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I have thought it useful to append a very short summary of the Waste Land Laws and Regulations of New Zealand. To give them in full would take up too much space, as my object is simply to give intending emigrants an idea of the leading features of the Land Laws of different Provinces; for more definite and accurate information they will consult the Acts themselves, or obtain information at the Land offices established in each Province in New Zealand, or at the London agencies.
The New Zealand Waste Lands Act of 1858 confirms and declares valid the provincial ordinances as specified in schedule (with certain exceptions and under certain restrictions, it gives power) to the Governor in Council to raise the price of land on recommendation of the Superintendent and Provincial Council of any Province; it further vests certain administrative powers in the Governor or his delegate, distributes certain receipts and charges. The Governor may make public reserves, may release road rights. Naval and military settlers are entitled to land in the North Island free of cost, under certain conditions.
Under this Act, therefore, the following Provincial provisions and regulations are in force: --
Town and Suburban land to be sold by auction, upset price to be fixed by Superintendent and Provincial Executive.
Country land: 10 shillings an acre fixed price.
Land may be set apart for special settlement by expected emigrants. Persons paying their own passage and previously obtaining a land order from an agent of the Province of Auckland: adults, viz. 18 years old and upwards, to receive 40 acres; children, viz. 5 years and under 18 years, to receive 20 acres.
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Parents to receive for their children, and masters for servants (if they defray the entire cost of passage); order, not transferable except in case of death, to be presented within 12 months; to remain in force five years; to be void if the holder is absent for 12 months within the five years. After five years, holder is entitled to Crown grant, if he has fulfilled conditions of residence, &c.
Naval and Military settlers to receive as follows: -- Commissioned officer, 400 acres; non-commissioned and warrant-officers, 80 acres; private soldier, marine, or seaman, 60 acres.
School teachers, fulfilling certain conditions, and having taught five years in a school in connection with the Auckland Board of Education, to receive 80 acres.
Occupation of Crown lands. Regulations for application for runs. Size of runs to be in proportion to the number of stock put upon them, according to a fixed scale.
License granted for fourteen years (but not as against a "Hundred" or purchaser).
Annual license fee £5, and an additional £1 for every thousand sheep above five thousand the run is estimated to be capable of keeping; and in the same proportion for great cattle, six sheep being rated as one head of great cattle.
Timber cutting licenses (annual) £5. Licenses transferable through Commissioner of Waste Lands.
TARANAKI (OR NEW PLYMOUTH).
Rural land to be sold by auction, upset price 10s per acre.
Town land to be sold by auction, upset price to be fixed by the Superintendent.
Military and Naval settlers
as in Auckland.
Town and suburban lands to be sold by auction, upset price to be fixed by Government.
The same in "Hundreds," unless specially exempted, and then as in--
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Rural land outside Hundreds to be sold at a fixed price of 10s an acre; but where land is unavailable for agricultural purposes, on the certificate of the Commissioner, to be put up to auction at 5s an acre.
Holders of pastoral licenses to have a right of preemption over their homesteads (80 acres).
Occupation of Waste lands of the Crown. License for 14 years (but not as against a purchaser or reserve), licence fee £5. Annual rent for the first four years of occupation at the rate of one farthing per acre per annum; for the next five years, one halfpenny per acre per annum; for the remaining five years, one penny per acre per annum.
Transfer of license permitted on notice being given to Commissioner.
Naval and Military settlers as in Auckland.
Waste Lands Board, to make reserves, educational, sites for churches, &c. purchasable without auction.
Town lands to be sold by auction, upset price to be fixed by Waste Lands Board. Suburban lands in the same manner. Rural lands (i. e. cultivatable) by auction, upset price from 10s to 20s, to be fixed in like manner.
Pasture lands (i. e. hilly, broken, and unsuited for tillage) by auction, upset price from 5s to 10s per acre, to be fixed in like manner.
Aboriginal natives may purchase without auction in certain cases.
License holders may purchase homestead not exceeding 80 acres without auction
Powers for leasing mineral lands for a term not exceeding 21 years, one-fifteenth of the minerals reserved as rent or royalty; lessee to have power to purchase at £1 an acre, without auction, at any time after having worked the minerals for three years. These clauses do not apply to gold fields, which are the subject of special legislation by the General Government.
