, or may hereafter prove, that they had a vested claim prior to the purchase of the New Zealand Company.
The New Zealand Company, on hearing of the terms of the Nelson deed, took exception to it, in consequence of Governor FitzRoy having excepted for native reserves one-tenth of the land granted, such reservation being in opposition to the terms of the published prospectus of the settlement (dated February 15. 1841), wherein it was stated that the native reserves would be equal to one-tenth of the lands "offered for sale," that is, to one-eleventh of the entire scheme—land equal to one-tenth of the original quantity being added for that purpose.
The matter was afterwards represented to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who instructed Governor Grey to inquire into the subject of complaint, and take such measures for page 4the relief of the Company, if he found such representations correct, as was in his power to adopt.
In pursuance with these instructions, the Governor took steps to relieve the Company from the difficulties arising from the loose exceptions which had been made in the grants respecting native pahs and cultivations, &c., and a warrant was issued to the Attorney-General, directing that proper means should be taken for applying to the local Courts to annul the grants.
In 1848, a fresh grant was issued to the Company for the Nelson district. The new grant included, besides the land comprised within the limits of the award made by Mr. Spain, all the Wairau district, with the adjacent country purchased from the Ngatitoas, in 1847. Besides the native reserves in the Town of Nelson and in Motueka, including also a large block in the Wairau, the deed also excepted certain reserves for the natives in Massacre Bay, which had been previously surveyed in 1847 by the directions of the Government.
Prior to the issue of the fresh grant, the Government, on behalf of the Native Trust, had consented to relinquish forty-seven of the town reserves to the Company, under the arrangement entered into between the Company and the original landowners with regard to the terms of re-selection agreed on by a Committee appointed by the last-named body.
This reduced the town sections from 100, the original number, to fifty-three, or to one-tenth of the land within the Town of Nelson then actually sold. The large block of land in the Wairau district excepted from sale by the natives in 1847, was supposed to represent the extent of land they were entitled to within the Nelson settlement under the rural selections, consequently no other provision was made under that head. Unfortunately, however, for the interests of the trust, this land was included in the subsequent sale of the adjacent country by the natives, in 1853.
Although the block alluded to contained a very much larger proportion of land than the natives were entitled to, the want of proper precaution at the time caused a diminution in the estate of 15,000 acres, the original quantity set aside under the Nelson scheme as native reserves being 20,000 acres, viz.:—100 town sections of one acre each, 100 suburban sections of fifty acres each, and 100 rural sections of 150 acres each, out of which only 5,053 acres have been retained.
In 1845, an arrangement was made between Lord Stanley, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, and the French Company, to the effect that, in consideration of an alleged expenditure of £15,000 by the Company on the objects of colonization, a grant of 30,000 acres should be made to it, embracing such portions as the natives might admit the sale of to the Company, and as much more, if any, as might be necessary to make up 30,000 acres—the latter portion to be obtained by the intervention of an officer of the local Government, whom the Governor was directed to depute for the purpose of assisting the Agent of the Company in effecting an arrangement with the natives, and acquiring quiet possession of the land. Subsequently, a block of 30,000 acres, including the Heads, the harbours of Akaroa and Pigeon Bay, was marked out for the Company, and the survey was commenced by Mr. Octavius Carrington, in 1849.
After some considerable delay in endeavouring to settle the French Company's claim, the New Zealand Company, in the month of June, 1849, succeeded in purchasing the entire property and interest of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, for £4,500. This was looked on as an advantageous arrangement by the New Zealand Company, as it finally put an end to the whole of the French Company's claims within the colony.
At that time the "land fever," in its different phases of "sharking," "jobbing," and bona fide speculation, literally raged in New Zealand. Almost every captain of a ship on arriving at Sydney from New Zealand, exhibited a piece of paper with a tatooed native head rudely drawn on it, which he described as the title deed of an estate bought for a few muskets, hatchets, or blankets. Other captains were liberally supplied in Sydney with blank "Deeds of Feoffment," for use in these purchases; and, as the Government had fixed a price of five shillings, and afterwards twelve shillings per acre on land in Australia, adventurers crowded to New Zealand, hoping there, under cover of the Declaration of Independence of 1835, to pursue their schemes with impunity.page 5
Amongst other claimants to land in the southern portion of the colony, Mr. Wentworth, of New South Wales, asserted his right to 20,100,000 acres in the Middle Island; Catlin and Co., 7,000,000; Weller and Co., 3,557,000; Jones and Co., 1,930,000; Peacock and Co., 1,450,000; Green and Co., 1,377,000; Guard and Co., 1,200,000; and the New Zealand Company to 20,000,000 acres.
One Company, consisting of four gentlemen, claimed the Middle Island, excepting all previously sold, in consideration of giving the chiefs a few hundred pounds in money, and a life annuity of £100 per annum.
In January, 1840, Sir George Gipps, the Governor of New South Wales, within whose jurisdiction New Zealand had been placed, in order to put a stop to these illegal proceedings issued a proclamation, prohibiting all future purchases of lands from the natives, and at the same time intimating that a commission would be appointed to investigate all purchases already made.
This proclamation was promulgated by Governor Hobson, on his arrival in January, 1840; and in August in the same year, the Governor and Council of New South Wales passed an Act under which Commissioners were appointed to inquire strictly into all the circumstances under which land was said to have been purchased by British subjects from the New Zealanders. By a provision of this Act, 2,560 acres were fixed upon as the largest quantity that any individual could retain in virtue of cession from the natives, and legal title could only be issued by the Representative of the Crown; to obtain which, it would be necessary to prove that a reasonable consideration had been given to the native proprietors.
The rate of sufficient payment was fixed as follows:—
|Between the years 1815 and 1824||6d.per acre|
|" " 1825 " 1829||6d. to 8d. per acre|
|" " 1830 " 1834||8d. " 1s. "|
|" " 1835 " 1836||1s. " 2s. "|
|" " 1837 " 1838||2s. " 4s. "|
|and in the year 1839||4s. " 8s. "|
On the 9th June, 1841, an Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council, at Auckland, to repeal the Act of 1840 passed on behalf of New Zealand by the Governor and Council of New South Wales, and to terminate any Commission issued under the authority of the said Act, New Zealand having since been made independent of New South Wales.
The new Ordinance enacted that:—
All unappropriated lands within the colony of New Zealand, subject, however, to the rightful and necessary occupation and use thereof by the aboriginal inhabitants of the said colony, are and remain Crown domain lands of her Majesty, her heirs and successors, and that the sole and absolute right of pre-emption from the said aboriginal inhabitants vests in, and can only be exercised by, her Majesty, her heirs and successors.
All titles to land, however obtained, "either mediately or immediately from chiefs or individuals of the aboriginal tribes," unless allowed by the Crown, were declared absolutely null and void. Under another clause the Governor was empowered to appoint Commissioners to hear, examine, and report on claims to grants of land in virtue of titles acquired from the natives, such claims to be made, at latest, within twelve months from the date of the Ordinance.
The Commissioners were to be authorized to summon witnesses, and to punish, by fine or imprisonment, those who should fail to appear, or refuse to give evidence. The rate of purchase between the years 1815 and 1839, was to be the same as that fixed by the New South Wales Act of September, 1843, but 50 percent was added above these rates for persons not personally resident in New Zealand, or not having a resident agent there. Goods, when given to the natives in barter for land, were to be estimated at three times their selling price in Sydney at the time. A scale of fees to be paid by land claimants was scheduled with the Ordinance, and Major Richmond and Colonel Godfrey, who had been previously selected by Sir George Gipps, were re-appointed Land Commissioners by Governor Hobson.
Up to the 1st August, 1841, about 600 claims to land in all parts of the colony had been referred by the Governor to the Commissioners for hearing, some of which had regard to small patches of ground, others to millions of acres, the rights of different parties being in many instances asserted to the same tracts of land.
All awards recommended by the Commissioners, on being approved by the Governor, were notified in the Government Gazette. Subsequently to these proceedings Governor FitzRoy, who succeeded Governor Hobson in the Government of New Zealand, appointed a new Commissioner, and, without the cases being further reheard the former decisions were reversed, the result being that several hundred grants of land were issued to the land claimants, some of which conveyed to the grantees a greater quantity of land than they claimed to have purchased from the native owners.
In consequence of the complications caused by these proceedings, Governor Grey, in 1849, considered it expedient, with a view to the final adjustment of the whole matter, to have recourse to the Legislature to pass an Act to quiet the titles to these lands, and an Ordinance was accordingly passed for that purpose, which received her Majesty's confirmation.
In 1856 a fresh Act was passed extending the time for purchasers to lodge their claims, and for the appointment of Commissioners to carry it into effect. Another Act was also passed by the Assembly, in 1858, for the same purpose.
Many persons who claimed to have purchased lands from the natives, in consequence of refusing to acknowledge the power of the Commissioners, never obtained their lands.
With regard to the extent claimed by the various claimants throughout the colony, Mr. Commissioner Bell, in his Report on the Settlement of Land Claims, dated 8th July, 1862, stated as follows:—
The total area originally estimated to have been comprised in all the claims cannot be accurately ascertained. In many cases the extent of the claim was not stated. In some the contents were estimated in round page 6numbers by millions of acres, or by degrees of latitude and longitude, or by the expression "as far as a cannon shot will reach." So far as can be estimated, however, after excluding the last mentioned classes, the particulars as given in the return show a total of 10,322,453 acres.
And under the head of Payments given to Natives, he states:—
This is one of the most curious features in the story of the claims. It appears that payments to the value of upwards of £95 000 were made by Europeans to natives for the purchase of land; yet this sum, though it includes all that can be ascertained with tolerable certainty, by no means represents the whole amount which was paid away. In many cases the consideration given to the natives was not stated by the claimants, and will never be known; payments, amounting in the whole to a large sum, were wholly rejected by the investigating Commissioners as having been given to the natives after Sir George Gipps' proclamation of 14th January, 1840; and another large sum never appeared at all, being the price given to original claimants by derivative purchasers from them. The amount of payments given in old land claims was £88,373 17s. 10d.; in pre-emptive claims, £6,841 4s. 2d.; the two sums making together a total of £95,215 2s. Out of this total, the sum of £85,447 1s. 6d. has been formally proved before various Commissioners to have been expended. A considerable proportion of this consisted of ready money or cattle; the residue comprised merchandize of different kinds. It will be remembered by all who are interested in the subject, that the rule of the original Land Claims Ordinances of 1840 and 1841, repeated in the Act of 1856, was to estimate the value of goods given in barter for land at three times the selling price of such goods in Sydney. This was by no means an extravagant allowance; on the contrary it barely represented the real value. The first Commissioners' instructions informed them, that this multiplication by three was to include commission, freight, risks, presents, passage-money, charter of vessels, and every other kind of expense. If the amount of the charges, and especially the risk in those days, be taken into consideration, it will probably be allowed that trade was worth at least three times in New Zealand what it was worth in Sydney; perhaps in the early years of the irregular settlement of Europeans in the North it may have been worth a great deal more. It is an essential point, of course, whether the Commissioners adopted a moderate scale as the standard of estimating Sydney prices; and it may safely be said that the scale they adopted was very fair. In the case of the pre-emptive claims, no such multiplication was made; and the payments when given in goods are estimated at the actual value of those goods in the New Zealand market. On the whole, I have myself no doubt whatever that the sum of £95,215 above stated, fairly represents the amount of money or money's worth which passed into the hands of the natives in the purchase of land, exclusive of sums which cannot now be ascertained.
In addition to the payments given to the natives, it must be remembered that the claimants incurred great expenses in proving the claims before the various Commissioners. The amount which the original claimants paid to Commissioners Godfrey, Richmond, and Spain, including the fees on the issue of grants, was £4,832 15s. Id.; the amount paid by the pre-emptive claimants, including the assessment of 5s. an acre under Sir George Grey's "Minute," of August, 1847, was £2,520 8s. 5d.; and the amount paid by all classes of claimants under the operation of the Land Claims Acts of 1856-8, was £5,786 4s. 2d.; together amounting to the sum of £13,179 7s. 8d., to which must be added the value of the surveys effected at their cost, as will be referred to in the next section.
Taking the amount of payments to natives and the amount of fees and payments to the Commissioners, the total under these two heads reaches no less a sum than £108,394 9s. 8d. Averaging it over the whole area of the claims as surveyed, the rate per acre contrasts favourably with the payments made by the Crown in the acquisition of territory, and shows that in fact the claimants paid more for extinguishing native title than the Government did.
With reference to land claims in the Southern Island, Mr. Shortland, Sub-Protector of Aborigines, who was engaged with Mr. Commissioner Godfrey in investigating these claims, writes as follows:—
Several claimants of small tracts of land, in some cases merely a few acres, came from the neighbourhood of Foveaux Strait to establish their titles. There appeared little doubt that they had generally given ample consideration, and they were never likely to be disturbed in their possession, having been resident thereon for many years. These persons all presented parchment deeds with fine seals drawn up in the forms in use in Sydney or England, which were probably nearly as unintelligible to them as to the New Zealanders, who of course could never have understood them.
The history of their origin, and of how they got them, was rather amusing. A lawyer's clerk, finding a temporary absence from Sydney convenient, conceived the idea that, as there was at the time a great rage for buying land in New Zealand, he might employ his time to advantage in that country. He therefore prepared a number of these perchment deeds, leaving blank spaces for the names of places and persons, and with them visited various parts of the coast. He seldom failed to find willing purchasers at five guineas the deed.
Though such documents could fairly have no intrinsic value in the eyes of any sensible person if unconfirmed by the original proprietors of the soil, they had, I was assured, been found very useful at Sydney. These land speculations were then in fashion, and their formal appearance, with the addition of a tatooed face subscribed in place of a signature, gave them a marketable value. In many cases goods to a large amount were sent to New Zealand, without any security that they would ever be paid for other than by the deposit of such documents as described above.
Of the claims to extensive tracts of land only a part was investigated. The rest had been probably abandoned as untenable, now that it was found they were to be examined thoroughly, or because they had become part of bankrupt estates as they had in some cases, and had thus fallen under the neglect to which property so circumstanced is often sacrificed.
The claimants however of this class, or their agents who were present, could generally give no more description of the boundaries which they claimed than that contained in the deeds, which was often no more than a certain number of miles along the sea coast from a named point, the extent inland being as far as the hills, or else far enough to make up the number of acres claimed. The names of places given were often those by which they were better known to whalers and sealers than to the natives themselves.
The internal evidence therefore which they offered was, that they could never have been derived from native dictation; indeed, that they could with difficulty have been made intelligible to the natives whose signatures were attached, even by a person who had an entire knowledge of the language. The only means, therefore, of obtaining a tolerably accurate description, was to refer to the natives present for a statement of the boundaries of the land they acknowledged to have sold. In one instance, it was evident that the claimant was thereby given even a larger number of acres than he demanded. This, however, was a peculiar case, for he had been long resident in the country, and had paid at different times a very large amount of property to the natives. He was, besides, on friendly terms with them, so that they were anxious to deal generously by him.
It appeared, at the same time, from observations made by the natives, even when they showed a desire to give evidence favourable to the claimants, that most of the monster claims had originated simply in the purchase of a right to occupy sufficient ground for a whaling station, and to [unclear: along] a certain extent of coast to the exclusion of all others within a reasonable distance of the station.
The nature of their tenure was, in the first place, what the natives term "He noho noa iho," which is about equivalent to a "squatting lease" in New South Wales; in fact, one expression is almost a translation of the other.
When it seemed probable that New Zealand would, at no distant period become a British colony, there naturally arose a desire to substitute for this holding one of a more permanent class, and by the payment of page 7property of comparatively trifling value it was not very difficult to obtain the signature of a few chiefs, who in some instances were at the time on a visit at Sydney, to deeds of the nature above described.
It was, indeed, affirmed by the natives on several occasions, that the coast boundary set forth by the claimant only defined the extent of his right by sea; whereas he would have made it serve for the base line which was to determine the extent of his property on shore.
Among the claims not examined by the Government, was one of a million of acres in the neighbourhood of Banks' Peninsula, alleged to have been purchased from a single native called Kolok. I was for a long time unable to discover who Kolok could be, but at last found that it was the whalers' pronounciation of "Koroko," an old chief residing at Waikouaiti. I afterwards inquired of him, how he could have thought of selling so much land which could not possibly have belonged to him? His reply was characteristic: He had heard that the natives residing at Koukourarata (Port Levy) and Hakaroa had sold land to which he also had a claim—for he was one of those who had removed to the South through fear of Te Rauparaha—without asking his consent, or sending him any part of the payment; he therefore sold the whole district, to show them his displeasure. (He wakahe i a ratou.)
On the Commissioner, whose duty it was to examine and report on these claims, a serious responsibility rested. The local Government trusted to him for faithful and correct information, on receiving which would give the claimant a grant to a greater or less number of acres, whatever the real nature of the claim, whether fairly bought from all the original native proprietors or not, and it would, when fortified by such authority, have a greatly increased value in the eyes of the public.
It appeared most probable that the claimants of large tracts would, on obtaining the much desired Crown Grants, divide and sell their property to a class of persons who were more likely to become resident proprietors. Now, should there be any flaw in the title derived from the native vendors, should it turn out that there was in reality a considerable number of natives who had a just title to, and were then perhaps in actual possession of the soil, who at the same time had never been consulted as to the sale, or received any share of the payment— the unwary purchaser, under the idea that the title (a Crown Grant) must, from its nature, be unexceptionable, would find, on going to the Government, either that he could not get possession at all, or that he must, at any rate, pay for the land a second time.
In all cases a large proportion of the lands claimed were at a distance from the place where the Commissioner held his court. It was certain that the claimants would not, if they could help it, bring forward native evidence unfavourable to themselves, and it was often highly probable there were other native proprietors of the soil that had never been parties to its sale, who perhaps were seated quietly at home ignorant of what was passing before the Commissioner, or, if they heard that some other natives had sold their land to the "pakeha," it accorded rather with their habits to bide quiet till he came to take possession, and then get up and defend their right.
Besides the claimants then, and the natives present in court, there were two other classes of persons interested, viz., absentee natives who had valid claims, and the honest unsuspicious settler who might become a purchaser with the intention of occupying his estate with his family, and thus proving a valuable member of the colony, and these two classes were assuredly equally deserving with the former of the benevolent consideration of the Government, if not more so.
It was, moreover, but fair to those who had justly purchased their lands, and had therefore good and undisputed claims to them, that due precautions should be taken before the issue of a Crown Grant; for if thereafter, it frequently occurred that persons who purchased land under such a title could not obtain undisputed possession of their estate, a discredit would fall alike on all similar titles, as it would be impossible for the public to distinguish between the "good" and the "bad." It would then be discovered, that the only persons benefitted by an extensive and indiscriminate distribution of Crown Grants were those who, having made hasty and imperfect purchases from natives incompetent to give a good title, had resorted to the unwary newly-arrived colonist on the first opportunity, whereupon this latter class of persons, who it is to be feared might be numerous, would be injured most unjustly, and perhaps ruinously, as well as all those who, having originally made good purchases from the natives had retained their lands in possession, and who, if subsequently they wished to sell, would find their property depreciated in value by the discredit which had fallen generally on all titles of similar origin.
