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

No. 29. — Extract from a Despatch from Lieutenant. Governor Grey to Lord Stanley

No. 29.
Extract from a Despatch from Lieutenant. Governor Grey to Lord Stanley.

Auckland.General Affairs of the Colony.

My Loed,—

Government House, Auckland, 10th December 1845.

Rights of Pre-emption.

In the first place, as regards the aborigines, I have directed that no further applications for the direct purchase of land from them by private individuals should be received by the Government until I have had time to inquire into the subject, and to determine what line of policy, in reference to the sale of lands, shall be adopted and referred for your Lordship's definite instructions upon this point. I am inclined to think that it would be most unwise on the part of the Government to waive the right of pre-emption secured to the Crown by the Treaty of Waitangi, as no more certain means of controlling the Natives could be found than refusing to purchase any lands from those who-conducted themselves improperly, and in whose intentions of surrendering their lands no confidence could be placed. I find, moreover, that various complicated disputes have already arisen between the Natives and various persons who have purchased lands from them under the terms of my predecessor's Proclamation waiving the Crown's right of pre-emption. These persons all look to the Government, under whose sanction these purchases were made, to put them in possession of their lands, and a series of new land claims have arisen which are likely to prove more troublesome than those which have already, been so perplexing to the Government. I have therefore refused, at least for the present, to sanction any purchase made from the Natives by private individuals.

Arms and Ammunition.

I am also about to introduce into the Council upon Friday next a measure to enable me to-prohibit, for the present, the importation of arms and warlike stores, and to regulate the sale of them in this colony. The immediate effect of this measure will be to render those who possess arms and gunpowder very unwilling to part with them; and I have no doubt that the tribes in rebellion will very soon be unable to make any use of their arms, from their positive inability to procure ammunition and percussion-caps.

Enrolment of Native JForce.

The next measure I have adopted is the enrolment of a Native force, composed of the inhabitants of New Zealand, and officered by British officers, upon the plan of the Cape and Ceylon Rifle Corps. I have given the necessary authority for the enrolment and disciplining of sixty men, who will receive rations and pay. So soon as I find how the experiment succeeds with this small body, I will, if I think it advisable to do so, continue gradually to increase the strength of this force.

Rations to Friendly Natives.

I have also directed that the followers of those Native chiefs who are engaged in active operations against the rebels in conjunction with the British troops in the field, should daily receive a ration, which they have not hitherto done. They will thus be brought more completely under the control of the British officer in command; they can be collected in larger and more efficient bodies; and the rebel chiefs, who can confer no such advantage on their followers, will find it much more difficult to keep their forces together, and their service, now that they are pressed for supplies, will not be nearly so popular as it has hitherto been.

page 38

Treaty of Waitahgi

I think it only necessary to add, in reference to the Natives, that I have in the most public manner, in the strongest terms, and upon repeated occasions, assured them that. I had been instructed by Her Majesty most honourably and scrupulously to fulfil the terms of the Treaty of Waitangi; that their welfare and happiness was an object of the most lively concern to the Queen, and that it would be my most earnest desire to carry out Her Majesty's most gracious wishes in their favour; and I am satisfied that these declarations upon my part have produced a favourable impression upon many of the most influential of the chiefs.

I have, &c.,

G. Grey.

The Right Hon. Lord Stanley, &c.