Pasture lands, occupation of. License £5 (not valid as against a purchaser) 14 years; rent for the first seven years of occupation at the rate of one halfpenny per
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acre; for the remaining seven, at the rate of one penny per acre per annum. Licenses transferable on notice being given to Commissioner.
Town lands to be sold by public auction, upset price to be determined by Superintendent and Provincial Council, and having been so determined for each town shall not again be altered.
Rural lands, at a uniform price of £2 an acre.
Pasture lands, occupation of. License fee, minimum, £2. 10s. For every run containing less than 1000 acres, £1 for every 1000 acres; if 1000 acres and less than 5000, two pence per acre for the first 1000 acres, and one penny per acre for every acre in addition; if 5000 acres or upwards, one farthing per acre for the first and second years; one halfpenny per acre for the third and fourth years; three farthings per acre for the fifth and every subsequent year.
The fee to be annually paid in advance.
Holders of pasturage licenses shall, on application to the Waste Lands Board, be entitled to a pre-emptive right over his homestead and land adjacent for a run over 1000 and not more than 5000 acres, to the extent of 5 per cent, of the acreage of his run; for a run of 5000 acres and upwards, to the extent of 250 acres round his homestead; and also over all improvements, together with 50 acres comprising and adjacent to the lands so improved or occupied.
The license is annually renewable till the lands may be sold, granted, or reserved for public purposes. License is transferable, terms of license not to be altered till first of May, 1870.
Town land to be sold by auction, upset price to be fixed by Waste Lands Board.
Rural land at a fixed price of ten shillings an acre, subject to conditions as follows, viz.: he must spend on the land a sum equal to forty shillings an acre, in labour or improvements within four years after receiving an
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occupation certificate. A certificate holder must obtain consent of Waste Lands Board to a transfer of certificate. Crown grant to be issued as soon as the holder of a certificate has proved the conditions above mentioned to have been fulfilled.
Pasture land, occupation of, outside the limits of a Hundred. License for 14 years subject only to formation of Hundreds; fee £5 a year, and £1 a year additional for every 1000 sheep above 5000, that the run is estimated capable of containing. Six sheep equivalent to one head of large cattle, size of run determined according to amount of stock, (see scale), annual assessment to be paid by license holders, for every head of great cattle sixpence, for every head of small cattle one penny.
Within the boundaries of Hundreds, the licence fee to be ten shillings. All license holders within each Hundred, shall meet to elect Wardens who shall regulate and apportion the right of pasturage in that Hundred, for the time being, amongst license holders of that Hundred only. It shall moreover be lawful for the Wardens, in order to defray expenses, &c. to assess all cattle depasturing within the Hundred at the rate of, for great cattle five shillings, and for smaller cattle one shilling per head.
There is also a special ordinance of Otago, setting aside land not exceeding 600,000 acres, in blocks not exceeding 2000 acres, which may be sold absolutely at the fixed price of ten shillings an acre, without the conditions mentioned above under the head of Rural Land. Another exceptional ordinance permits Town Lands in certain cases to be sold without auction.
At present as in Wellington.
At present as in the Nelson regulations of 1856, but slightly different from the present ones.
I think this sketch of the leading features of the various Provincial Land regulations may be of use as a guide, but I must repeat, that it is only serviceable in that point of view, reference to the Ordinances themselves
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must be made to ensure accuracy, and they must again be compared with the New Zealand Waste Lands Act, 1858, which disallows some parts of them, for instance the Nelson ordinance had fixed the minimum price at two and sixpence an acre, which is rendered void by the subsequent limitation by the New Zealand Waste Lands Act of 1858, which fixes the minimum at five shillings. Sometimes also a Provincial ordinance renders nugatory provisions expressed in a former one, as in the Otago ordinance cited above.
The Mining regulations are in Auckland and other places, not unlike those of Nelson; and Timber cutting regulations, generally resemble those of Auckland, but I have not thought it advisable to encumber these pages with minor details. Nor have I added Sir G. Grey's pastoral regulations, under which several old runs are yet held.
Again I must remind the reader, that the Land laws of New Zealand are not like the laws of the Medes and Persians, immutable--and that this is written in May, 1860.