In conformity with these instructions, Captain Hobson, shortly after his arrival in New Zealand, met assemblies of the natives at Waitangi (in the Bay of Islands), and Hokianga, and induced them to agree to the treaty, which has been named after the former place.
By the second article of this instrument, which was officially promulgated and laid before Parliament—
Her Majesty the Queen of England confers and guarantees to the chiefs and tribes of New Zealand, and to the respective families and individuals thereof, the full, exclusive, and individual possession of their lands, estates, forests, fisheries, and other properties which they may collectively or individually possess, so long as it is their wish to retain the same in their possession; but the chiefs of the united tribes, and the individual chiefs, yield to her Majesty the exclusive right of pre-emption to such lands as the proprietors thereof may be disposed to alienate, at such prices as may be agreed upon between the respective proprietors and persons appointed by her Majsety to treat with them in this behalf.
The right of pre-emption being vested in her Majesty by the aforesaid treaty, no persons could legally purchase land from the natives after 1840 without permission or license from the Crown, or according to the rules prescribed by colonial laws. The acquirement of native land had also been interdicted prior to the promulgation of the treaty, by a proclamation issued by Sir George Gipps, in January, 1840. The settlement of the country, and the establishment of British sovereignty, of necessity effected a great change in the status of the New Zealand tribes. The assumption of the sovereignty of the islands under the provisions of the Treaty of Waitangi, extinguished the separate nationalities that existed prior to its promulgation; while page 8at the same time it saved all their proprietary rights, and, subject to her Majesty's right of pre-emption, confirmed to the native land owners the power of alienation which they had already begun to exercise.
It is very doubtful whether, previously to the arrival of Europeans, the aborigines had any notions at all of the absolute alienation of territory. The very idea which belongs to contracts for the transfer of land as private property had been unknown in New Zealand until 1814, when Mr. Marsden, of the Church Missionary Society, desirous of obtaining a site for the first missionary establishment at the Bay of' Islands according to the forms of European law, carried with him a technical deed of feoffment prepared by lawyers at Sydney. This instrument became the model of a vast number of contracts for the sale of land to Europeans, between that date and the establishment of the colony in 1840.
The preliminary steps taken for the arrangement of claims to land acquired before the date of the treaty, have already been detailed in dealing with the subject on land claims.
The New Zealand Company's purchases from the natives having been made antecedent to the treaty, were also dealt with under these arrangements by a special commissioner despatched from England to investigate their titles.
Very little land appears to have been purchased from the natives by the Government during the first year or two after the establishment of the colony. This inaction caused considerable dissatisfaction amongst the natives, as it deprived them of one of their chief sources of obtaining money, a circumstance that was seized on by interested persons as a means of creating discontent in the minds of the natives with the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi, as this measure had interfered materially with the projects of these land speculators.
Governor FitzRoy, shortly after his arrival in the colony, in 1843, found the natives clamorous to be allowed to sell their land; while acknowledging their obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi, they urged bitterly the injustice of the Government in refusing either to, buy of them, or to permit them to sell to others. The Government at this time, although the natives offered to dispose of their land, had neither money nor credit to enable them to purchase.
In compliance with these entreaties, the Governor, in March, 1844, considered it advisable to waive the Crown's right of pre-emption, and permit a regular system of purchase between the settlers and the natives under certain restrictions. Under the terms of a proclamation issued on the 26th of the same month, all applications were to be sent into the Government, stating the particulars of the proposed purchase. The right of sale, however, was to be excluded of any pahs, burial grounds, and cultivated lands then in use, and one-tenth of all lands so purchased was to be reserved for the benefit of the natives, the purchaser to pay to the Crown four shillings per acre, and bear the expense of the survey on nine-tenths of the land, on receiving the consent of the Government to waive the Crown's right, and on the issue of the grant a further payment of six shillings to be made, in all ten shillings per acre, as a contribution to the land fund.
The measure thus adopted, was understood to be limited to the districts adjacent to Auckland.
These terms, however, were not deemed sufficiently liberal by land speculators, and only a small quantity of land was purchased in consequence. At the same time, the natives were induced to believe that the Treaty of Waitangi was a deception to deprive them of their land, and that the recent proclamation was a badge of slavery. A sham display of strength was accordingly got up by the natives, at the instigation of interested individuals, to induce the Government to withdraw the obnoxious proclamation and permit the sale of land on easier terms.
In October, 1844, another proclamation was issued, known as the penny-an-acre proclamation, doing away with the payment of fees to the Crown for consenting to waive the right of pre-emption, and making a fee payable on the issue of the Crown grant, at the rate of one penny an acre. These measures, although tacitly assented to in the first place by the Imperial Government, were afterwards disallowed.
Both these proclamations enabled private individuals to purchase land in the vicinity of Auckland which Government should have done, and about 90,000 acres were purchased from the natives under the latter.
It was expected the penny-an-acre proclamation would have restored prosperity to the country, and allure emigrants from Australia to settle in New Zealand, but the unsatisfactory condition of the colony at the time discouraged people from coming.
The landowners in the New Zealand Company's settlements complained bitterly of the reductions in the price of land, as they had invested their capital and industry to a considerable extent in these settlements under the supposition that the minimum price (20s. per acre) of waste land was secure from being tampered with. With regard to the reduction in the minimum price of land occasioned by the aforesaid regulations, the Directors of the Company also expressed a wish that the Imperial Government, in justice to the parties who had purchased from the Crown at the minimum price named, and also to the Company, should peremptorily declare that henceforward no native should sell land to anyone but the Government, and that in all purchases made under Captain FitzRoy's proclamation the purchasers should only be entitled to an acre for every pound, including the payment to the natives, together with the ten shillings, or the penny paid to the Government, as the case might be. With reference to this suggestion, Lord Stanley stated that be could not disturb the purchases already made under these proclamations; that a further communication had been addressed to Governor Grey in connection with the instructions already given, and to remove any apprehension that existed on this subject in regard to that and other points raised, the Governor had also been instructed to waive the Crown's right of pre-emption, in order to facilitate the acquisition of land by the Company. In conformity with these instructions, the Governor issued a proclamation in February, 1846, waiving the Crown's right of pre-emption, until further notice be given, in page 9favour of the New Zealand Company, and of no other persons, of all lands and rights belonging to the natives within such portions of the Northern and Middle Islands, commonly known as the Company's districts.
The right of pre-emption had been previously waived by Governor FitzRoy, in February, 1844, over 150,000 acres in the Middle Island in favour of the Company, to enable them to found the Otago settlement, the particulars of which purchase will be found hereafter. A waiver of pre-emption was also made about the same time over 150,000 acres of land at Wairarapa, and 250,000 acres elsewhere within the limits of the Company's diatricts, and Mr. Commissioner Spain was instructed to assist the Company's Agent in effecting a purchase. These purchases, however, were subsequently prevented by the proclamation issued in 1844, authorizing the purchase of land direct from the natives on paying to the Crown a fee of one penny per acre, and by the suspension of the Company's operations.
With a view to facilitate the operations of the New Zealand Company in their selection of land, and to expedite the issue of a Crown grant for the land acquired by them on both sides of Cook's Strait, Colonel M'Cleverty was despatched in January, 1846, by the Imperial Government as a Commissioner to assist the Company in that respect, and to judge of the reasonableness of any purchase they might make from the natives.
Lord Stanley, in a despatch to Governor Grey, under date August 14, 1845, On the subject of the aforesaid proclamations, disapproved of the regulations established by the proclamation of the 10th October, 1844, and states the reason that instructions were not issued to peremptorily put an end to the practice, was the fear of alienating the natives at the then critical state of the colony, but that the practice was to be put a stop to as soon as it was practicable to do so.
With regard to the ten-shilling-an-acre proclamation of March 26, 1844, its operation was to be confined to the north of a line drawn from Cape Kidnapper (in Hawke's Bay), running slightly west until it met the Ruahine range, then along the range to the mountain of Rangitoto, and thence down the River Mokau to the port of Mokau. Lord Stanley also expressed himself unfavourable to its continuance at all, if it was possible to put an end to it, preferring instead that the Crown's right of pre-emption should be maintained, as conceded by the Treaty of Waitangi.
The ten-shilling-an-acre proclamation was sanctioned by her Majesty's Government in reference to the particular district defined by Lord Stanley, and the penny-an-acre proclamation was confirmed to the extent of sales sanctioned under it by Governor FitzRoy.
Governor Grey was subsequently informed, that her Majesty had disallowed the proclamations of the 26th March, 1844, the 10th October, 1844, and the notice of the 7th December, 1844; such disallowance not to prejudice any acts which may have been done in strict pursuance of the proclamations of the 26th March, 1844, antecedent to the receipt of the despatch conveying these instructions, or any acts which may have been done in strict pursuance of and under the authority of the proclamation of the 10th October, 1844, antecedent to the receipt by, the then Governor of New Zealand, of Lord Stanley's despatch of the 27th June, 1845. All chaims to be referred to the Attorney-General to report on, and no Crown grant to be prepared in favour of any claimant without being previously certified by the Attorney-General that the terms of the proclamation had been complied with.
The regulations subsequently adopted by the Governor in regard to land acquired under the aforesaid proclamations, are contained in the subjoined extract from a Minute of his Excellency to the Legislative Council, August 7,1847:—
The regulations the Government intend to adopt are as follows:—The Government will isssue at once to all claimants under the ten-shilling-an-acre proclamation (who complied strictly with the terms of the Government notice of the 15th June, 1846), and whose claims have already been investigated or may hereafter be investigated by the Commissioner and favourably reported upon by him, absolute Crown grants in the usual form, on payment, within one month from the report of the Commissioner the remainder of the fees due. The grants to include the reserved tenths (at £1 an acre), in any case where the whole quantity granted does not exceed 200 acres.
The same rule will be extended to the penny-an-acre claimants for blocks not exceeding 500 acres (whether the land be cultivated or not) whose claims have been or may hereafter be favourably reported upon by the Commissioner, on their paying 5s. an acre within the same period of time, the quantity granted in any case not to exceed 500 acres.
The steps taken by Governor Grey for effecting a settlement of claims arising out of the aforesaid proclamations, were subsequently confirmed by her Majesty's Government, in 1848.
A large proportion of the land within a radius of seven miles of Auckland was claimed under the ten-shilling and penny-an-acre proclamations, and even to within a radius of twelve miles but a very small portion of the land remained unclaimed under the penny-an-acre regulations.
The right of pre-emption being vested in her Majesty by the Treaty of Waitangi, and certain Acts and Ordinances having been passed prohibiting private individuals from acquring native lands under penalty, a system of land purchasing was commenced by the Government, in 1847, and continued till May 17,1865, at which date it was done away with by proclamation. The Native Lands Act, of 1862, permitting the natives to alienate their lands by private sale or otherwise, having been confirmed by her Majesty, the continuance of the Land Purchase Department, by which, prior to its enactment, the cession of native lands to the Crown had heretofore been conducted, was rendered unnecessary.
The land purchases made from the natives in the South Island comprise two classes: first, those made from the Ngatitoa chiefs, as conquerors of the country; secondly, those made from the resident natives.
The total sum paid in both cases for the extinguishment of the native title in the South, between the years 1844 and 1867, amounted to £27,489, inclusive of the sum of £1,800 paid to the natives in goods and specie by the New Zealand Company for land in the Nelson settlement on the arrival of the preliminary expedition, and £560 paid by Major Richmond, in 1852, page 10for the purchase of a block of land in Massacre Bay, the particulars of which are not included in the abstract of purchases effected.
As it is proposed to deal separately with the whole of the purchases in the order in which they are arranged, it is not necessary to enlarge further upon the subject.
In the purchases effected at various times throughout the Southern Island, care has been taken to secure to the natives adequate portions of valuable land in eligible situations, under arrangements that would secure them against their own inexperience and improvidence.
The total quantity of land reserved for the use of the natives in the Southern Island, according to a computation made by Major Heaphy, in 1870, amounts to 121,733 acres. This quantity averaged over the whole of the native population in the Middle and Stewart's Island, gives 53½ acres to each individual. But besides the reserves set apart for the natives, they are also possessed of land to the extent of 51,170 acres in the Province of Nelson. This quantity, if considered along with the reserves, brings up the proportion to each native in the Province of Nelson to 226¾ acres, and to each native in the Middle and Stewart's Island to 101¾ acres.
In February, 1844, Governor FitzRoy waived the Crown's right of pre-emption over 150,000 acres of land in the Middle Island, and instructed Mr. John Jermyn Symonds, Assistant Police Magistrate at Wellington, to assist the Company's agent in effecting a purchase from the natives. On the 31st July of the same year, a purchase was effected of 400,000 acres at Otago, for the sum of £2,400, comprising all the tracts of country bounded by the range of hills lying to the north of Otago harbour, and extending as far south as Tokata Point, near the Nuggets; the Maungaatua range, and Kaihiku, being the western boundary. Out of this block the Company were to select the 150,000 over which the Crown's right of pre-emption had been waived, and to re-convey the remainder to the Crown.
The deed of conveyance was prepared by Mr. Symonds, and Mr. Clarke, the Protector of Aborigines, and signed by twenty-five of the principal natives in their presence.
Three exceptions were made within the block for the natives, viz., at Otago Heads, Taieri, and Te Karoro, containing in the aggregate land to the extent of 9,320 acres; one acre was also reserved for them at Pukekuru, within the block reserved by the Company as a site for a lighthouse.
Independent of the general reserves thus made, it was evidently intended at the time to select special native reserves, as contemplated in the scheme of the other New Zealand Company's settlements; on which point Mr. Symonds, in his report on the purchase, dated 2nd September, 1844, writes as follows:—
I pursued the course as regards native reserves, from the firm conviction that the system heretofore adopted in other purchases of large tracts was beyond the comprehension of the aborigines, and, at the suggestion of Colonel Wakefield, I left the farther choice of reserves, namely, the tenth part of all land sold by the New Zealand Company, to be decided by his Excellency the Governor, without making any express stipulation with the natives on the subject.
Colonel Wakefield, in his report to the Secretary of the Company, under date 31st August, 1844, alludes also to the matter in this wise:—
Two other points there are of special application to the Governor: the one, respecting the future disposal of the residue of the block beyond the 150,000 acres to be selected by the 'Company; the other, as to the special native reserves as in the other settlements, not contemplated in the Company's New Edinburgh scheme, which cannot be made till the surveys are completed and selections made.
Major Richmond, the Superintendent of the Southern Division, also, in his letter of the 23rd May, 1844, to Governor FitzRoy, reporting on Mr. Symonds's proceedings in relation to the aforesaid purchase, suggests "that, when the choice of sections is being made, it will be necessary to have an officer on the spot to select reserves for the Government and natives;" and states his intention to appoint Mr. Symonds (unless previously instructed to the contrary) to make the selection.
Mr. Tuckett, in transmitting to Colonel Wakefield the offer of such a valuable district at so inconsiderable a price (£2,400), expressed his conviction that it would be good policy on the part of the Company in the scheme of their future settlement, to appropriate as much as sixpence per acre to the remuneration of the natives, to be paid in four annual instalments. It would seem, however, that Colonel Wakefield did not concur in the proposition, as, judging from the tone of his letter of August, 1844, he appeared to be of opinion that the purchase-money already given was more than adequate.
In April, 1846, an unconditional grant was executed to the New Zealand Company of the entire block of 400,000 acres, excluding the land reserved to the natives, the Company engaging within a limited time to select the 150,000 acres proposed, and also such further quantity thereof as they may desire, and to re-convey the remainder to the Crown.
The first settlers sailed for Otago in November, 1847, under the direction of Captain Cargill, the agent of the Otago Association, who was also appointed the Company's agent there. In May and November, 1847, the Association issued regulations, or terms of purchase, and others on the 13th April, 1848, for all of which other regulations were substituted by the New Zealand Company, in August, 1849, by order of the Court of Directors. With reference to page 11the last named regulations, Mr. M'Glashan, in his letter of July 24, 1850, to Earl Grey, suggests that instead of Articles 8 and 8, the committee of the Association recommend that the following articles be added at the end of the terms of purchase, viz.:—
The Association reserves to itself the right of selecting and appropriating all such lands in the ports and harbours of the settlement as may be required for wharves, landing places, jetties, or other objects of public utility and convenience.
In reply to which, Mr. Hawes, writing on behalf of the Secretary of State, under date August 2, 1850, states "that Earl Grey is not at present able to give an answer to these propositions, as they involve one or two legal points."
On the 5th July, 1850, the New Zealand Company surrendered their charter and the whole of the lands in their possession, subject to existing contracts, became demesne lands of the Crown by virtue of the Act 10 and 11 Victoria, chap.112, and subject to the Instructions of 1846, respecting Crown lands within the colony, as amended by the additional Instructions of the 12th August 1850.
The Attorney-General and Solicitor-General were of opinion, that the terms of purchase of August, 1849, constituted a contract subsisting in regard to part of the land of the Company on July 5th, 1850, and that the land of the Company remained, subject to that contract, in the hands of her Majesty as demesne lands of the Crown.
In August, 1850, Captain Cargill was appointed to act as agent for her Majesty's Government in the Otago settlement; but, in the meanwhile, the Emigration Commissioners were appointed to receive the money of any persons desirous of purchasing, and Lord Grey expressed his willingness to entertain the proposal of the Committee of Management to grant a charter to the Otago Association, but while anxious to give them all the encouragement in his power, there were various legal and other points which required to be adjusted, before it could be settled whether the object they had in view would admit of being carried into execution in the manner proposed. While, however, the matter was thus pending, Sir George Grey (see Despatch from Earl Grey to Governor Grey, March 19th, 1851) "was instructed to conduct the affairs of the settlement, as far as they would devolve upon him, according to the principle laid down in the Law Officer's opinion, interfering as little as possible with the course of management which may have been already established by the New Zealand Company."
The Otago Association was bound to the Company to sell and settle 144,600 acres in five years, but failed to sell more than a twelfth of the stipulated quantity. A number of the Otago settlers, in August, 1851, petitioned Earl Grey not to grant a charter to the Association; and, on the 23rd November, 1852, that body ceased to have control over the land within the original Otago block, as will be seen by the substance of the following instructions from Sir J. Pakington to Governor Grey, dated 15th December, 1852:—
You will observe, that although the terms of purchase of the Otago settlement have now expired by reason of the Association's inability to sell the stipulated quantity of land, and although the legal control over the land has consequently devolved on her Majesty under the provisions of the Constitution Act, it has nevertheless been thought by her Majesty's Government that the land should continue to be administered in general conformity with the terms hitherto subsisting, until the General Assembly shall otherwise determine.
Mr. Mantell, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, was consequently directed by letter from Mr. Domett, the Civil Secretary, dated 22nd June, 1853, to administer the Waste Lands in conformity with the aforesaid instructions. The sale of the unsold portion of the block of 144,600 acres, which formed the original Otago settlement, was to be conducted in accordance with the "Terms of Purchase of 1849" relating to that settlement; and the sums paid into the Treasury on account of these sales were to be distinguished from moneys derived from land sold subject to the conditions of a later proclamation, in order that the proportion set apart under the Otago scheme for public purposes might be reserved accordingly; and all other lands within the Otago district, with the exception of the above-named block, were to be sold under the Government Regulations of the 4th March, 1853.
