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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 71

II.—Mihaere Parahi's Case

II.—Mihaere Parahi's Case.

This Native signed the conveyance and received payment on the 19th January, 1883. He was then about 25 years old. He is now alleged to have been a minor at that time aged about 20.

On 9th July, 1883, this vendor was ap pointed successor to Heterika Te Oikau, and on that occasion he was represented to the Court as being 18 years of age; and application was made for appointment of trustee for him. The order was granted but it was so granted on a misrepresention to the Court, and therefore, as against third parties whom it is now sought to injure by it, it should be treated as a nullity. The share to which Mihaere succeeded on the occasion when he was declared to be under age was not, the share in dispute between him and Mr Tiffen. The share he sold Mr Tiffen is a share he has all along held in his own right; therefore it would not be proper that we should treat the statement of his age in the order appointing the trustee as an estoppel upon Mr Tiffen, because section 9 of the Act of 1878 created [unclear: a] statutory estoppel. That section says that "for all purposes the time at which the page 11 minor shall be deemed to have attained his majority shall be computed from the age fixed by the Court." But those words "for all purposes" must be read to mean all purposes connected with the "share or interest in land" then being dealt with by that Court. To stretch the words so as to include shares that the Court was not then dealing with would be contrary to the usual canons of construction of statutes, and it would impose upon every purchaser of Native land the necessity of searching the records of every Native Land Court throughout the Island to see whether some trustee order hidden away in some distant block might not affect the land he was purchasing. In addition to these reasons for not treating the trustee-orders as an estoppel beyond the ands then before the Court, there is this further reason. These trustee orders are, so far as purchasers are concerned, made exparte. It is impossible for a Court to save itself from being imposed upon as to the age of the alleged minor if the parties before it combine to do so. Therefore, in cases where a Court has been imposed upon, we must permit, any subsequent purchaser who would be injured to give evidence showing the fraud, and if it is proved to us, we ought to prevent any such fraud from being hurtful to him.

We shall certify that Mihaere Parahi was of full age when he signed the deed, and that this sale is proper for validation.

These are the only two shares in No. 3 Block contested on their individual merits.

We shall therefore certify for all the purchases made in that block.