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Maori Deeds of Old Private Land Purchases in New Zealand, From the Year 1815 to 1840, with Pre-Emptive and Other Claims



In conclusion, it may be as well to recapitulate the preceding information:—

1.The total number of claims of all classes was 1,376.
2.There were 1,050 Old Land Claims.
3.There were 250 Pre-emptive Claims.
4.There were 58 claims not belonging to the other two series.
5.There were 18 half-caste claims.
6.The whole extent claimed by all classes was 10,322,453 acres.
7.The greater part of the land was bought from 1837 to 1839.
8.The value of the payments to Natives amounted to £95,215.
9.The total amount of fees, &c., paid to the Government was £13,179.
10.The payments and fees together amounted to £108,394.
11.The extent of acreage surveyed was 474,146 acres.
12.The value of these surveys was in round numbers £23,000.
13.The fees, payments to Natives, and surveys, were together £131,000.
14.The land therefore (in the gross) averaged a cost of 5s. 6d. per acre.
15.The total quantity of land awarded or granted is 292,475 acres.
16.The quantity in Old Land Claims is 267,175 acres.
17.The quantity in Pre-emptive Claims is 25,300 acres.page 637
18.The total sum paid in scrip, money, or debentures is £109,289.
19.The scrip issued by Governor FitzRoy amounted to £91,510.
20.The money and debentures granted by Governor Grey amounted to £8,467.
21.The scrip issued by me has amounted to £8, 932.
22.The surplus land reverting to the Crown amounts to 204,000 acres.
23.The unproclaimed lands in the North amount to 50,000 acres.
24.The whole quantity available therefore now is 254,000 acres.

I trust that this information will be sufficiently complete to enable the Government to decide as to the measure that should be proposed to the Assembly; and, if the views I have here ventured to state are approved, I could easily submit a Bill to give them effect.

It only remains for me to acknowledge the assistance and support I have received from the General Government throughout the execution of a task which has turned out to be incomparably more difficult and responsible than I thought, and which I may say I should certainly not have under taken if I had known what it was. To the Provincial Government of Auckland I have been also greatly indebted for ready co-operation, and the adoption of any step which I suggested as just to the claimants and at the same time fair to the province. Nor ought I to omit a notice of the obligation which the country owes to the late Commissioner Godfrey and to Commissioner Richmond, who went through all the labour of the first investigations into the various titles in a manner that reflects the highest credit on their diligence and impartiality. And I must also call the attention of the Government to the services of Mr. McIntosh, my Chief Clerk and Surveyor, whose intimate acquaintance with the claims, as Secretary to the former Land Claims Commission, was invaluable to me, and who, for an ordinary clerk's salary, has given professional skill to the work which has saved a large sum that must otherwise have been spent in the examination and compilation of the plans and the preparation of the grants.

But, most of all, I may be permitted to renew the record of the sense I shall ever entertain of the public spirit, fairness, and good sense of the great body of the land claimants, and of their courtesy and kindness to myself. If any success has attended the experiment which we commenced in the dark by the Act of 1856, it has been due to them, and to their fair dealing with a measure which they must have looked upon at first with traditional suspicion and dislike. If these feelings were afterwards dispelled, it was owing to their confidence in the guarantee afforded by the spirit in which the Land Claims Committee of 1856 framed their report, and in its concluding recommendation that the Commissioner should "act with a vigilant eye towards the preservation of the public interest on the one hand, and the obligation to administer strict justice to the claimants on the other; and should manifest a desire that no wrong done to any one (however humble or powerless to enforce his rights) should be left without redress, yet that the property of the whole community should not be carelessly tampered with, or lightly squandered and frittered away."

Auckland, 8th July, 1862.

F. Dillon Bell.