As early as 1857, an attempt bad been made by the Provincial authorities to obtain a Crown grant for this reserve; and again, after the period above alluded to, the Government of Otago made application to the General Government to have the property handed over for Provincial purposes, on the ground that the land, before being constituted a native reserve, had formed part of the town of Dunedin, and had been divided into allotments for sale, then withdrawn and set apart for harbour purposes. This, however, appeared a mere matter of intention on the part of the original founders of the settlement, as no instrument could be found which could be considered to have the effect of dedicating the land formally to such an object. It is contended also, that if the New Zealand Company had a discretionary power as to the specific mode of dealing with the land, which may be inferred from the fact that a portion of the same shore, withdrawn from sale, was afterwards appropriated as an endowment for the Presbyterian Church, which now holds it. This appropriation was done by Act of General Assembly—the Kirk having got occupation of it at an early period through the local agent of the New Zealand page 12Company, whose powers however to make such appropriation, without sanction of the Board of Directors, were more than doubtful. The Crown, which succeeded to the rights of the Company, had a like power. Moreover, in setting apart this land as a native reserve, it would appear that Governor Grey was only performing a tardy act of justice to the native sellers, as there was an evident intention on the part of the authorities, at the time the Otago purchase was effected, to set apart special native reserves within the Town of Dunedin—as soon as the town was surveyed—to be selected on the same principle as had obtained in the other settlements of the Company, but not contemplated in their New Edinburgh scheme; such reserves to be made by the direction of the Governor (see Captain Symonds' Report on the purchase of the Otago block, page 102, and Colonel Wakefield's Report to the Secretary of the Company, dated 31st August, 1844).
Mr. Harington, the Secretary to the Company, in communicating to the Principal Agent the amended terms of purchase for the Otago Association block, also distinctly admits, on the part of the Company, the right of the Local Government to make reserves for the natives in that block, in addition to those lands which, as they were merely excluded from the purchase, were scarcely to be considered native reserves under the New Zealand Company's scheme.
The late Mr. John Jones, also, who acted for the natives during the purchase of the Otago block, distinctly avers in his evidence before the Petitions Committee of the House of Representatives, in 1867, on the petition of John Topi Patuki, that two reserves, but of lesser area than those subsequently set apart, were made for the natives at the time of the sale—one at Port Chalmers, and one at Dunedin.
Mr. D. Wakefield, who was acting on the part of the New Zealand Company, declined, in the first place, to agree to the demand made by the natives to reserve these particular lands, and the negotiation was broken off in consequence, the natives returning to their homes. On Mr. Wakefield consenting to exempt these reserves from the sale of the block, the negotiation was resumed, but he omitted to specify them in the deed. The Company, however, appear to have always acknowledged the right of the natives to the land; and Captain Cargill, in the early days of the settlement, built a stone house for the natives on the reserve in Dunedin. The building was erected after the demise of the Otago Association, on part of the reserve described by Mr. Jones.
In January, 1865, Mr. Strode was, by Order in Council, appointed Commissioner for the Native Reserves, at Dunedin and Port Chalmers.
In consequence of a favourable report which emanated from a Select Committee of the House of Representatives—Session 1865—on the claim of the Corporation of Dunedin, a Crown grant [See Journals L.C., 1866, p. 93, &c.], was issued in 1866 to the Superintendent of Otago. In opposition to the effect of this, the natives appealed to the Native Lands Court, and to the Supreme Court, to have their claims considered; but, owing to the land being held under Crown grant, the first-named Court could not deal with it, and the decision of the Supreme Court was adverse. On an application to the Court of Appeal, the natives were again defeated, and the matter has now been referred to the Privy Council.
From rents paid for holdings on this land, the sum of £6,031 18s. 9d. appears to have accumulated. This amount was subsequently paid over, on the 24th September, 1867, to the Superintendent of Otago, on his giving a guarantee to the General Government that in event of the claim of the natives being established in any Court of competent jurisdiction, or by the Legislature, to the said land, or any portion of it, or to the whole, or any portion of the said accumulated rents, a sum equal to the amount so decided should be repaid by the province into the Colonial Treasury, whenever the Colonial Treasurer required it.
In the report of the Select Committee of the House on the Dunedin disputed reserves, 26th August, 1868, this undertaking is alluded to as being of doubtful security in the absence of an apporpriation for the purpose by the Provincial Council of Otago. It also draws attention to "The Provincial Lawsuits Amendment Act, 1867," not being in force at the time the undertaking was given.
The reserve at Port Chalmers was made by Mr. Mantell, in 1852-3, by the direction of Sir George Grey, and then comprised section 401, purchased by the Government from a Mr. Williams, on Mr. Mantell's recommendation, to give access to the water-frontage, sections 402, 403, and 404, lying to the rear of it, and an unnumbered piece adjoining, being a portion of land marked on the maps as the "Town Belt," but the authority for so marking it was not produced.
At the sitting of the Native Land Court, held at Dunedin on the 22nd of May, 1868, the representatives of the Presbyterian Church opposed the issue of a grant to the natives for section 402, on the ground that the section in question had been lawfully reserved to them previously to the reservation for the natives; in consequence of this, the case, as far as regards this claim, was adjourned sine die, a certificate of title being ordered in favour of the natives for the other three sections, viz.:—Nos. 401. 403, and 404. Respecting the unnumbered piece alleged to be a portion of the Town Belt, the Court refrained from making a final decision, but left it open for the opponents or claimants respectively to move the Court at a future sitting to dismiss the case on production of sufficient evidence, or to order a grant in default of such evidence being produced.
The natives, after a protracted discussion, agreed (18th March, 1847) to dispose of the required territory, with the exception of certain reservations, for a sum of £3,000, to be paid in fixed annual instalments of £600 each. The block ceded by them extended as far south as Kaiapoi, including the whole valley of the Wairau, excepting a large reserve on the north bank of the River Wairau, extending inwards from its mouth.
The acquisition of this tract of country threw open a large block of land admirably adapted for settlement, and in the course of a few years it became extensively occupied by sheep-farmers.
The block ceded by the natives commenced at the boundary of the district purchased in 1847 from the Ngatitoas on the north, and extended to the West Coast, including a large proportion of what was afterwards known as the Province of Canterbury, together with the northern portion of the Province of Otago, to the boundary of the block commonly known as the New Edinburgh purchase, from thence extending to Milford Haven on the West Coast. This purchase excluded Banks' Peninsula, it being then supposed to have been sold to the French.
Whilst employed on this occasion, Mr. Mantell set apart for the use and occupation of the natives, land to the extent of 5,400 acres. The acreage set apart was based on the census of the population compiled at the time, being at the rate of ten acres for every man, woman, and child.
These reserves have since been augmented by additional land set apart for the natives by the Government, to the extent of 940 acres, and by awards of the Native Land Court, in. 1868, in fulfilment of promises made under the Ngaitahu deed, of 4,789 acres, making a total reservation in all of 11,149 acres under the terms of Kemp's purchase.
Whilst the matter was before the Court, a question arose as to the validity of the aforesaid deed, and, in order to cure any defect which it was supposed to contain, it was referred, under an order of the Hon. John Hall, a member of the Executive Council, to the Native Land Court, for that purpose. This empowered the Court to deal with the case in question, and set apart additional lands in fulfilment of the original agreement between the Government and the natives.
The natives possess other reserves besides the area given here; this is merely the extent of land retained for them in the terms of the aforesaid purchase.
As a large portion of Bank's Peninsula, irrespective of the French claims, was still in the hands of the natives at that period, it became necessary, in order to secure Port Cooper as a harbour, to make arrangements to extinguish the residue of their claim to that locality; and Mr. Mantell, the Commissioner who had been appointed formerly to complete the arrangements with the natives under Mr. Kemp's purchase, was instructed to proceed therefor the purpose; and, after a long and tedious negotiation with them, he succeeded, in August and September, 1849, in acquiring the largest portion of the Peninsula for £500. In the meantime, the Nanto-Bordelaise claim to a block of 30,000 acres was purchased by the New Zealand Company for £4,500.
Mr. Mantell also endeavoured to obtain the cession of the remainder of the native claims to the Peninsula, but was compelled to discontinue the negotiation in consequence of the determined opposition of the natives to come to terms, under the impression that M. de Belligny, the Agent of the Nanto-Bordelaise Company, would return and make them an enormous payment for their unsold land.
Within the block acquired by Mr. Mantell on the Peninsula, commonly knows as the Port Cooper and the Port Levy purchases, land to the extent of 2,220 acres was reserved for the natives.
Mr. Mantell left Otago towards the latter end of 1851, and travelled down overland, exploring the country; as fair south as the River Waiau, in Foveaux Strait, and, after arranging the preliminaries of the purchase, and laying off the reserves, seven in all, for the resident natives, he returned to Otago, where the purchase was finally completed on the 17th August, 1853. Considerable difficulty was experienced by him in effecting an arrangement with the natives, owing to their increased demands, caused by the district being partly occupied by squatters, who had been endeavouring to allure them with the offer of high rents not to sell the land to the Government. The natives ultimately agreed to accept £2,000 for the district. In consideration, however, of the delay in effecting the purchase, through various causes not attributable to the natives, and the long boat voyages they had made, ending in disappointment, Mr. Mantell recommended that they should be paid an additional £600, which was afterwards acceded to.
The tract of country included within this purchase had been previously annexed to the Otago block, when the boundaries of the respective Provinces of Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago were proclaimed, on the promulgation of the Constitution Act, in January, 1853.
There were only two small reserves made for the natives within the block, the majority of those interested in the matter being provided with land elsewhere.
One of these reserves was situated at a place named Te Rae, a few miles north of Pakawan, and the other at West Wanganui; the former being set apart for Wiremu Kingi te Koihua and his son, Hemi Kuku, two of the principal claimants to the block, and the latter for a native named Matiaha and his family, residing in the locality.
In conducting the purchase, considerable pains were taken to inquire into the respective claims, in order that no claimant, however small his interest in the land, should be left out; and the whole affair was eventually arranged to the satisfaction of all parties concerned.
The reservations alluded to consisted of the cultivations and lands required for the subsistence of the natives resident in the several districts, it being understood that Rangitoto, or D'Urville's Island, was excepted from the sale. In addition to the cash consideration payable to the natives, it was further agreed that fifteen of the principal chiefs should have scrip awarded to them representing £50 each, which should be available in the purchase of Crown lands in any part of New Zealand. Twenty-six of the native claimants were also to have 200 acres each cut of the land thus ceded by them, in such places as the Governor might set apart for this purpose, and at such time as the land might be required for their use; this condition, however, remains still unfulfilled to the present time, in consequence of the natives not having evinced any desire to select this land.
In November, 1854, Mr. Brunner, Government Surveyor, and Mr. Jenkins, Native Interpreter, at Nelson, were despatched to mark off the boundaries of such reserves as would be required for the resident natives; but owing to the jealousy evinced on the part of some of the page 15natives to the Ngatitoa sale, these officers were unable, except in a few instances, to effect any permanent adjustment of the matter.
In December of the same year, a large concourse of natives from different parts of the Nelson province, being assembled at Porirua, in the Wellington province, on one of their periodical visits, advantage was taken by Mr. Commissioner M'Lean of the prefence of so many influential representatives of the various tribes, to discuss with them the merits of their respective claims, and a unanimous desire was expressed on the part of the assembled tribes to have the second instalment paid to them at Porirua, instead of Nelson; and, in order that the whole might participate to a greater extent than the distribution of a single instalment would permit, the natives present requested that a sum equal to four years' instalment should be paid to them instead, urging as a reason that some of their chiefs had recently died, while others who had taken a prominent part in the conquest of the land were in a precarious state of health, and not likely to see the completion of the matter, if prolonged over so long a period as was at first contemplated. To this deviation from the original terms Mr. M'Lean had some difficulty in assenting, however politic it might otherwise have been in consequence of the understanding that the second payment should be made at Nelson; but as the natives from that province were the most urgent in the matter, he was at last prevailed on to forego the original intention, so as to meet the wishes of the majority.
Besides the sum of £5,000 first agreed on, it was considered necessary, on visiting the districts comprised in the purchase, to augment that amount by an additional sum of £2,000, in order to effect a satisfactory settlement of the unsettled claims of various resident tribes, some old ones having been found to exist in the neighbourhood of Massacre Bay since the days of the New Zealand Company for which arrangements had to be made. Owing, however, to repeated and unexpected interruptions arising from Mr. M'Lean being obliged to visit other districts in the North Island, and from other causes, the final settlement of this purchase was not effected till March, 1856.
Large and extensive reserves were made for the natives at various places within the boundaries of the purchase, more especially at Taitapu, near West Whanganui, and on the shores of Queen Charlotte Sound. To the latter place, the natives, from past associations, attached great importance, as the scene of many hard fought battles and of final conquest; the great resort also in former years of whaling vessels from different parts of the world, with the crews of which they carried on a lucrative trade.
The reserves in the Sound were set apart for the members of the Ngatiawa tribe who resided in the locality, and were made of considerable extent purposely to induce these people to remain in the district, instead of returning to their former possessions at Taranaki, which they seemed disposed to do, but where their presence would only have increased the troubles that then beset the land question in that province.
The only natives who opposed the sale by the Ngatitoa tribe, was a small section of the Ngatitam, at Wakapuaka, under Wiremu Katene te Manu. These people objected to the land being sold by their relations in the North Island without their consent, and declined to give up any portion of the land held by them at Wakapuaka, it being no more than cufficient for their own subsistence; neither would they agree to receive any of the purchase money; and, as the land in their possession was not of greater extent than they really required, it was not deemed prudent to urge a settlement of this particular question upon them.
The documents in connection with this important purchase are comprised in thirteen deed; and the conflicting claims of different tribes residing on both shores of Cook's Strait to the unpurchased lands in the Nelson province, together with the unsettled state of the native mind in the neighbourhood of Taranaki, with which district many of the sellers were connected, made the negotiation one of great difficulty, more especially as considerable jealousy existed on the part of the resident natives of the Ngatiawa tribe against the Ngatitoas residing at Porirua, regarding the right of alienatior; and, although it was generally admitted that the latter had the right, through being the earlier invaders, many of the Ngatiawas, when not confronted by the leading Ngatitoa chiefs, professed to have en independent claim, that, had not the settlement of the question been handled with considerable skill, the completion of the whole affair would have been frustrated; and, as a proof of the efficient manner in which these arrangements were perfected, not a single dispute has ever arisen regarding the title to any of the lands within the purchase.
The acquisition of such a valuable tract of country was considered to be highly advantageous to the Province of Nelson, as it threw open a large block of land for colonization at a time when nearly all the available land in the original districts had been appropriated. It was supposed, also, that valuable minerals existed in the lands thus alienated by the natives, almost in the immediate neighbourhood of the Town of Nelson, in quantities calculated to remunerate the individuals who might undertake to work them. These mineral lands had been completely sealed to the colonists prior to the purchase, as any attempt to ascertain their worth would, in all probability, have induced the natives to attach a value to the lands which would have precluded their sale altogether. At a later date, also, on the discovery of gold at Aorere, in Massacre Bay, together withthe knowledge that indications of the precious metal existed at various places along the West Coast of the Middle Island, the previous extinction of the native title; so ably managed by Mr. M'Lean, was a subject of congratulation to the Government and the settlers.
Mr. Johnstone's instructions were evidently based on the view taken by the local authorities, that the natives were occupying land that had been ceded to the Crown, or had reverted to the Crown through the New Zealand Company on the suspension of their charter, although the Nanto-Bordelaise Company's block was defined before the New Zealand Company bought their rights; and, as it was found upon careful investigation that the land was still the property of the natives, it became necessary to offer them other terms than those first intended, in order to effect a complete and final adjustment of their claims, so as to prevent any future revival of them.
The terms ultimately agreed on were: the payment of a money consideration of £150, afterwards increased to £200, and the reservation of 1,200 acres for their use and occupation, in three blocks of 400 acres each; and the question was finally and satisfactorily settled on these terms in December, 1856, by Mr. J. W. Hamilton, who had been instructed by the Government to take up the negotiation where Mr. Johnstone had left off.
At the time Mr. Johnstone was endeavouring to adjust the Peninsula claims, he was called on to investigate a claim preferred by the natives resident at Kaiapoi to lands north of that place, which they asserted had been wrongfully sold by the Ngatitoa tribe to the Government, in 1847. The Ngaitahu tribe urged their claim to this country before Mr. Mantell, in 1849, who declined interfering, as it was outside the limits of Mr. Kemp's purchase, to which his commission was confined, but at the same time he expressed his opinion that, so far as the case rested between the Ngatitoa and the Ngaitahu, he gave it in favour of the latter; and in a letter dated Akaroa, 21st September, 1848, he stated:—
The grounds on which the Ngaitahu claim compensation, are—
- 1. That the land was never occupied by the Ngatitoa;
- 2. That the Ngaitahu have never ceased to live at or near the disputed land; and
- 3. That subsequent to the last inroad of the Ngatitoa, the Ngaitahu successfully conducted an expedition against that tribe, which was never avenged.
In 1850, the natives brought their claims to this land before Mr. Hamilton's notice, who represented the matter officially at the time to the Principal Agent of the New Zealand Company, but no official cognizance appears to have been taken of it subsequent to that date, excepting an alleged offer by Sir George Grey, in 1851, to pay them £100 in satisfaction of their claims, until Mr. Johnstone visited the Canterbury province for the purpose of adjusting the Peninsula claims, and reported the circumstance to the Government. Its settlement was afterwards finally effected in February, 1857, by Mr. Hamilton, so far as the Kaiapoi claimants were concerned, by a payment to them of £500.
There still remained, however, one unsatisfied claimant, in the person of Matisha Tiramorehu, to be dealt with, whose claim was subsequently settled by a payment of £200, through Mr. Strode, R.M., at Dunedin, in compensation for his interest in a large extent of country lying to the north of Kaiapoi
This claim was brought before the notice of the Government by Mr. Hamilton, in 1857, when reporting on the claims of the Kaiapoi natives; and, in 1859, Mr. James Mackay, jun., acting under instructions from the Government, succeeded in effecting a settlement of the matter by a payment of £300 to the claimants, and an ample reserve in land for their use and occupation.
Inclusive of the amount paid to the natives in satisfaction of the aforesaid claim, the total sum paid to the Ngaitahus for their claims north of Kaiapoi amounts to £1,000.
The settlement of the claims of the West Coast natives, and the subsequent purchase of Stewart's Island, finally disposed of all the land claims in the Southern Islands, and the only lands over which the native title is not extinguished, exclusive of the reserves set apart for the natives, are the Island of Ruapuke, in Foveaux Strait, Rangitoto, or D'Urville's Island, in Cook's Strait, and a block of land at Wakapuaka, to the north of the Town of Nelson.
After some delay in obtaining the services of an officer to negotiate the purchase with the natives, Mr. Henry T. Clarke, Civil Commissioner for the East Coast District in the North Island, received instructions from the Government in February, 1864, to proceed to Invercargill to make terms for the extinguishment of the native title to the island.
Mr. Clarke, on arriving in the South, found the natives with whom he had to deal, on the point of starting on their usual mutton-bird expedition, and, after sometime spent in assembling the claimants from the several settlements, a meeting was held with them at Riverton, on the 23rd of June, to discuss the terms of sale proposed by the Government, and on the 29th of the same month they signed the deed of sale, conveying all their interest in Stewart's Island to the Crown, with the exception of certain reservations, for the sum of £6,000, to be paid as follows:—£2,000 down, £2,000 to be held by the Government at eight per cent., the interest to be paid annually, to be divided amongst the following natives, viz.:—TeoneTopi Patuki, Paitu, Teone Kihau, and their heirs, failing all these the Governor shall direct how the principal shall be applied. The remaining £2,000 to be expended in the purchase of land in the Southland province, as an endowment for educational and other native purposes. A block of excellent land in the Hokanui district, comprising 2,000 acres, has recently been obtained in satisfaction of this condition, and an arrangement has been entered into with Mr. J. B. Kingswell to lease the land for twenty-one years, at a rental of £75 per annum for the first three years, and £100 per annum for the remainder, the proceeds to be devoted to educational purposes for the benefit of the natives residing in the neighbourhood of Foveaux Strait.
The following reserves were made in fulfilment of the conditions of sale: viz., at Lord's Harbour, 30 acres; Port Adventure, 330 acres; Patterson's Inlet, 400 acres; Horseshoe Bay, 40 acres; Cultivation Point, 80 acres; Raggedy River, 50 acres; and at Port Easy, 5 acres; or 935 acres in all. A reserve was also made at the Neck, but the acreage was not fixed, the quantity available being subject to old land claims. An island on the south head of Mason's Bay was also reserved.
The reserve at the Neck is intended for the half-caste population belonging to Stewart's Island, who by a recent enumeration compute about ninety-four souls in all; but as the estimated area of the Neck is only 700 acres, out of which two old undefined land claims have to be taken, only a few of the half-castes will be able to procure land there in the ratio promised them by Mr. Commissioner Clarke, viz., ten acres for each male, and eight for each female; and other arrangements will have to be made to provide land for the remainder.
In addition to the reserves on the island, a number of the adjacent islands were also reserved for the natives for bird-catching purposes.
The mutton-birds which frequent these islands form a large article of consumption with the natives in the neighbourhood of Foveaux Strait; large quantities are also, preserved and sent north as presents to their friends and acquaintances, in return for which they receive flour and other commodities.
Prior to the purchase of Stewart's Island from the natives, certain old land claims existed, for which grants had been recommended by Mr. Commissioner Bell in favour of the following persons, viz.:—Edward Brady, 690 acres at Port Adventure; Isaac Moore, 240 acres at Port Adventure, adjoining Brady's; James Joss, 30 acres at Patterson's Inlet, and 150 acres at Ohekia; comprising in all land to the extent of 1,110 acres.
There was also an outstanding claim made by a person named George Green, under an alleged purchase of a large tract from the chief Tuhawaiki.
The Commissioners advised Green not to proceed with this claim, as the amount paid, £30, would only entitle the claimant to 104 acres, and the expense of investigating the matter would amount to more than the cost of buying the land from the Crown.
It would seem, however, that Green subsequently succeeded in proving his claim, as an award of 198 acres of land was made to him in January, 1867, at Raggedy, or Rugged Point, Stewart's Island, by the Hon. Mr. Domett, Secretary for Crown Lands, and Commissioner for the Court of Land Claims.
By an arrangement made in May, 1870, by Mr. G. S. Cooper, the then Under-Secretary for Native Affairs, the whole of the old land claims on Stewart's Island, together with the native reserves, have since been surveyed, and the latter are now waiting the action of the Native Lands Court to vest them legally in the natives under a Crown title.
These promises, Mr. Mantell, in a correspondence with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, pointed out had never been fulfilled, and asked for the intervention of the Imperial Government in favour of the natives, since the Colonial Government had failed to realize the promises that he had been authorised to make to them, and recommended that Mr. Justice Martin (now Sir William Martin) might be asked to undertake the adjustment of the question, as, from his distinguished character and the well-known interest he had always displayed in the affairs of the native race, the matter could not be referred to a more impartial arbiter. The Secretary of State (Mr. Labouchere) however, declined to intermeddle with it, without previous reference to the New Zealand Government, and Mr. Mantell, finding that no reparation could be obtained for the natives, resigned the whole of the offices held by him under the Colonial Government.page 18
Besides copies of letters that passed between the Secretary of State and Mr. Mantell, in regard to the promises of which he had been the medium to the Ngaitahu tribe at the cession of their territory to the Crown, a very interesting memorandum, by Mr. Under Secretary Rolleston, upon the question of unfulfilled promises to the Southern natives, will be found amongst the correspondence included in this work.
Until the month of November, 1863, the Imperial Government reserved to itself the management and control of native affairs, and the sole responsibility for their administration; after that date the colony accepted such responsibility, in the terms of the Duke of Newcastle's despatch of April, 1863, and took upon itself the obligations of the Imperial Government towards the natives.
Amongst the papers also will be found a memorandum from the Hon. Mr. Fox, under whose Government Mr. Henry T. Clarke was despatched to the Middle Island with special instructions to inquire into the condition of the natives in the Otago Province, and to ascertain what pledges had been made to them on the sale of their lands to the Government, and how far these pledges had been fulfilled.
Mr. Clarke's report showed that the condition of the Ngatitahu natives was most deplorable. It should be observed, however, that this condition was not entirely attributable to the neglect manifested by the Government in regard to their pledges, but quite as much to the constitutional indolence and improvident habits of the people themselves, and the condition he deplored had prevailed amongst them long prior to the colonization of that part of the colony.
Mr. C. Hunter Brown was subsequently appointed, in January, 1865, as Civil Commissioner to administer Native Affairs in the southern provinces, subject to instructions from the Colonial Government; and various recommendations were made by him as to the best mode of carrying out the unfulfilled pledges of the Government in respect of schools, hospitals, &c., and for the general improvement of the natives resident in the district confided to his charge, but without any good result.
The first schools were established by the Church Missionary Society at the Bay of Islands, in 1816, where the scholars were instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Church catechism; the women and girls were also taught needlework, and every kind of domestic employment, and the men and boys carpentry and field work.
The number of schools established in this way, through the instrumentality of the Society, in the northern part of the colony prior to 1840, were eighty-three.
The first mission station was established at the Bay of Islands, in 1814-15, by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, Colonial Chaplain of New South Wales. Mr. Marsden had been previously impressed with the capabilities of the New Zealanders for Christian civilization, together with the remarkable aptitude evinced by them for the acquisition of knowledge. These circumstances led him, in the year 1808, to suggest to the Church Missionary Society of London, the formation of a missionary establishment in New Zealand. This project was afterwards carried into effect under the sanction of the Governor of New South Wales, who issued a proclamation creating New Zealand a dependency of New South Wales, and appointed the first missionary, Mr. Thomas Kendal, Resident Magistrate at the Bay of Islands.
The first Wesleyan mission was founded in 1823, at Whangaroa, north of the Bay of Islands. But little success, however, followed its endeavours during the first four years in consequence of the turbulent state of the natives, and it was not until the year 1828 that its missionaries succeeded in establishing their head-quarters at Hokianga on a more secure footing.
The Roman Catholic mission, under Bishop Pompallier, was established in 1838.
For ten years the missionaries preached the Gospel without any apparent results. Not a day passed during that long period unmarked by some act of savage violence, and they and their families endured privations and perils hardly to be paralleled. The baptism, in September, 1825, of a native named Rangi, was the first indication of success, but they had still to wait some years before a change took place; and notwithstanding the eminent services done by that body to the cause of Christian civilization, and whose disinterested exertions through a long series of years had alone rendered New Zealand an attractive field for emigration, they were scoffed at and vilified by a class of individuals, whose sole object appeared to be to decry their labour while reaping its fruit.
The visit of Hongi and Waikato to England, in 1820, in company with Mr. Kendal, of the Church Missionary Society, enabled Professor Lee, while these chiefs were at Cambridge, to reduce the Maori language, from their pronunciation, into a written one, and compose a grammar and dictionary of it. This afforded the means of translating the Church Catechism, Prayer Book, and part of the Bible, into the native language.
The missionaries have been frequently censured for not having, in their early intercourse with the Maoris, taught them the English language instead of perpetuating the Maori tongue. In regard to this imputation, the Bishop of New Zealand, Dr. Selwyn, during his early residence in the colony, remarked as follows:—
Among other erroneous impressions was the belief that the missions in New Zealand had acted unwisely in teaching Christian doctrine in the native language, instead of instructing the people in the English language. I have since seen the same opinion expressed in a speech of Earl Grey before the House of Lords. As I have been engaged more or less ever since I came to New Zealand in attempting to teach English to adult natives, I may be considered, I hope, a fair witness on this question, and I have no hesitation in saying that if the missionaries had not learned the language of the country, and used it in their preaching and schools, there would not have been a Christian native to this day, I hare never known an adult who has mastered our language sufficiently to use page 19it as a medium of spiritual instruction or thought, and it seems unreasonable to expect any more when we know that to this day Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, retain in many parts their original language, and that clergymen who are not natives of those parts are obliged to study the language most commonly spoken in the parishes to which they are appointed.
Sir George Grey was the first Governor who took active measures to carry out the instructions received by his predecessors from the Imperial Government regarding the promotion of education amongst the aborigines, and who perceived the necessity of teaching the New Zealanders the English language as a bond of union between the two races. In 1849, schools were established under the provisions of the Education Ordinance of 1847, and endowments granted "for the use and towards the maintenance of the said schools, so long as religious education and industrial training, and instruction in the English language, shall be given to the youth educated therein and maintained thereat.
With a view also of making further and more permanent provision, and to render the management of native affairs more independent of any temporary excitement to which representative bodies are liable, Sir George Grey recommended that a portion of the Civil List should be reserved for native purposes. The sum to be appropriated to this purpose was afterwards fixed by the Constitution Act at £7,000.
In a correspondence which took place in May, 1853, between Sir George Grey and the heads of three principal religious bodies, the Governor undertook to recommend the appropriation of £6,300 out of the above-mentioned sum of £7,000, to those bodies for the purpose of native education, and submitted a plan for their approval. This appropriation was subsequently sanctioned by her Majesty's Government. (See despatch from the Secretary of State to Sir George Grey, dated 25th January, 1854).
In 1858, at the recommendation of his responsible advisers, Governor Browne removed the grant in aid of native schools from the Civil List, and made provision for them in another way; and in the same year an. Act was passed by the General Assembly, known as the "Native Schools Act, 1858," appropriating £7,000 annually for these schools for a period of seven years.
This Act expressly required that instruction in the English language, and in the ordinary subjects of primary English education and industrial training, should form a necessary part of the system in every school to be aided under the Act; also, every such school was to be in connection with some religious body, and to be managed in such wise as the Governor, in concert with the head or governing body of such religious body, should from time to time determine.
With reference to the mode previously pursued by the Government for promoting the education of native children, Governor Grey, in a despatch to Earl Grey, dated 9th June, 1849, communicating the various measures adopted for the present improvement and advancement of the native race, states:—
That no adequate provision has been made for their continual advancement in the arts of civilized life, and for the education of the native children upon such a system that they might have a prospect of standing on terms of equality with the European race, and of understanding and speaking their language.
Fortunately, the task of the Government in this respect has been an easy one. There existed in this country three missions, established by different Christian denominations, amongst whom there is perhaps an emulation as to which should achieve the greatest amount of good, and it may reasonably be doubted whether at any period of the world there has existed in one country, amongst so large a number of men who had devoted themselves to the holy calling of a missionary, so many persons who were eminently qualified by piety, ability, and zeal, to discharge the functions of the office upon which they had entered. The result has been, that these gentleman, scattered throughout the country, having exercised an influence without which all the measures adopted by the Government would have produced but little effect. Won by their teaching, the natives have almost as an entire race embraced Christianity, and have abandoned the most revolting of their heathen customs. Instructed by the missionaries, probably a greater proportion of the population than in any country in Europe are able to read and write; and, encouraged by the precept and example of the same gentlemen, they have, in all parts of the islands, made considerable progress in the rougher branches of civilized life.
The Government therefore, in establishing schools, thought it most desirable not to attempt to set up a system of its own which might have required years for its development (during which a generation might have melted away, and an opportunity have been lost which could never be recalled), but rathor to join its exertions to those of the missionaries, and to endeavour, whilst it established its own educational institutions, to render the system of the missionaries more complete and effective than hitherto. It therefore provided considerable funds which should be set apart for educational purposes, but determined that these funds should be applied under the direction of the heads of the different denominations who had missions established in New Zealand; it being provided, that the several institutions which received any portion of these funds should be conducted upon the industrial system, that the English language should be taught there, and that a sound religious education should be imparted to the pupils. Provision was also made for the appointment by the Government of Inspectors, who will examine into the state of the schools, and will as certain that the various requirements which are imposed by the laws relating to these institutions are strictly complied with.
Very little progress has been made as yet in promoting education amongst the natives in the Southern Island; anything they know in the way of reading or writing is mainly owing to the training received from the early missionaries, or through the instrumentality of native converts despatched from time to time from the different missions.
The only attempt in the Province of Nelson to establish a school on a large scale for native pupils, was made at Motueka by the Board of Management for Native Reserves, in 1848-49. This school was placed under the management of the Rev. Mr. Tudor, who was then the resident clergyman of the district, at which the children were taught the English language, writing and arithmetic, and religious instruction. A farm was also established in conjunction with the school, and an instructor appointed for the purpose of training the lads in agricultural pursuits.
In 1853, Sir George Grey appropriated about 918 acres of native reserve land, and 153 acres of Crown land, at Motueka, as an endowment for a school there for the education of children of both races, in religion, industrial training, and instruction in the English language, and vested the land in the Bishop of New Zealand.
While the school was under Mr. Tudor's management it had a large attendance of pupils of both sexes, and considerable progress was made by them in the early rudiments of educa-page 20tion; but after a change of masters took place—not from any want of efficiency on the part of the master who replaced Mr. Tudor—the natives gradually lost interest in it, and in course of time the number of its pupils began to decline, until the school had to be abandoned in consequence, and no further attempt was made in the matter until Bishop Suter's arrival in Nelson, in 1867, when steps were taken by him to re-open the school, under the efficient management of the Rev. W. Ronaldson, who had had considerable experience in training native children in the North Island, but the result of this effort has been anything but encouraging.
In November, 1863, a school was established at Kaiapoi, in the Province of Canterbury, by the Christchurch Maori Mission, for the education of native children, but from the want of sufficient funds it was not opened until April, 1866. The natives gave twenty acres as a site, and suitable buildings were erected at a cost of £750, including the fencing in of the land. This amount was obtained from grants made by the General and Provincial Governments, and by contributions from the natives. The natives also set apart two acres of bush land to provide the establishment with firewood. A proportion of the annual expenditure had also to be subscribed by them, and the remainder was met by a capitation grant from Government.
The school was placed under the able management of the Rev. J. W. Stack, of the Diocesan Maori Mission, assisted by an efficient mistress—Miss Taylor. The pupils, seventeen in number, were instructed in English on the same system as is in use in the primary schools in Canterbury. The children, when last examined, had made considerable progress in the early rudiments of learning, but unfortunately for the continued success of the school, the whole of the premises were consumed by fire during the summer of 1870, and the want of sufficient funds has precluded it being rebuilt.
In 1840, by the instrumentality of the late Mr. John Jones, the Wesleyan Society established a mission at Waikouaiti, and schools were conducted both there and at the native settlement, at Otago Heads, in connection with the mission, under the management of Mr. Watkins, and afterwards by Mr. Creed. Great credit is due to these gentlemen, and other members of the Society, for the exertions displayed by them in promoting the social and moral welfare of the natives in the south.
After the removal of the Wesleyan mission from Otago, a number of benevolent gentlemen in Dunedin, sensible of the neglected state of the natives, formed themselves into a society, denominated "The Society for elevating the Condition of the Natives in Otago," and appointed a master, Mr. Charles Baker, to hold a school at the native settlement at Otago Heads, and to pay periodical visits to other parts of the province. On Mr. Baker being removed to the North Island, the Rev. Mr. Reimenschneider succeeded him in the management, in which capacity he remained until his death, some time in 1867.
About this time also the operations of the Society ceased through want of means, and matters after a while relapsed into the same neglected condition as had obtained prior to their being taken under the management of the Society.
Since the year 1844, the natives in the southern portions of the island, in the neighbourhood of Foveaux Strait, have had the advantage of the Rev. Mr. Wohlers' presence amongst them. Prior to that, with the exception of one or two brief visits made to them by Bishop Selwyn shortly after his arrival in the colony, these natives had received no spiritual care.
For several years, until the latter end of 1848, Mr. Wohlers lived a lonely life amongst the natives of the south, promoting their religious and social welfare, making long and perilous boat voyages from place to place, and spreading his influence for good amongst them far and near. At that period he was joined by a Mr. Honore, a pupil of the Hamburg Mission Institution, and shortly after, in 1849, while on a visit to Wellington, he was fortunate enough to secure an efficient helpmate in the person of the present Mrs. Wohlers, who entered with spirit into the work of civilizing the native families, and their joint efforts in promoting the general welfare of these natives are worthy of the highest commendation. For years they kept a school on the island of Ruapuke by their own unaided efforts, doing everything out of their own means until they could afford no longer to do so, in consequence of the increased cost of the necessaries of life occasioned by the gold diggings in Otago.
Mr. Tuckett, formerly Chief Surveyor at Nelson to the New Zealand Company, afforded material assistance to the mission at a time when it was languishing for the want of many requirements of social economy, by forwarding from England a number of valuable articles for the use of the natives which could not possibly have been procured under other circumstances.
The following narrative by the Rev. Mr. Wohlers of his early experience in the south, gives an interesting account of the causes that led to the establishment of the German mission in that quarter, and the subsequent history of its progress:—
About the years 1840 or 1841, the captain of a Bremen whaling ship in the South Seas, strongly advised the then newly-formed North German Mission Society to send missionaries to the Southern Islands of New Zealand. At the name time, the New Zealand Company purposed to found a large settlement of Europeans at Nelson, and, through a branch Company in Germany, a ship with German emigrants was to leave Hamburg for that place. The North German Mission Society secured from the New Zealand Company an allotment of a town section, also suburban and rural land in the Nelson settlement, in the hope that it would afford a great part of the support of the missionaries, and be a central point for mission work among the natives. With such expectations there were sent out myself (Wohlers) and Heine, natives of Hanover; Reimenschneider, a native of Bremen; and Trost, of Lauenberg—the first and third ordained missionaries, the other two mission helpers. They left Hamburg on the 26th December, 1842, and reached Nelson on the 15th June, 1843. Heine became preacher to the Germans at Nelson, and Trost returned home.
It was found that the land selected in the settlement of Nelson was altogether inconvenient as a centre for mission work, the natives thereabout being already under the charge of the Church of England and the Wesleyan ministers. Mr. Reimenschneider, however, soon availed himself of an opening at Taranaki, and I accepted a passage to the south, kindly offered me by Mr. Frederick Tuckett, Chief Surveyor, who had chartered the brigantine Deborah for the purpose of finding an eligible place for a new settlement on the East Coast, of which the founding of the settlement at Otago, some years after, was the result.
We left Nelson in March, 1844, and I reached Ruapuke on the 17th May, same year. The population, including Europeans dispersed on the coasts and islands in Foveaux Strait, was then estimated at about 600, of page 21which number over 200 were living on the Island of Ruapuke, which island was also the residence of the principal native chief Tuhawaiki, commonly called "Bloody Jack" (afterwards drowned by boat accident), and Topi Patuki; consequently at good centre for mission work.
There were about forty or fifty Europeans living on the shores of Foveaux Strait that had been engaged in whaling and sealing, but this business was already on the decline, and most of them had settled down, built houses, cultivated gardens, reared pigs, goats, and poultry, and bartered their surplus products to the whaling vessels for clothing and other necessaries. There were only four or five European females among them; most of the men had Maori wives, and large families of half-caste children. Dr. Selwyn, then Bishop of New Zealand, who had visited these places not long before my arrival, had already solemnized the marriages of several of them, and baptized their half-caste children.
I found, on inquiry, that most of the natives had arrived and settled in Foveaux Strait within about twenty years before my arrival, they having been driven southward through the wars of Te Rauparaha. They were not healthy. By keeping records of their births and deaths on the Island of Ruapuke, I found that the proportion of the births to the deaths were as one to four, and I learnt that this rate of decrease had been going on among them for years. No one who fell sick ever recovered. The sick ones had no hope, and the others had no heart and no energy. There were but few children among them, and these were not healthy looking; but there were plenty of healthy half-caste children in the mixed families, because they were ruled and provided for by European fathers; whereas the Maoris, though they were no longer natural savages, had not yet acquired healthy ways or living.
A form of Christian worship, and several copies of the earlier translation of the New Testament, had already been introduced here chiefly by native agencies, and not a few had already acquired the art of reading and writing, so that I found a prepared field for sowing the seed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and when by degrees the natives began to feel its quickening impulse, then a spirit of new life and energy began to move within them— they desired European civilization. But we were outside the civilized world; Wellington was the nearest European town. I found that they needed assistance in the advancement of civilization which I could not render, namely, a renovation in the families, of which I had no experience. For nearly five years I lived and travelled among them a real permit; then, at the end of 1848, Mr. Honore, a pupil of the Hamburg Mission Institution, was sent out to assist me. But it was devoted female help we chiefly wanted. In 1849, not long after the settlement at Otago had commenced, I found an opportunity to undertake a journey to the North, the consequence of which was that in Wellington I got married, and then returned with the desired female help to Ruapuke. My wife entered with spirit into the work of civilizing the native families, and no easy task it was to teach them cleanly ways and to instruct them in needlework, but it was encouraging to see the happy results of such disinterested labour.
Still our labour would have been much retarded through want of means, if God had not moved the heart of a friend in England to help us. Mr. Frederick Tuckett (whose name has already been mentioned as giving me a passage to the South), formerly Chief Surveyor to the New Zealand Company, who had gone home to London, most kindly and generously from there sent us from time to time very valuable tools, farm implements, seeds, flour-mills with stones, kitchen utensils, books and papers for school and for reading, and other valuable things.
Much difficulty was experienced in conveying those goods from Otago to Ruapuke, which had mostly to be done in open boats; and a great deal of patience and working examples had to be exercised to induce the natives to make use of the tools, as farm labour did not suit their fancies.
All would have been fruitless if, at the same time, the regenerating influence of the teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ had not been working within their minds. No savage race, no habitually indolent and improvident person will take to patient industry—which is inseparable from a healthy civilized life, unless the mind is first changed by an inward regenerating power. However, by perseverance in teaching, praying, and labour, the difficulties were gradually overcome. As by degrees their civilization advanced, and their temporal affairs improved, so began also their health to recover. In about ten years from the time I first came among them they had so far recovered that the births and deaths were about equal; but within these ten years half of their number had disappeared by dying and by accidents at sea; and when after ten years had passed, then the births began to exceed the deaths. Not only had the deaths become less numerous, but their constitutions being much strengthened, the births became more numerous than they had been in former years. They had acquired some habits of cleanliness and industry; had nourishing food, and plenty of it, and provided themselves with suitable clothing and comfortable dwellings. This would show that they needed not to die out if, by persevering industry, they would procure and use the means necessary to the preservation of health.
But, as the inhabitants of small islands generally do, the natives liked the sea too much to persevere in steady farming. When European farmers established themselves in the South, the natives found they could not compete with them. At the same time sailing vessels and steamers began constantly to go between here and the North, and it became so easy to send goods (which before had been so difficult and dangerous in the open boats), the natives found that, by sending preserved mutton-birds to the North and receiving flour in exchange, they could procure breadstuffs with less labour than by growing the wheat themselves, and so farming was dropped. By good management this might be all right, but that we could not expect from the natives; the flour arrives in masses, and then there is waste in the beginning and scarcity in the end, and the still precarious health of the Maori suffers through it. Then again, while, a few years ago their minds were excited and unsettled about the native war in the North, there came secret Hauhau agents to the South, and skilfully revived the old forsaken superstition, and the pretence that they could render the old spirits harmless who were supposed to be the cause of their dying out. So, by forsaking the fear of God they fell back into the old heathen fear which has torment, and by running from place to place with the wizards to offer up sacrifices, and to feast on part of the latter, they not only neglected their business but fell back into habits of idleness. This naturally led to want of proper food and clothing, and has induced consumption among the children, who for a few years spend a sickly existence and then waste away and die. During the last four or five years their health had become so enfeebled again that last year (1869), the proportion of the births to the deaths was as one to three. This present year their health has much improved again, and I hope to God that we are over the worst.
I stated before, that the Europeans married to native women had plenty of healthy half-caste children. These have long ago grown up, and form now with their families the majority of the population in the native places. They are married either half-caste to half-caste, or inter-married with the Maories; some also have inter-married with Europeans, but as they live mostly in European communities they cannot longer be reckoned as natives proper. These half-castes and mixed families are far more healthy, and have far more children, than the pure Maoris. There can be no doubt that their descent from the European stock is the cause of their better health, but it may be questioned if this cause lies in the physical constitution of the body, or in a forethought of the mind which leads to energy in providing things necessary for a healthy life. The Maoris have less of this forethought than the half-castes, and these again less of it than the Europeans.
When a half-caste family has so far advanced in knowledge and civilization as to compete with the European settlers, then they generelly leave the native places and mix with the Europeans, much to their advantage.
The founding of the Native School at Ruapuke is of great importance, but as that part of our history is well known in the Native Office I need not say more about it than that it is my aim, as teacher of the Native School, to educate the pupils so that they may be competent to mix and work with the European settlers, for that is their only chance of existence—a separate native race has no future here.
In 1867 a fresh Act was passed by the General Assembly. This Act provides that £4,000 shall be appropriated annually for seven years for the education and maintenance of native and page 22half-caste children in accordance with its provisions; it also requires that educational districts be formed, and committees of management appointed, and that land be set apart as sites for school buildings and masters' dwellings; the natives to contribute a proportion equal to one-fourth of the expenditure. Schools not established under the provisions of the Act may also be subsidized to the extent of three-fourths of the total annual expenditure, provided the conditions of the Act are observed.
The Act has met with but partial success in the South; one of its chief objects is to promote an interest amongst the natives themselves in the education of their children, by making the Government subsidy dependent to a certain extent on their own exertions; this has been one cause of its failure. Past experience has shown the mistake of placing too much reliance on the co-operation of native agency in carrring out plans which they do not sufficiently understand.
The natives have in many instances readily given up land, and proferred assistance towards the establishment of schools, and have done so under the conviction that these institutions were highly important for the welfare of their children, but this conviction does not lead to a prolonged and effective co-operation, or an active exercise of influence on that behalf. It is not that they have changed their opinions, but there are many influences at work to interfere with their successful development. One great obstacle is the prevailing indigence of the people. Natives give liberally when possessed of money, as an instance of which in the case of the natives of the Canterbury province, it may be stated that, between 1859 and 1863 they collected money amongst themselves to the amount of £483 for schools and church purposes, a large proportion of which was procured at considerable personal inconvenience; but it is hardly to be expected that people who are often in a state of semi-starvation will continue so diligent in a cause, more especially when it comes to be considered that they are in a great measure ignorant of the importance of education. They see many white men about them, unable even to read or write, who appear to be thriving very well in the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that they should be sceptical as to the real advantages of education to their children. Moreover, with regard to the natives in the South, specific promises were made to them on the cession of their land, that the Government would provide ultimately for the education of their rising generation, promises which they naturally looked to be fulfilled.
There are three schools in operation in the Southern Provinces. One at Otago Heads, established in January, 1869; one at Ruapuke, opened in 1868; and another at Riverton, in Southland.
At Ruapuke, the natives set apart ten acres in 1867 as a site for a school and master's house, and suitable buildings were subsequently erected at a cost of £260. The school was first opened under the management of Mr. Henri, and during its early progress the pupils numbered between forty and fifty; since then a diminution of the population of the island has taken place through deaths, and the removal of a number of the half-caste families to Stewart's Island, consequently the average number of children in attendance has been proportionally reduced—according to the last returns to about twenty-five. The school is now under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Wohlers, whose chief aim hitherto has been to further the advancement of these people.
The Ruapeke and Riverton schools possess an advantage over other schools in the South, arising from a fund accruing from a block of 2,000 acres set apart as an endowment, in the terms of purchase of Stewart's Island, for educational purposes. This lend has been let for a term of twenty-one years, at a rent of £75 during the first three years and £100 for the residue.
Frequent attempts have been made since the "Native Schools Act, 1867," came into force, to bring education within the reach of the native race residing in districts yet unprovided with schools in the Southern Provinces, but little or no success has attended these endeavours hitherto, partly owing to the supineness displayed by the natives themselves, caused in a measure by the idea that Government should make full provision for the education of their children in fulfilment of promises made to them in by-gone years, and partly by the opposition of local committees to admit native children to the District schools.
The chief obstacle to contend with in the South in regard to the working of the present Act, is the difficulty of collecting the proportion of the school fees payable by the natives.
The natives are too indigent to contribute regularly. As a people they give liberally when they have it but nothing but the gradual development of provident habits will insure their always being in the possession of money.
The condition of the Act that makes the payment of the Government grant conditional on the payment of the proportion of the fees payable by the natives, bears very hard in consequence on the managers and teachers of these schools, who have, as a rule, quite sufficient annoyance to put up with without being continually perplexed concerning the ways and means. Maori school teaching is very up-hill work, and every encouragement should be afforded to those who have the moral courage and zeal to undertake the education of the native race.
It may be argued that, to throw the masters on their own resources would stimulate them to induce the children to attend regularly; but it may be from no want of efficiency on the part of the masters that prevents regular attendance amongst the pupils. There are numerous causes besides, which teachers of native schools alone can fully enter into, that interfere with the attendance of the children, and no one but those who have undertaken the task can comprehend the numerous difficulties and disagreements connected with the process. It seems unjust, therefore, to any persons who have undertaken so arduous a task as the education of native children, to subject them to the additional annoyance of having to suffer for a matter which they are unable to control.
The fact can not be disguised, that the education of the native race must be slow; the apathy of parents and relations is one great obstacle to progress; they are in a great measure ignorant of the importance of education, and the children unaccustomed to restraint of any page 23kind are not easily subdued; the parents also consider that they are conferring a favour by sending their children to be educated.
It would seem that one error in regard to the native race into which all have fallen is impatience; too much is apparently expected of a people only recently reclaimed from barbarism. When it is considered what they were between thirty and forty year ago and what they are now, and then endeavour to recollect any instance of so sudden a change in a notoriously savage race, it is impossible to be other than deeply impressed by the fact, and it may perhaps be a consequence of this change that expectations in regard to the progressive rate of improvement that should take place amongst these people have been unduly raised. The disappointment is not caused however by any backwardness on the part of the natives to change, or for want of shrewdness in perceiving what would be to their advantage—it simply arises from the inherent difficulty of speedily producing such a change in a people recently one of the most savage, as will meet the wishes and expectations of colonists lately come from one of the most civilized nations in the world.
The first sitting of the Court was held at Christchurch, on the 20th April. The cases set down for hearing were of three descriptions:—
- 1. Succession cases, or those in which the parties sought for orders to succeed their deceased relatives in the possession of land occupied by them in their lifetime under Crown grant. These claims were for allotments of land in the native reserve at Kaiapoi, as apportioned by Mr. W. Buller, in 1860, under instructions from the Government.
- 2. Claims to reserves made by the Government in 1848, and subsequently within the blocks purchased by Messrs. Kemp, Mantell, and Hamilton.
- 3. Claims to land in various parts of the Province of Canterbury which it was alleged had not been ceded to the Crown.
The claims under the first head were easily disposed of, as also those under the third, being for the most part frivolous ones; the land claimed also, in many instances, had been resold by the Crown, and granted to private individuals. The claims under the second head occupied the Court a much longer time than was first contemplated, especially the investigation of claims to the Rapaki reserve, which occupied the attention of the Court for seven days in consequence of the claim preferred to the land by the Kaiapoi natives.
The chief motive which led the Kaiapoi residents to prefer a claim to this reserve, was the impression that they had a right to it in common with the Rapaki natives in consequence of having lived there in former years; and also, that at the apportionment of the Kaiapoi reserve in 1860, by Mr. Buller, the Rapaki people had been allotted a portion of it; and they alleged, that they were given to understand at the time that this principle was to be regarded as a precedent for the rest of the reserves when subdivided.
In order to overcome the difficulty, Mr. Rolleston, the Under Secretary for Native Affairs, who was acting as Crown Agent on the occasion, recommended that the Government should set apart other hand for the Kaiapoi natives, in place of the quantity allotted out of the Kaiapoi reserves to natives of other places.
The Court also took a similar view of the matter, it being considered the best and fairest way of dealing with the natives on both sides, and land to the extent of 450 acres was ultimately awarded the Kaiapoi people in return for the quantity apportioned to others.
In satisfaction of the conditions of the Ngaitaha deed, of 1848, that the Governor should set apart other reserves when the land was surveyed, the Court ordered that in addition to the land already reserved to the natives within that purchase, other land should be set apart in fulfilment of the engagement, and that the reservations under the phrase "mahinga kai"—food producing places—should also be observed.
The following reserves were accordingly made in final extinguishment of all claims under the Ngaitahu deed, of 1848:—to the Kaiapoi natives, 1,065 acres, including five eel pahs; to the Taumutu natives, 228 acres; to the Arowhenua natives, 832 acres including five eel pahs; and to the Waitaki natives, 570 acres, including three eel pahs and a timber reserve—in all 2,695 acres.
The ordinary business of the Court came to a close on the 7th May, the remainder of the work being completed in Chambers; and the next sitting was held in Dunedin, on the 13th May.
There were sixteen claims set down for hearing in Otago, chiefly for reserves made within the boundaries of the blocks purchased by Messrs. Symonds, Kemp, and Mantell.
Among the cases were two claims-—one for land in the town of Dunedio, and the other for land at Port Chalmers. With regard to the former, the Court had no jurisdiction, the land having been granted to the Superintendent, and the applicants were instructed they would have to go to the Supreme Court.
In the matter of the claims to land at Port Chalmers, the Court ordered, after a full investigation, that sections 401, 403, and 404 should be vested in Horomond Pohio, Hoani Wetere [unclear: Korako], Hori Kerei Taiaroa, and Hoani Topi Patuki, and their successors, in trust for all the members of the Ngaitahu tribe who are now, or may be hereafter, resident south of and including Kaiapoi, in the Province of Canterbury.
A claim was also heard by the Court to the land on which the Otago Heads lighthouse stands, which the natives asserted had not been sold to the Government. The Court, however, page 24decided that the northern boundary of the native reserve was at the line of fence erected by the Provincial Government, the natives getting a grant of one acre at the spot mentioned in the deed of sale as having been excepted for them.
The Court ordered in final extinguishment of all claims and agreements under Kemp's deed, that land to the extent of 2,094 acres should be awarded to the natives out of the Crown lands within the Province of Otago; out of which quantity 1,000 acres were allotted in satisfaction of the claims of those who signed the Ngaitahu Deed, and to the immediate descendents of those who were parties to the sale but who had never received any share of the land reserved for native purposes within the boundaries of the purchase, as stipulated by the deed.
The whole of the aforesaid claims were referred to the Court by an Order of Reference under the hand of the Hon. John Hall, a member of the Executive Council, but, in order to cure any defect or insufficiency in the order, inasmuch as the 23rd section of the "Native Lands Act, 1865," requires that all such Acts shall be performed by the Governor, a bill was passed by the Assembly, in 1868, called the "Ngaitahu Reference Validation Act," which provides that" the Ngaitahu Deed" "shall be deemed to have been a valid agreement for the extinguishment of the native title and surrender to the Crown of the lands named and delineated on the plan annexed thereto, for all purposes of the said Order of Reference, and the orders made by the Native Land Court shall be, and be deemed to be in final extinguishment of the native title within the boundaries delineated on the said plan."
It seems probable that an over-estimate of the population may have been formed during our early intercourse with the natives from the fact of their being mostly found congregated together in large bodies for mutual protection in fortified pahs, or else about the bays and streams in their immediate neighbourhood. These also were the places most likely to be visited by Europeans. It is also to be borne in mind, that the native population of a district would be sure to flock to any place which became resorted to by traders from a desire to obtain possession of European goods; hence the idea has originated that the population was more numerous than was absolutely the case.
|In the Province of Auckland||38,269|
|" " Taranaki||3,015|
|" " Wellington||11,772|
|" " Nelson||1,120|
|" " Canterbury||638|
|" " Otago||525|
|In Stewart's Island and Ruapuke||200|
|" Chatham Islands||510|
By the foregoing enumeration it will be seen, that by far the largest number of natives reside in the northern portion of the colony, the Southern Island having only a population of 2,483.
According to a carefully-compiled census taken in 1868, the actual number of the natives in the Southern Island amounted to 2,353, in the proportion of 1,326 males to 1,027 females of all ages.
By a return recently published to an order of the House of Representatives, dated 4th August, 1869, printed in Sessional Papers A 11, 1870, the population of the Northern Island appears to number 35,006, this added to the census taken of the natives in the Southern Island in 1868, gives a total of 37,359, exclusive of the Chatham Islands, showing a diminution in the last twelve years of 18,180, or about thirty per cent., but whether the census of 1858 is excessive, or that of 1869 is defective, is a question that cannot be decided as regards the former, but taking them both merely as an approximation of the actual number at the time when taken, it will be seen by this a very large rate of decrease has taken place within the period named. This rapid depopulation is no doubt attributable in a great measure to the late war, for besides those that have fallen in action or died from their wounds, a large mortality has no doubt been caused by the misery and privations undergone by both sexes of all ages, owing to the difficulty of procuring an adequate supply of the necessaries of life during and after the numerous struggles that have taken place in the last ten years, dating from the winter of 1860.
A considerable share also of the mortality referred to may probably be ascribed to the fanaticism—Hau-hauism—that has prevailed for the past few years amongst many of the tribes page 25of the North Island, and which not only has distracted their attention from using proper means for providing a sufficiency of food for themselves, but has caused an unhealthy excitement in their minds anything but conducive to their well-being.
The social condition of the Maoris is altogether much inferior to what it used to be, their cultivations are more neglected, and their mode of living not improved. Their time of late years has been chiefly directed to the development of political ideas, and the establishment of a system of government which has been productive of much evil.
There appears very little doubt that the native population has been over-estimated from the first, and that, apart from the rapid depopulation that has taken place during the last twelve years, a perceptible decrease has been going on since the early settlement of the colony.
A great many circumstances have been mentioned as causes to account for the supposed decrease of the native population, but the only one that dates from a period subsequent to their intercourse with Europeans, to which much importance has been assigned, is the use of the blanket. With regard to the rest, it will be allowed that most of them had much greater force in ancient times, long before any Europeans had visited New Zealand, and that since the introduction of Christianity and civilization, they have gradually declined. For instance, the fatal wars conducted by Hongi against the Ngapuhis and the Waikatos, that followed the first partial introduction of firearms, about the year 1830, which thinned and scattered the population of the Northern Island, and destroyed that of the Middle Island with the exception of a miserable remnant, had ceased before the formation of the colony, and can therefore be regarded only as having been a temporary check to population.
Of diseases introduced amongst aboriginal races by contact with Europeans, the small-pox, syphilis, and measles are those which have been most fatal; but the small-pox, which proved so terrible a scourge to the nations of Europe before the discovery of vaccination, and which nearly destroyed many of the hunting tribes of North America, has not made its appearance in New Zealand; and syphilis assumes in the natives so mild a form, and is so easily eradicated with but slight medical aid, that their constitutions appear to have the power of throwing it off.
Measles appears to be the only European disease that has committed serious ravages among them. In 1838, measles destroyed many of the natives about Otago, and about the time of Sir George Grey's first departure from the colony (December, 1853), the natives of the North were attacked with the disease, which carried off a large number, mostly from the ranks of the young and the aged.
It would seem that the Polynesian race is peculiarly susceptible of this malady, for it was measles which proved fatal to the King and Queen of the Sandwich Islands during their residence in London, in 1824; and most of the New Zealanders who have visited England have been attacked by the disease.
Scrofulous disease, hereditary in the race from a constant intermixture of blood during the twenty generations that the Maoris have inhabited New Zealand, appears to be of a most fatal character. Pulmonary complaints are also among the chief causes of mortality; the heedlessness with which the natives heap on clothing one day to be cast aside the next, and replaced by a thin blanket or a sheet, must tend to increase disorders of the lungs. Of other causes, intemperance is generally the most fatal amongst the natives of countries that have been colonized by Europeans, but with the Maoris, intoxication, though on the increase, is only an occasional, not an habitual, excess, and can have but a very slight share in contributing to the decrease of their numbers. Suicide, infanticide, witchcraft, and such like practices, whatever might have once been their importance as causes destructive to life, are among those which have materially declined. Neither can polygamy be fairly assigned as a cause, as it must have existed while the population was increasing to its greatest amount, besides it has prevailed in some of the most populous parts of the world.
The custom of infanticide in by-gone years was very general, and chiefly affected the females, but cases of the kind are very rare now—on the contrary, the desire for living offspring is very great.
A large mortality is caused amongst the children, at the time of weaning, by the improper food they are fed on, which frequently consists of decomposed potatoes or indian corn, or other food equally injurious. The mothers also during pregnancy are ill fed, and consequently the children, when born, are often weak and sickly.
The constitutional infertility of the women appears to be one of the chief causes of the want of numbers, and, according to the natives this is quite a recent characteristic, although the absence of issue was not unknown in former times. The want of fecundity in the females has been attributed to the illicit intercourse which takes place between the sexes from a very early age, which, although considerable at the present time, was much more general in former years during periods when the race was increasing. It would seem, therefore, that unfruitfulness must be traced to other causes.
There is another cause of sickness and of death, fatal to all ages alike, and that is the use of decomposed potatoes and indian corn. This practice began among the Ngapuhi people about the year 1830, and suddenly spread through the country, bringing with it swellings in the neck, hips, and sides, such as had never before been witnessed.
It has been alleged that the circumstance of the Maoris subsisting mainly on a vegetable diet will to some extent explain the deficiency of vigour which appears to exist in the reproductive powers of the race. This idea would seem to be fallacious, considering that many of the natives of Asia exist in perfect health and multiply on a diet of which animal food forms but a small part. The food of the labouring classes of Ireland also is very similar to that of the Maori, with the exception that the Irish peasant obtains milk, and does not eat putrid food. There would seem, therefore, no reason why the Maori population, dwelling in a state of quietude, should not increase at a rate equal at least to that of the Irish peasantry.page 26
The Maoris themselves attribute their decadence in some measure to the introduction of new food and clothing, and the attendant change of habits. They affirm that in former times, when their custom was to walk abroad with little clothing, and to pursue their ordinary occupations in a state of almost nudity, their powers of endurance were much greater, and their health unbroken. This argument, as far as regards the description of food in use amongst these people, is entitled to some weight, but it is difficult to conceive that a change from comparative nakedness to a state of comfort as regards clothing, can have exercised a prejudicial effect on their general health.
The theory that the coloured race must fade away before the white race can receive little confirmation from the present decay of the former, for many of the chief causes to which their depopulation has been ascribed existed in full force at a period antecedent to the colonization of the country, when the whites were insignificant in numbers, and sparsely located. That the red races of North America have gradually receded before the encroaching perseverance of the white race, and have in many instances entirely disappeared, is not to be held to be the consequence of the simple presence of the latter, but is to be attributed not only to the extermination over extensive districts of the game which forms the principal article of subsistence to a nation of hunters, but in a greater degree to the destructive effects of intemperance, European diseases, and exterminating wars waged not only between the two races, but amongst the natives themselves. In localities where these causes of depopulation have had no, or only a partial operation, or where the people have been induced to adopt habits of civilization, the North American Indians have increased, and shown every sign of healthy growth and prolonged existence; but it would seem that the adoption of these habits by the Maoris has not produced a corresponding effect; as, for instance, the natives of the Southern Island, who have been entirely free from the intestine commotions prevailing amongst many of the tribes of the Northern Island, have not increased in that geometrical progression laid down by writers on the laws of population. These people have been entirely removed from most of the causes of depopulation that have been taking place amongst the natives of the North during the past twelve years. They are possessed also of an abundance of fertile soil, with every facility for obtaining the necessaries of existence, coupled with a climate of great salubrity; but, notwithstanding these advantages, their number in the aggregate at the present time does not even equal the calculations of former years; the same inadequate disproportion of the female sex also exists that prevails amongst the natives of the North.
Mr. Doubleday, in his "True Laws of Population," lays it down as a great law in nature, that wherever, either in the animal or vegetable kingdom, the existence of a species or genus is endangered, a corresponding effort is invariably made for its preservation and continuance by an increase of fecundity or fertility.
Without nature, therefore, makes an effort of the kind alluded to, to arrest the rapid decline of numbers that is now taking place amongst the Maori population, or unless the cause of decay be ascertained and removed, it is not too much to infer, if the Malthusian theory is correct, that their extinction as a people will be but a question of time; and the coming New Zealander, whose image has been rendered familiar by the fancy of a distinguished essayist and historian, should he ever look upon the ruins of London, will have—there can scarcely be a doubt—no small admixture of Anglo-Saxon blood in his veins.
The following remarks on the condition and prospects of the Maori race in the Southern Island, contained in a report prepared by the Rev. J. W. Stack, of the Christchurch Diocesan Maori Mission, in 1870, appear appropriate to the subject in hand:—
The time allotted for this paper will only permit me to refer briefly to some of the causes that hasten the decrease and retard the civilization of the Maori, and to what has been done by the Diocesan Maori Mission to remove them.
The Maori population of the Province of Canterbury is rather under 400. They reside on the reserves made for them in the different parts of the province. They have no desire to amalgamate with the white population. They prefer to consider themselves a separate nation—allies rather than subjects of the Crown. They feel their inferiority to us, and it wounds their pride. They feel that it would be useless to attempt to compete with the European in the higher walks of civilized life, and their pride forbids them to choose their lot in its lowlier ones. They prefer to stand aside on neutral ground, where they can meet us as equals—where they can govern themselves, and provide for their own wants in their own way, only having recourse occasionally to the white man for assistance.
Their domestic habits and customs, and their ideas of the relative importance of matters connected with the concerns of daily life, differ so widely from our own, that it is only by isolating themselves within their reserves that they can carry out their own schemes for the happiness and well-being of their community.
Whenever a difference arises between two persons about any matter, however trivial, a public meeting is called, a chairman elected, and the subject in dispute discussed and disposed of. Domestic squabbles, scandals, the ownership of property, trespass, breaches of the moral code, are for the most part settled in this way.
These runangas, or public meetings, exercise a wholesome check upon the few drunkards to be found among the Maoris, for, as a community, they are at present sober; not so much because they dislike the taste of intoxicating liquors, as because the have seen the ill effects of the abuse of them.
Thirty years ago, when the whaling ships refitted in these ports, spirits flowed at times like water through the Maori villages, and men, women, and children might be seen lying dead drunk in and around their huts. At such seasons dreadful crimes were perpetrated, the horrors of which still haunt the older men, and cause them to hail with pleasure the efforts made by their European friends to preserve them from the curse of drunkenness.
A drunkard, with us, can only annoy his own family with impunity, but a drunken Maori can annoy a whole settlement. He can enter house after house, and do and say what he likes. The laws of hospitality forbid the door being shut against any countryman, or his forcible ejection from the house, however disagreeable his conduct may be to the owner.
Some people think that the restriction on the sale of intoxicating drinks to the Maoris ought to be withdrawn, but I have no hesitation in saying that it would be positive cruelty to do so. It would neutralize all our endeavours to benefit the Maori, and would speedily destroy him, body and soul. As it is, our drinking habits, and the practice of treating, are steadily weakening the influence of the older and wiser among them, who still regard "waipero" as their greatest enemy. Maoris have very little power of self-restraint; and if they had an unlimited supply of liquor in their houses, very few would be able to use it in moderation.page 27
Many are, perhaps, aware that the Maoris hold a wake before any funeral. We have had some difficulty of late to prevent the introduction of a new feature into this ceremony, namely, the whisky bottle, the free use of which, on similar occasions, by our Irish friends, has disposed them to think that they are too far behind the age in not adopting this very objectionable addition to the funeral feast.
There is a great want of earnestness in the character of the Maori, a deficiency only observable since the colonization of the country. In former times, what his hand found to do he did with all his might; his fortifications, houses, cultivations, and canoes, his carving and tatooing, were all well and neatly done. Now, however, he seems incapable of finishing anything he begins. There is an aimlessness about his life painful to witness in any human being. He seems to take no real pleasure or delight in anything. If he builds a house, he never completes it; if he puts up a fence, however well he may begin it, he is sure to leave a gap somewhere, and to patch that up just to make it do for the present. He may die, before the crop he has planted so slovenly may be reaped, and then what will it matter to him that cattle broke in and destroyed it? If his wife or children are ill, sometimes he will sit motionless beside them till all hope of recovery is past, and then rush hither and thither for food or medical advice, selling anything he has to procure what they need; or, on the other hand, he will get everything on the first alarm of illness, and tend them with the greatest devotion, and then suddenly drop into that listless, hopeless state of mind, and neglect them altogether.
I will briefly mention some of the probable reasons that occur to me for this aimlessness of character.
In the first place, the sudden change from the active life of heathenism to the even calm of Christianity, involving as it did the change of all his customs, habits, modes of thought, most of which he was to look upon as wicked and hateful to God; then the colonization of the country, and the entire change in his position from being lord of the soil to a tolerated occupier of a very small portion, appears to have bewildered and paralyzed the faculties of the Maori. Look where he will, he is hemmed in by customs and laws that he does not clearly understand. He feels a stranger and a foreigner in his own land. He can no longer fish and shoot and hunt without permission. He cannot keep a living creature about him, without its becoming a source of anxiety lest it should involve him in the trangression of some known or unknown law. Everywhere law confronts him, and casts a shadow on his path. Yet he does not hate the law, or try to resist it. He admits its justice, and the fairness with which it is administered. The fault, he confesses, rests with himself; yet, nevertheless, he seems powerless to remedy it. The future offers no hope. He cannot look forward to his children entering upon some honourable career now closed to him, for they precede him to the grave. Under such circumstances, can we wonder at Maoris moping about their huts and feeling disinclined to work, content to make spasmodic efforts occasionally to supply their absolute wants?
The position of the Maori is inevitable, nevertheless, it is hard for any human being, especially one so self-conscious, to feel that he is no more use or importance in the land in which he dwells than the dumb brutes of the field.
I think it is mainly to this cause that we must attribute the rapid decrease of the Maori population. I had occasion lately to make inquiries respecting certain natives—twenty in number—for whom Mr. Commissioner Mantell reserved land, in 1847. I ascertained the startling fact, that ten only survived; that of that number eight were more than fifty years old, two only were young men, and but one of these married, and he has only two children, the eldest only three years old.
This is no doubt an exceptional case, but it is a fact that the general average of deaths exceeds the births.
To this hopeless state of mind, moreover, may, in a great measure, be attributed the poverty of the Maoris, though other reasons may also be assigned. No Maori in East Canterbury can command an income of £100, or even half the amount.
Why, it may be asked, do they not cultivate their reserves? Because, in every instance except Kaiapoi, the reserves are held in common, and they cannot agree among themselves as to boundaries, fences, and roads.
At Kaiapoi, the farms average fourteen acres a-piece. If they were entirely cultivated, the value of the produce of each farm would not amount to very much; and if let at the highest rental yet obtained would only yield an income of £14 to each family.
But why do they not seek for work among the Europeans? They dislike working for a master. The chiefs always had slaves to work for them in heathen times, and they cannot disabuse their minds of the old idea that it is degrading to work under the direction of another. At shearing and harvest time, many of the young men do go out to work, and are invariably liked by their employers. But men who trace their pedigrees up to the creation shrink from the yoke of hired servitude.
The isolated position they have assumed, their ignorance, poverty and prejudices, and the want of interest in life, are the difficulties in the way of their advancement. In spite of these, however, they have made a slight advance. In place of the snug whare, they now house themselves in cold, draughty, wooden buildings, which often prove coffins above ground to those who erect them. They furnish them poorly, but as like the white man as they can.
They have adopted our clothing—though opinions may differ as to the advantage of the exchange, a chief being a more dignified-looking person in a mat, than rigged out in a tight-fitting dress-coat of ancient cut, patched inexpressibles, navvy boots, and crushed white hat.
They have adopted our food—tea, sugar, and bread, being the chief articles of diet. Meat they cannot afford. The kit is now exchanged for a tin dish, and the calabash for a pannikin, at ordinary meals, but on extraordinary occasions the food is served on tables in European fashion.
Strange to say, the dried shark and mutton-birds are disagreeing with them, and very few can drink a pint of oil without suffering from a bilious attack. They declare, and perhaps with truth, that warm tea has destroyed their digestion!
By the adoption of our food, clothing, and mode of life, the Maori will be compelled to work—compelled to fight the battle of life side by side with the white man. Should one prosper in the pursuit of trade, or any branch of industry, many would be found to follow. The barrier of communism is being fast removed, and we may cherish the hope that whatever good qualities the race possesses, will be concentrated in the remnant that is left, who may throw into the channels of civilized life the fierce [unclear: emergy], industry, perseverance, and skill that characterized their forefathers.
But it is in matters connected with their spiritual interests that the Maoris have manifested the greatest improvement. In church building, church attendance, school and bible classes, they have taken a very warm interest. The closing up of the avenues to worldly distinction has impelled them to seek the higher rewards offered by God to man, and in the consolations of religion to seek compensation for the loss of earthly privileges. These natives were christened about twenty-eight years ago, through the preaching of Native converts from the North; they were visited occasionally by Bishop Selwyn, and the Wesleyan Missionaries who were stationed in Otago. But when our Diocesan Mission was started, in 1859, the people had become very indifferent to the ministrations of religion, and very lax in their morals. Ten years ago, there were only two buildings set apart for Divine service. One was in such a dilapidated condition that it could be only used in fine weather, and the other was little better. Then the services were rarely attended by any but the lay-readers and their families. In six villages, Divine service was occasionally performed in private houses. Now, in six out of eight villages, there are substantial wooden churches filled Sunday after Sunday with devout worshippers. Ten years ago, it was impossible to go through the service anywhere without having to pause occasionally to rebuke the congregation for coughing, spitting on the walls, changing seats, comparing books, going in and out of church, or allowing their children to play hide-and-seek about the building. Now, they everywhere behave themselves during Divine service in a devout and seemly manner. Ten years ago, there were no schools. Now, thanks to the liberal grants of the General Government, we have a boarding school, with sixteen children, who can all read, write, and speak English. The eldest pupil is not fifteen, and yet they make all their own clothes, cook their own food, and clean their own rooms.page 28
In every village there are lay readers, who hold Sunday and week-day services, Sunday-school, Bible classes, and who visit the sick and prepare candidates for baptism and confirmation, and who do all this without receiving or expecting any payment for their services.
I have spoken of the poverty of the Maoris, but that does not prevent their giving. In one place seventy natives raised £100 in one year towards building a church; the amount represented 2,000 back-loads of fire-wood, carried about the streets of Lyttelton. In another place, about the same number contribute annually £25 towards the Missionary's stipend, and an equal amount towards the boarding-school.
With the exception of the Wesleyans, who employ a most excellent native minister at Rapaki, our church alone provides for the spiritual instruction of the Maoris in this diocese.
If time permitted I could refer to many topics of interest connected with the subject of this paper, but I must now bring my remarks to a close by commending the Christchurch Maori Mission to your sympathy and your prayers.
These reserves of land were looked on as far more important to the natives than anything that could be paid to them in the shape of purchase-money, as, however highly they were paid, the consideration given would only afford but a brief enjoyment, and when it had passed away what better would the recipients be for the gift, while these lands would remain with them as a lasting possession.
By way of a recompense for the moment, as well as in deference to public opinion, the Company, however, paid the natives what was deemed, according to received notions, to be a sufficient price; but they considered the real worth of the land purchased from the natives to be the reserves set apart for their maintenance, and for schools, hospitals, and other useful establishments.
It was to guard the natives against that common failing of all aboriginal races—want of foresight, and to secure them from the dangers to which colonization exposed them if denuded of all landed property, that the Company invented the plan of Native Reserves, as these were possessions that could not be squandered away at the moment, but, as time glided on, their value would continually and immensely increase, and in place of a barren possession which they parted with, the natives would receive in return a property of considerable worth, that, if properly administered for their benefit, would ultimately prove of incalculable value.
In August, 1839, shortly after his arrival in the colony, Colonel Wakefield concluded three purchases from the natives; and, in pursuance with the instructions received from the Company to the effect that, in every pukapuka, or contract, entered into with the natives for the purchase of land, care should be taken to mention that a proportion of the territory ceded, equal to one-tenth, should be reserved and held in trust by the Company for the future benefit of the natives, he made it a condition of each of the deeds of purchase that a portion of the land ceded should be set apart as aforesaid.
The system thus commenced was only adopted in the three first settlements founded by the Company, namely, Port Nicholson, Nelson, and New Plymouth, although reserves were also made for the natives in the settlements of Otago and Canterbury, founded also under their auspices; these, however, were merely occupation reserves, being land excluded from purchase, and could scarcely be considered native reserves under the New Zealand Company's scheme.
It would seem by the 13th clause of the agreement of 1840, that the Government had the power to make reservations of lands within the Company's settlements for the benefit of the natives in pursuance of the Company's engagements to that effect; and Lord Stanley, in a despatch to Governor FitzRoy, dated the 18th of April, 1844, referring to native reserves, says:—
There can be no question that they should be taken out of the Company's lands; the Company had, in former instructions to their agent, provided for reserving one-tenth of all lands which they might acquire from the natives for their benefit. By the 13th clause of their agreement, of November, 1840, the Government was, in respect of all to be granted to them, to make reservations of such lands for the benefit of the natives, in pursuance of the Company's engagements to that effect. It seems quite plain, therefore, that the Government is to reserve for that purpose one-tenth of the Company's land.
In October, 1840, Mr. Edmund Halswell, a member of the English bar, was appointed by the New Zealand Company to the office of Commissioner for the management of the lands reserved for the natives in their settlements, and general directions were given to him for the administration of the property.
After the Company resigned the native reserves into the hands of her Majesty's Government, Mr. Halswell was superseded in the management of the Trust Estate, and the trusteeship of the native reserves in New Zealand was vested by Governor Hobson in the Bishop of New Zealand, the Chief Justice, and the Chief Protector of Aborigines.page 29
Besides the management of the native reserves, it was intended that the Bishop and his colleagues should have control over all moneys accruing from the proportion of the produce of land sales within the colony to be devoted to native purposes, which might prove from time to time to be disposable out of the funds so to be set apart for this purpose after paying the expense of the Protector's department; the funds accruing from both sources to be expended in the establishment of schools for the education of youth among the aborigines, and in furtherance of such measures as be most conducive to the spiritual care of the native race, and to their advancement in the scale of social and political existence.
The proposal made by the New Zealand Company, in 1841, to advance £5,000 for native purposes on mortgage of the native reserves in the Company's settlements, was objected to, it being considered unadvisable to sanction any mode of raising money upon the security of the native reserves which might by any contingency cause the alienation of these lands from the beneficial use of the aborigines.
In 1841, the Chief Justice resigned the office of trustee, as he found the duties incompatible with his official position, for, in the event of the trustees being engaged in any lawsuit, he would be both judge and party in the suit at the same time; and Mr. Halswell was subsequently appointed to the sole charge of the reserves at Wellington, as agent of the trust vested in the Bishop and his co-trustee; and Mr. Thompson, the Police Magistrate, was appointed to fill a similar office in Nelson.
In 1842, Mr. Thompson, in his capacity as Agent of Native Reserves, selected 100 sections of one acre each in the town of Nelson, and 100 suburban sections of fifty acres each in the Moutere and Motueka districts, and acted as local manager of the property until June, 1843, when he perished in the Wairau massacre.
After the death of Mr. Thompson, the Bishop appointed Mr. M'Donald his agent.
In February, 1844, the Bishop resigned the office of trustee, and in the same year the Native Trust Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council, for appointing a Board of Trustees for the management of property to be set apart for the education and advancement of the native race. The trustees named by the Ordinance were his Excellency the Governor, the Lord Bishop of New Zealand, William Spain, Esq. (so long as he held the office of Commissioner of Land Claims), and the Chief Protector of Aborigines. This Ordinance was not brought into operation, although it received the Royal confirmation, in consequence of the terms of the last clause not being fully complied with, namely, that the confirmation of the Ordinance should be notified in the Gazette before it came into operation.
The establishment of trustees for Native Reserves, as originally contemplated, not being carried out, the Government appointed Boards of Management, and in June, 1848, Messrs. Poynter, Carkeek, and Tinline, were appointed a Board of Management of the Native Reserves for the District of Nelson. The Board retained the management of the property till the middle of the year 1853, when the sole management of the property devolved upon Major Richmond, who was then Crown Lands Commissioner, and who was ultimately succeeded, in the year 1857, by Messrs. Domett, Poynter, and Brunner, by appointment dated 1st December, 1856, as Commissioners under the Native Reserves Act of 1856.
Owing to the impossibility of carrying out the original scheme of the Nelson settlement, and the consequent necessity for some equitable compromise, the inhabitants applied to the New Zealand Company to modify the arrangements, so as to allow the landowners the option of acquiring fresh land, and promoting concentration by means of re-selection under certain conditions. In furtherance of this object, but not in the precise mode suggested by them, the Company proposed a new set of regulations in October, 1845. These, however, were received with great dissatisfaction, and were consequently withdrawn. The settlers continued to press for a remodelling of the original scheme, and the directors therefore made another attempt to carry out such an alteration.
Negotiations ensued between a committee of the resident land purchasers on the one hand, and the Company's agents on the other; and certain resolutions were come to by the Nelson Committee, at a meeting of land purchasers and agents, held in Nelson, on the 30th of June, 1847, which were subsequently concurred in by the Company, subject to certain modifications.
The following extract from the aforesaid resolutions has reference to native reserves:—
One subject, arising out of our proposed plan, but not coming strictly perhaps within the scope of our own duties, we yet consider it our duty to make a few remarks upon. We allude to the native reserves.
With respect to the rural sections, it is understood that the Governor, in making the large reserves he has for the natives at the Wairau, has released the Company from laying out and choosing the 100 rural sections according to the original scheme, but in the case of the town and suburban sections, the effect of our proposal would be to allot a much larger proportion than one-tenth of the land actually sold to the natives. How far, now that the Crown has taken these reserves into its hands any alteration in them would be sanctioned, is a question; but we would suggest a memorial being addressed to the Governor, with a view to limit the number of town and suburban reserves to one-tenth of the land actually sold, so as to throw open the remainder for present choice.
In compliance with a proposition to that effect subsequently made by the Resident Agent of the Company on behalf of the land purchasers, the Governor consented to a reduction of the number of the native reserves proportionate to that proposed in respect of the whole settlement. This led to the surrender of forty-seven of the town reserves, but the reduction was not extended to the suburban sections.
With reference to the large reserves in the Wairau, alluded to in the foregoing extract as having released the Company from selecting the 100 rural sections according to the original scheme, unfortunately for the interest of the Trust Estate these reserves, which consisted of two large blocks containing an approximate area in the aggregate of 117,248 acres set apart on the first sale of the district by the natives in March, 1847, were subsequently included in the second sale to the Government in 1853, without any precaution being taken to set apart a page 30sufficiency of land in satisfaction of the quantity the Trust was entitled to under the original scheme as rural land.
In addition to the Company's tenths, certain other lands were excepted for the natives in the awards to the Company, in conformity with certain resolutions agreed to at a conference held in Wellington, in January, 1844, between the local Government and the Company's Principal Agent, to the effect, "that the pahs, burial places, and grounds actually in cultivation by the natives, situated within any of the lands appropriated to the New Zealand Company, should be retained for the use of the natives."
The lands of this description in the Nelson settlement were chiefly situated in Massacre Bay, and consisted principally of cultivated grounds scattered in small patches of a few acres, in all manner of fantastic shapes, throughout sections owned by European proprietors.
In 1847, Governor Grey, in order to remedy the inconvenience caused by the vague description given of these lands, directed them to be surveyed as described in the award to the Company, and in accordance with the original understanding.
In 1844, at the time of Mr. Commissioner Spain's inquiry into the New Zealand Company's claims to land in the Nelson settlement, Mr. G. Clarke, the Sub-Protector of Aborigines, recommended the exchange of a number of the sections selected as native reserves in Motueka, in lieu of an equal number of suburban sections in the same district, which were found to be in the occupation of the natives. This recommendation was subsequently acted on, and eight native reserve sections, viz., Nos. 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 28, 256, and 252, were exchanged for suburban sections Nos. 162, 163, 182, 212, 219, and 220.
The whole of these sections had been previously awarded to the natives by Mr. Commissioner Spain, together with eight other sections, sixteen in all, in confirmation of the arrangement made between Captain Wakefield and the natives shortly after the arrival of the preliminary expedition at Nelson, to the effect that they should retain a considerable portion of the Big Wood, at Motueka, then in cultivation by them.
The following sections were awarded to the natives of Motueka by Mr. Spain:—Nos. 157, 159, 160, 161, *162, *163, *164, *182, 183, 187, *188, *212, *219, *200, *220, 241, and 242.
The sections marked thus *are those for which an equal number of Native Reserve sections had to be given in exchange.
Besides the exchange alluded to above, the Board of Management found it necessary to make further alterations, in consequence of the natives having located themselves on many of the purchased sections in the district. To obviate any difficulties that might eventually ensue from these encroachments, the Board surrendered Native Reserve sections Nos. 20, 29, 35, 36, 73, and 74, for the sections encroached on, viz., Nos. 181, 184, 210, 211, 218, and 243. Upon five of these sections considerable cultivations had been made, and it would have been next to an impossibility for the European owners to have wrested possession from the numerous occupants.
Irrespective, however, of the advantage gained for the natives in carrying out this arrangement, it was also of great benefit to the Trust Estate, inasmuch as the land taken in exchange by the Board was of superior quality to the land given up, and being contiguous to the great bulk of the native estate in the Wood, at Motueka, it was, moreover, of much greater value than detached sections at a distance from what was then the inhabited portion of the district.
In 1853, Sir George Grey granted a number of the native reserve sections at Motueka— in all 918 acres—to the Bishop of New Zealand, as an endowment for an Industrial School for the education of children of both races, and of children of other poor and destitute persons being inhabitants of islands in the Pacific Ocean.
This grant was looked upon as a violation of the contract on which the settlement was founded, and in contravention of the original intention for which the lands were set apart by the New Zealand Company.
A special committee of the Nelson Provincial Council expressed their disapprobation of the grant, and a memorial was forwarded by them to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, praying that the necessary steps might be taken to set the grant aside; but although permission was subsequently given to test its validity by a writ of "scire facias" the matter was allowed to drop, as other interests were involved, which it was considered inexpedient to disturb.
The origin of the numerous grants that had been made in various parts of the colony, appears to have sprung from a correspondence in the years 1849 and 1851, between the then Governor, Sir George Grey, and Earl Grey, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in which the Governor points out the advantages that would ensue to the promotion of Industrial Schools for the natives, if grants of waste lands of the Crown were made, to provide for the subsistence of the children educated thereat, and suggests that the advantages proposed should be extended to children of natives of islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Earl Grey, in reply, approved of the scheme as being salutary and politic, and expressed his satisfaction of the general sufficiency of the instrument by which it was proposed to convey the lands to be set apart for the maintenance of the schools.
Had the original intention been adhered to of setting apart Crown land as an endowment for these institutions, no objection could have been taken to the appropriation of land for so laudable a purpose; but, from some unexplained cause, these appropriations were made to include lands set apart solely for the natives under express agreement with the Imperial Government under the terms of the prospectus of three of the settlements of the New Zealand Company, and as part of the consideration for the cession of native territory.
The purpose of the reserves was clear and exclusive, and forbade their use for general endowment, and had the "Native Trust Ordinance, of 1844," been in operation, these appropriations for general purposes could not have been made, as its provisions expressly prohibited alienation except by lease, and declared all charges or incumbrances on the Trust Estate to be void.page 31
In September, 1862, an Act was passed by the General Assembly, known as the "Native Reserves Amendment Act, 1862."
This Act provides that, on and after a certain date to be fixed by the Governor by proclamation, all the powers and authorities which by the "Native Reserves Act, 1856," were vested in Commissioners, shall vest in and may be exercised by the Governor; it also provides that the Governor may delegate the whole or any of the powers Competent to Commissioners, to any person or persons, for any period, subject to such regulations, restrictions, or stipulations as may be specified in the Order of Delegation.
In conformity, therefore, with the provisions of the aforesaid Act, a proclamation was issued on the 4th August, 1863, fixing the 1st September, 1863, as the date for the Act to come into operation.
There are four classes of reserves in the Southern Island, viz.:—
- 1. Reserves set apart by the New Zealand Company in the Nelson settlement under the original scheme. This class comprises an acreage of 5,053 acres, a large proportion of which is in the occupation of tenants, and the revenue accruing is spent in various ways for improving the general condition of the natives. The total amount collected from the estate since the year 1842, the period at which these lands were selected, to the 31st December, 1869, amounted to £12,634 13s. 3d.; and the expenditure on behalf of the natives during that period was £11,432 11s. 11d., leaving a balance of £1,202 1s. 4d. to the credit of the fund.
- 2. Reserves of the second class are lands that have been brought under the operation of the "Native Reserves Act, 1856," with the assent of the natives. The reserves of this class are situated chiefly on the West Coast of the Province of Nelson, and in the County of Westland. A portion of these lands only is productive. The total revenue collected from the portion of the estate in the occupation of tenants, since the 1st July, 1865, the date at which the portion alluded to first became occupied, to the 31st December, 1869, amounted to £14,361 19s. 7d.; while the expenditure for the same period was £10,366 9s. 5d., leaving a balance to the credit of the fund of £3,995 10s. 2d.
3. Reserves of the third class are lands that have been excepted from sale by the natives on the cession of the surrounding territory to the Crown, and set apart for their use and occupation. Of the reserves of this class very few have been utilized in the way of producing a revenue, the land being chiefly required for the use of the natives.
The natives in the Provinces of Canterbury and Otago have obtained titles, under the provisions of the Native Lands Act, to the whole of the reserves of this class situated in these provinces, during the sitting of the Native Lands Court there in 1868.
- 4. Reserves of the fourth class comprise the awards made by the Native Lands Court in 1868, in final extinguishment of all claims under the terms of Kemp's, or the Ngaitahu Deed, of 1848, in pursuance of which the Court set apart, in the Provinces of Otago and Canterbury, land to the extent of 4,789 acres.
Besides the reserves alluded to above, a few parcels of land have been devoted to this purpose by the Superintendents of provinces, especially in Canterbury.
It seems unnecessary to enlarge further on this subject here, as a full return of the reserves in the Southern Island, together with copies of Reports from the several Commissioners, will be found amongst the papers included in this work, under the head of Native Reserves.
Among the measures taken to replace the protectorate department, with a view to bring the natives under the influence of the Government, and gain their confidence and attachment, hospitals were established in the principal districts, to which both races were equally admitted; savings banks were opened at Auckland and Wellington; a lawyer was engaged as standing counsel, to whom all the natives resorting to Auckland for justice were referred to, a fixed fee of £100 a year being paid to him from funds applicable to native purposes, and a further fee of five per cent on all amounts which he might recover for them; and to convince the natives that our laws were better than their own as affording more perfect security for life and property, and a much more ready means of adjusting differences which might arise either between natives and Europeans, or amongst natives themselves, a system of Resident Magistrates Courts were established in Maori and mixed districts, presided over by European Resident Magistrates, aided in native cases by paid Maori assessors. An Ordinance was also enacted to prevent Europeans from abandoning, in a state of utter destitution and misery, their half-caste children, as they were previously in the habit of doing. The construction of military roads, and other public works, about this time in the neighbourhood of Wellington and Auckland, gave extensive employment to a large number of natives as well as Europeans, which, while opening up the country, taught the natives the use of European implements, and the advantages of combined and continuous labour. As a means also of still advancing the civilization of the natives, page 32two laws were passed, the first of which prohibited them from procuring arms or ammunition, and the second illegalized the sale of spirituous liquors to them. The restriction placed on the sale of arms and ammunition was unfortunately relaxed by Governor Browne, about the year 1855, and within the three following years the natives, according to Government returns, purchased and stored up not less than £50,000 worth of arms and ammunition, and it was probably the possession of these resources that emboldened them, when the time arrived, to defy the power of the Government.
Means were also taken to provide for the education of native children, by establishing schools in conjunction with those already opened by the missionaries; a tolerably efficient medical attendance was also established in the most populous native districts, and a weekly newspaper issued in the Maori language, wherein all measures of the Government were explained, and its columns open to them for complaint. The publication of this useful periodical ceased after a while, and has been superseded of late years by a Gazette in the Maori language, issued periodically, under the authority of the Government. By its means the natives are kept constantly acquainted with all measures adopted by Government on their behalf.
In the despatches to Governor Grey accompanying the charter of 1846, Earl Grey advocates the principles laid down by the late Dr. Arnold, that all waste and unoccupied lands are the property of the Crown, and that the Crown has the sole right to administer them for the benefit of all her Majesty's subjects, whether aborigines or colonists, and that if the colonization of New Zealand were only then about to begin, these were the principles upon which it would have been his duty to have instructed the Governor to act.
On the publication of the correspondence in the colony, the Bishop of New Zealand, as the "head of the Church Missionaries," protested strongly against this doctrine. The Wesleyan missionaries also addressed a protest, similar in substance, to Earl Grey.
The principal objections raised were as follows:—"That the Treaty of Waitangi, which guarantees to the natives the full and exclusive enjoyment of their landed rights, could never be repudiated. That the instructions to Governor Grey were at variance with the terms thereof, and that every acre of land in the country, whether occupied or not, was claimed by the aborigines, each tribe and family having its respective boundaries, and except in some few cases of international dispute, acknowledged by all, and consequently that there was no waste land in the colony that could be appropriated to the Crown without purchase." In reply to these remonstrances, Earl Grey disclaimed any intention of infringing the rights of the natives.
In opposition to the opinion expressed by others, Governor Grey, in his despatches to Earl Grey on this subject, states as his belief that in the most densely inhabited portions of the Northern Island there were large tracts of land, claimed by contending tribes, to which neither of them had a strictly valid right, but that any attempt on the part of the Government to assume a territorial right over the land would lead to a war of races.
But apart from these expressions of opinion, no attempt has ever been made on the part of the Crown to encroach upon the territorial rights of the natives, or infringe upon the spirit or the letter of the treaty of Waitangi, and in recognition of these rights, the principle observed in the acquisition of territory was, that the land could only be obtained with the full and free concurrence of the native proprietors. Care has also been taken in all purchases effected by the Government throughout the colony, to set apart for the native owners adequate portions of valuable land in eligible situations, under arrangements that would secure them against their own inexperience and improvidence, and many of these reserves, especially in the Southern Inland, have proved very valuable.
In 1856, an Act was passed by the General Assembly empowering the Governor to appoint Commissioners for the management of these lands, and all lands so vested in them to be considered, for all judicial purposes, the property of such Commissioners; a subsequent Act, passed in 1862, divested the Commissioners of these powers and estates, and transferred them to the Governor with power to delegate.
With a view to make provision for the settlement of land disputes amongst the natives, the Government caused an Act to be passed, in 1868, entitled the "Territorial Rights Act," to enable the native tribes to have their territorial rights ascertained and defined, and to provide for the issue of Crown grants, to a limited extent to individual natives, of lands over which the native title shall have been ceded; such grants in certain cases to be inalienable. The attempt, however, was defeated, owing to the Act containing some important objections relative to the proposed issue of certificates of title to the natives, a power which her Majesty's Government, under existing circumstances, considered it inexpedient to grant to the colonial Legislature. The next attempt of the kind was made in 1862, by passing the "Native Lands Act," empowering the Governor to constitute Courts for determining the proprietorship of native land. This measure received the Royal assent, and the General Assembly were empowered to repeal section 73 of the Constitution Act, which secured to her Majesty the rights of pre-emption over native land. An amending Act was passed in 1864, and a fresh Act in 1865. This Act, subject to the amendments made from time to time since that date, is now in operation throughout the colony.
The object of the aforesaid Act is to provide the means of extricating the native title from its present entanglement, for reducing it to fixed rules, and for subjecting it to the jurisdiction of regular tribunals, and also to enable the extensive wilderness in the hands of the natives (which comprises a large proportion of the Northern Island, including some of its most fertile portions) being brought within the reach of colonization. It was also hoped that by its means the communistic habits of the natives, which at present run through the whole of the institutions upon which their social system is based, would be eradicated, and which act as a barrier to the further progress of the people; and that, in giving them the same individual ownership in land which we ourselves possess, they would gradually lose their communistic character, and their social status become assimilated to our own.page 33
After the termination of the disturbances in the neighbourhood of Cook's Strait, in 1847, on the natives evincing a desire to emulate the colonists in agricultural and other pursuits the Government encouraged their efforts with liberal support, by supplying them with ploughs, harrows, thrashing-machines, carts, and other agricultural implements. Mills were also erected in the native districtsat the public expense, and millers and engineers paid to work them.
Notwithstanding the various attempts made to further the advancement of the natives, the germs of discontent prevailed amongst many of the larger tribes of the North, who felt that they were not governed to their liking. This feeling ultimately developed itself in the appointment of a king of their own, and the formation of a league to prohibit the sale of land to the Europeans. The tribes who originated this measure, had viewed with alarm the rapid alienation of native territory made by other tribes, together with the progress of colonization going on around them, and dreaded lest the day should arrive when they should be persuaded to sell their lands, and admit amongst them the advancing tide of immigration. This suggested the idea of forming a league, and most of the tribes who desired to hold the colonists at arm's length, joined it. Many of the tribes, however, repudiated the interference of the King and the League, and still continued to dispose of their land to the Government.
The following remarks on the subject, are mostly taken from a Memorandum attached to a despatch from Governor Browne to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, dated 13th July, 1861:—
"It would seem that the true origin of the King movement amongst the natives has never been thoroughly examined. As early as 1848, the idea was entertained among them of appointing a king of their own, and the motive that led to it is assumed by many to be identical with the movement that had been going on amongst them for the establishment of some system of law and order among themselves. This view it would seem was erroneous, as the two movements were distinct, till the Waikato tribes by joining the insurrection of 1860-61, effaced the distinction, and made the King movement the one question to be politically treated.
"Prior to the establishment of British sovereignty, the tribes were ruled by the principal chiefs, each chief assuming more or less power according to his courage, and skill in war or ability in council, rather than to rank by birth. It would seem that when the Treaty of Waitangi was offered to the people, that it was accepted in two different senses: the chiefs believed it would confirm their power over the tribes; the common people supposed it would secure them from the ambition of the chiefs. This probably was the true origin of the distinction between the subsequent movements for law and order under the Queen's sovereignty, and for the establishment of a separate and independent sovereignty under a Maori king.
"During the last five or six years of Sir George Grey's rule the country was quiet. He had succeeded in creating a strong feeling of personal attachment to himself amongst the natives of most of the tribes. One of his principal aims had been to encourage the emancipation of the people from the Maori rule of the chiefs, while he wished to give the chiefs an English status; but soon after his departure from the colony the old feeling revived among the chiefs, and some of those who had been his best supporters were foremost in the attempt that was then made to restore their power; and at the great meeting at Manawapou, in 1854, was first seen the germ of the King movement, its chief object being nothing less than the assertion and maintenance of the separate and independent nationality of the Maori race, as well as the prohibition of any further alienation of territory to the Crown, or to individuals of the European race, as a means of obstructing the further progress of European settlement."
Many persons were of opinion, that in its early stage Kingism might have been moulded into something useful, and have proved the means of elevating the native rice by the introduction of institutions subordinate to and in harmony with the Government of the colony, and an attempt was made to do so by Governor Browne, on the recommendation of his responsible advisers, whereupon two laws were passed by the General Assembly, in 1858, entitled respectively the "Native Circuit Court Act," and "Native Districts Regulations Act." These laws were intended to provide for the political organization of the natives, and for securing the administration of justice among them. Thus, the first-named Act confers large powers upon Courts presided over by European Magistrates, assisted by Native Assessors, for carrying into effect both the general law and special regulations made by the Governor; while the second empowers the Governor, with the assent of the natives, to put in force regulations for any purpose with respect to which it would be prudent to make laws without the intervention of the colonial Legislature.
The introduction of these measures was attended with considerable success, but after a while it was considered expedient to abandon the attempt to follow out the policy prescribed by them from fear of arousing the jealousy of the old native chiefs, especially Potatau, and thereby fanning the flame of Kingism which, if left alone, might probably die out of itself, and give place to the better organized and more effectual arrangement initiated for the maintenance of law and order.
Another scheme for the better conduct of native affairs, and to bring the natives more under the influence of the Government, was propounded about this time, and an Act passed for the appointment of a small number of chiefs to constitute a Council as a medium of communication between the Government and the native chiefs in all matters pertaining to native affairs. Clause XV. of this Act provides, that it shall not come into operation until confirmed by her Majesty with the advice of her Majesty's Privy Council, and proclamation of such confirmation shall have been made by the Governor in the New Zealand Gazette, which proclamation does not appear to have been issued.
On the supersession of Governor Browne, in 1861, by Sir George Grey, steps were taken at once by the latter, with a view to divert the attention of the natives from the King movement, to promote as much of the plan of local self-government amongst them commenced by his predecessor as should be found adapted to their condition and circumstances, and for that page 34purpose to take advantage of the system of runangas then in operation in most native districts, and by properly constituting and investing these with specific functions and authority, to place them on such a footing as would make them efficient instruments in the hands of the Government for establishing and maintaining law and order, and improving the social condition of the native race; relying on the ultimate development of such elementary institutions into a good system for teaching the natives the first steps in political life, and prepare them hereafter for taking a full and equal share in the Government of the colony—which the theory of the Constitution already gave them—as well as her Majesty's subjects of the European race. Under this system, the native districts were divided into hundreds, and European officers appointed to conduct the affairs of the respective divisions, aided by a staff of Assessors chosen from amongst the best disposed of the native inhabitants.
Although various measures were introduced by the Government to induce the natives to adopt a system of self-government founded on a sure basis, in preference to the mere blind groping after a form of their own, many of the most influential tribes held themselves aloof, preferring to support their own views of the matter. No means either were left untried to induce them to come to an amicable arrangement concerning the Waitara question, the cause of contention that led to the Taranaki war, in 1860; and although the olive branch was held out to them in all sincerity during the first eighteen months after Sir George Grey's return, nothing could induce them (although Thompson and other chiefs of rank had formerly expressed a desire to do so) to accept the repeated offers to have the matter settled by arbitration.
In May, 1863, hostilities were, unfortunately, recommenced at Taranaki, the pretext being the occupation of Tataraimaka by the troops, and shortly afterwards the Waikatos began to make preparations for an aggressive movement upon Auckland, which led to an engagement in the Koheroa ranges between the rebels and the British troops in July of the same year. This formed the commencement of the war in Waikato, which lasted off and on for about a twelve-month.
During the period alluded to, a horrible fanaticism sprung up amongst the natives dwelling in the neighbourhood of Taranaki, which subsequently spread amongst nearly the whole of the tribes in the Northern Island, superseding the Christianity, nominal or real, of a large part of the Maori race, and developing itself into one of the most disgusting and terrible superstitions ever exhibited.
The following account of its origin is abridged from a work on the war in New Zealand, written by the Hon. Mr. Fox, the present Premier of New Zealand:—
"There is little doubt that this superstition was the work of some designing Maori, done for the sake of gaining notoriety, and for the purpose of forming a bond of combination in place of the King movement, then losing favour amongst the southern natives in consequence of the turn affairs were taking in the Waikato.
"The accounts given of its origin by the natives are various and absurd. The first appearance of this revolting doctrine was after the defeat of Captain Lloyd, and a detachment of the 57th Regiment among the hills in the neighbourhood of Kaitaki, about ten miles south of New Plymouth. Owing to the suddenness of the attack, the force, numbering 100 men, were completely routed, with a loss of seven killed and nine wounded. Captain Lloyd, who exhibited great gallantry, was among the killed. The rebels drank the blood of those who fell, and cut off their heads, burying for the time the heads and bodies in separate places. A few days afterwards, according to the native version, the Angel Gabriel appeared to those who had partaken of the blood, and by the medium of Captain Lloyd's spirit ordered his head to be exhumed, cured in their own way, and taken throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand; that from henceforth this head should be the medium of man's communication with Jehovah. These injunctions were carefully obeyed; and immediately the head was taken up it appointed a native named Te Ua to be high priest, and two others, named Hepanaia and Rangitauira, to be assistants, and communicated to them the tenets of their religion, namely;—The followers shall be called 'Pai-Marire.' The Angel Gabriel, with his legions, will protect them from their enemies. The Virgin Mary will constantly be present with them. The religion of England, as taught by the Scriptures, is false. The Scriptures must be all burnt. All days are alike sacred, and no notice must be taken of the Christian sabbath. Men and women must live together promiscuously, so that their children may be as the sand of the sea shore for multitude, The priests have superhuman power, and can obtain for their followers complete victories by uttering vigorously the word 'Hau.' The people who adopt this religion will shortly drive the whole European population out of New Zealand; and as soon as that was encompassed, men would be sent from heaven to teach the Maoris all the arts and sciences known by Europeans. The priests to have the power to teach the Maoris the English language in one lesson, under certain stipulations.
"This was the first development of the Pai-Marire or Hau-hau fanaticism. Emissaries were sent into every part of the North Island, and the creed, which was framed on the convenient principle of embodying something from most other creeds, spread like wildfire, its votaries adding new articles to it from time to time to meet the growing furor of their disciples. The rites were bloody, sensual, foul, and devilish; the least reprehensible and most orderly consisted in running round a pole stuck in the ground, howling and uttering gibberish, till catalepsy prostrated the worshippers, who sometimes were laid senseless on the ground for hours."
The natives of the Southern Island have never evinced any desire to adopt this heretical doctrine, and, with the exception of a strange development of religious feeling among the Maoris at Arowhenua, in the Province of Canterbury, which appeared in 1866, and extended in time to the native settlements in the northern portion of Otago nothing noteworthy has occurred in connection with their religious condition during the various commotions happening in the North. Very little feeling either has been displayed in this part of the colony in regard to the page 35King movement, and although emissaries were despatched from the King party to make converts amongst the natives residing in the South, but little effect was produced by their advocacy of the cause.
In the session of 1858, the House of Representatives, apprehensive of the danger likely to ensue to the colony should it be found that the elective franchise had been conferred on the natives by, the 7th and 42nd sections of the "Constitution Act, 1852," passed a resolution that a case should be submitted for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown in England, as to whether the mere ownership of land occupied by the natives in common, as tribes or communities, and not hold under title derived from the Crown, qualified them to become voters under the fore-cited sections. On the case being laid before the Attorney and Solicitor-Generals in England, an opinion was given by them adverse to the right of the Maori to exercise the right of franchise under the title derived from land held in common under tribal tenure; but this opinion did not debar them from exercising the franchise under title derived from the Crown, provided they registered their votes in the manner prescribed. The natives, however, with few exceptions, have failed to avail themselves of the privileges conferred by the Constitution Act on both races, through want of appreciation of their importance.
Numerous propositions have been made from time to time concerning the propriety of appointing some of the most influential native chiefs members of the Legislative Council, but no action has ever been taken to give effect to them.
In order to remove the difficulty caused by the peculiar nature of the tenure of Maori land, which precluded the majority of the natives from having a voice in the Legislature of the colony, an Act was passed by the General Assembly, in 1867, to make temporary provision for the special representation of the natives in the House of Representatives, and the Provincial Councils.
The Act provides for the election of four members of the Maori race, for which purpose the colony is divided into four electoral districts, the Northern Island comprising three, and the Southern Island one. Each male aboriginal (including half-castes), of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, is entitled to vote. Two elections have taken place under its provisions: the first, in April, 1868; and the second, in February, 1871. Very little interest was displayed by the natives at the first election, but they are now becoming more alive to the importance of the privileges conferred by the Act.
In consequence of a doubt existing regarding the legal status of the Maori race, it was deemed expedient that there should be a legal declaration on the subject, and an Act was passed in the session of 1865, entitled "The Native Rights Act," whereby it is declared and enacted, that "Every person of the Maori race within the colony of New Zealand, whether born before or since New Zealand became a dependency of Great Britain, shall be taken and deemed to be a natural born subject of her Majesty, to all intents and purposes whatsoever."
In 1870, two measures were passed by the General Assembly on behalf of the natives: the first, is entitled "The Outlying Districts Sale of Spirits Act;'' and the second, "The Native Land Fraud Protection Act.'' The object of the first-named Act is to provide regulations for the sale of spirits within native districts, as a means of preventing the importation of spirituous liquors within these districts against the wishes of the natives, and for this purpose to enable the Governor to proclaim from time to time districts in which it should be carried into effect, and to make provisions for the recovery of fines for the illegal sale of spirits; the fines to be applied to local purposes within these districts, under regulations issued by the Governor in Council.
The 17th section of the Act repeals "The Sale of Spirits Ordinance, 1847," after the 31st December, 1870, excepting in any town, district, or province over which the Governor may, by Order in Council, suspend the operation of the sections prior to the 31st December, 1870.
The New Zealand Gazette, No. 5, of January 20, 1871, contains various Orders in Council suspending the operation of the said section in the following districts, viz.: Auckland, Waiuku, Papakura, Onehunga, Coromandel, Waikato, Whangarei, New Plymouth, Napier, and Waipukurau, Whanganui, Otaki, Wairarapa, Wellington, and Westland. Gazette No. 73, of December 22, 1870, contains a proclamation defining the following districts to be under the operations of the Act, viz.: Mongonui, Bay of Islands, Kaipara, Hauraki, Tauranga, Raglan, Maketu, Opotiki, Waiapu, Wairoa, Taupo, and Upper Wanganui.
The object of "The Native Lands Fraud Prevention Act" is to prevent the mal-administration of lands vested in trustees for the natives, in cases where trusts had been created in the names of individual proprietors but really for the benefit of native communities; to take care that these trusts were fulfilled, and that the lands were not alienated so as to defeat the true objects of the trust. The machinery employed under it to secure these ends, is as follows: —Districts are to be constituted, and Commissioners appointed to each district. The Commissioner is to examine directly into all land transactions between Europeans and natives. He will have to satisfy himself that the transaction is fair and equitable; that it is in accordance with the trusts affecting the land; that no part of the consideration, either directly or indirectly, is payable in liquor or arms; and, lastly, that the parties understand the nature of the transaction. If he is satisfied that all these conditions have been fulfilled, he will grant a certificate to that effect; and no instrument without this certificate endorsed will be allowed to be registered, or admitted as evidence in any Court of law. For the purpose of enabling the Commissioner to discharge his duty, all the powers under the Commissioners' Power Act are vested in him. Persons feeling themselves aggrieved by the decision of the Commissioner can appeal direct to the Supreme Court in a simple and inexpensive manner, and the Court has the power to confirm or annul the transaction as it seems fit. But, lest the Court may chance to be over-burdened by this work, power is taken in the Act, with the approval of a Judge of the Supreme Court, to appoint a barrister to exercise the function of the Court. Power is also given to the Governor in Council to regulate the manner in which the Commissioners shall discharge their duties.page 36
The general scope and intent of the Act is to insure fair dealings in all land transactions between the Europeans and natives, and to arrest the evils that had grown out of the system of granting land to natives under the provisions of the "Native Lands Act." The operations of this Act, in individualizing the native titles, had been to create additional classes of Native Trusts, the objects of which had not been properly observed by the persons to whom they were intrusted; and in various parts of the country, where lands had passed from the native proprietors to individual persons of the native race, who were really intended to be only trustees but who, having under the Act acquired actual dominion over the land, had dealt with it to the detriment of those whom they represented, who were thus being stripped of their property and reduced to pauperism.
With a view of directing the energies of the natives into some useful channel, now that tranquillity once more reigns; to prevent them being employed in mischief or fomenting discontent if left in idleness; the Government, in order to promote their welfare, as well as unite their labours with those of the colonists in developing the resources of the country, have offered prizes to stimulate their industry in cultivating the beat description of flax (phormium tenax), as well as for preparing it for the market. The prizes offered are as follows:—For the best acre of flax in each district, £10; and for the best ton of dressed flax, £10; the merits of the several exhibits to be decided by three persons to be appointed by the Governor, to consist of one European and two Maoris. In addition to these prizes, the Government offer a prize of £50 for the best ton of dressed flax, the quality to be decided in the English market.
The strong feeling of emulation which the Maoris possess, it was hoped would induce them to compete eagerly for such prizes, and that the work thereby created would engage their minds and turn their energies to useful account.
It was confidently anticipated, in the early days of the colony, that the natives in the neighbourhood of the European settlements, more especially those who were located on the reserves set apart in accordance with the plan originally devised by the New Zealand Company with the view of amalgamating the two races by intermixture of lands and proximity of dwellings, would naturally adopt the habits and customs of the settlers. These anticipations, however, have in a great measure not been realized, and the social organization of the two races remains as distinct as ever, even in the immediate vicinity of the towns; and when it is considered how impassable the boundaries of race have generally proved, it would seem that the fusion of the Maori with the European is a moral and natural impossibility. The fact also cannot be disguised, that the race is gradually melting away; and even if no causes should arise to accelerate their decrease, such as have existed during the past twelve years, reference to the Statistics of Population, which according to the most accurate estimates hitherto made show a decrease amongst their numbers at the rate of twenty per cent, in every period of fourteen years, point to their extinction in an exceedingly brief period. This general decline is not merely confined to the New Zealanders, but is universal wherever the Polynesian race is found, owing to their utter disregard of all those social and sanitary conditions which are essential to the continuing vitality of the human race. Such a state of decadency might induce the abandonment of the work of civilization, and favour the adoption of a merely temporary policy, to pacify and amuse until the race runs out and ceases to be. But to follow such a course towards them as this would be both cowardly and immoral, and entirely opposed to the views of the Government, who although not blind to the indications of physical decay which the race exhibits, feel bound in honour and conscience to take all possible measures to preserve and civilize the native people.