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In the commission for settling land claims at Wellington in May, 1842, the following conflicting claims were laid before the commissioner:--
Kapiti -- by Daniel Cooper, Holt and Rhodes, purchased in 1839 for 100l.
Do. A part of Kapiti claimed by Thomas Evans for 100l.
Do. by F. Preston as part of 23,040 acres, more or less, for various articles of merchandize; value not stated.
Do. A. Fraser; various goods to the amount of30l.
Do. New Zealand Company, as part of a large block; consideration not stated.
All these parties claim to have purchased from the same tribe, and appear to have produced the signatures of Rauperaha and Rangihaeta.
Porirua is claimed by eight parties, who declare to have purchased it at various times from Rauperaha & Co. One thing appears evident, that these chiefs were not in want of protectors to look after their interests.
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Case No. 70. --Cooper, Holt and Rhodes claim "All that tract of land bounded on the west by the waters of Cook's Straits, commencing at the mouth of the Waikanahi River, thence in a northerly direction along the coast to the entrance of the Otaki River (ten miles), and from thence turning to the eastward along the banks of the Otaki; on the north, by the said river to its source, or to the termination of an easterly line forty miles into the interior from the entrance of the Otaki; thence turning south parallel with the west coast, until it meets a line running easterly thirty miles from the aforesaid mouth of the Waikanahi opposite Kapiti; and on the south by the Waikanahi to its source, or an easterly line forty miles from the mouth of the said river. "
Alleged to have been purchased in 1839 in consideration for merchandize to the amount of 150l. (for which their own valuation is taken). It would puzzle an arithmetician to state the number of acres contained in these elaborately described boundaries, and the purchasers appear to have been quite as indifferent to the quality of the title as to the quantity of the land; their claim being derived (as they assert) from two individuals of the same tribe, while three distinct tribes, at least, are settled within these boundaries.
Mr. John Terry Hughes, of Sydney, claimant in part, claims all that land known by the name of Porirua, from the rocks on the N. E. side of the river Porirua, called Kai-katoa; N. E. by N. thirty miles, and bounded on the E. by a range of snowy mountains; to the south by a range of hills three miles from Port Nicholson, upon the
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S. W. side of the River Porirua, to Tetahi Bay; from Tetahi Bay S. E. by E. to the branch of the Porirua River.
John Jones, of Sydney, claimant in part, modestly asks for 16,000 acres in return for merchandize, value not stated.
Frederick Peterson asks for 23,040 acres for the same consideration as John Jones; he makes a further demand for a whole island.
W. C. Wentworth claims 16,000 acres, but omits to state the consideration.
There are no less than 374 of these claims in the southern district alone, varying in quantity from two acres to 200,000, and with boundaries that remind one of the story of the Kentuckian, who defined his country as "bounded on the east by the rising sun, on the west by the setting ditto, on the north by the Aurora Borealis, and on the south by a darned sight further than you'd like to go, strannger;" which, "se non e vero, e ben trovato."
There was a thriving little town at Korararika, in the Bay of Islands; but instead of supporting a place which already existed, a new town was proposed, that of Russel, situated in the same harbour, but in a place totally unfit for settlement: 15,000l. was expended in the purchase of that spot; and much time of the Surveyor-General and his assistants was lost in laying out a town; but, fortunately, the project was afterwards relinquished. --Deiffenbach.
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A short time afterwards, April 16, 1841, the town of Auckland, which is situated in the estuary of Hauraki, on the eastern coast of the northern island, was put up for sale. The mania for becoming suddenly rich by speculations in town allotments, spread like an epidemic through all classes: some of the highest government officers were infected by it. At the first sale, only 116 allotments were brought to the hammer, covering a surface of 35 acres, 1 rood, and 7 perches. Five roods and seven perches had been previously chosen by government officers, who had that privilege. The whole realised 21,499l., and thus the government received a sum which could be brought forward as a sign of the prosperity of the colony, and of the great value of land there; the truth, however, was, that a few land-jobbers raised the price thus high, having bought the ground in all the best situations. Not because they were convinced that the land had that value, but because they could sell it a few days afterwards, parcelled out into diminutive pieces to the new emigrants, who daily arrived, and who required, cost what it might, a piece of land to erect their houses on.
By this the land-jobbers realised from 300 to 400 per cent. As no land for cultivation was to be obtained, every one thought it best to speculate in land, or to open public-houses, with which the place soon became crowded.
A town was made, and nothing was done to support it; a price was given for town land which precluded every chance of its gradually rising in value; on the contrary.
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as was foreseen by all who knew the resources of the country, it must decrease as soon as people opened their eyes, and thus cause the ruin of the unfortunate purchaser. How could it be otherwise, when a small building allotment actually sold, a short time afterwards, at the rate of 20,000l. per acre? -- Deiffenbach.
Extracts from a Petition to Her Majesty from the inhabitants of Wellington and the neighbourhood:
"That the European population amounts to about 13,000 persons (in 1843).
"That about 10,000 of these reside on the shores of Cook's Straits and the southern part of the northern island, so near together as to possess a common interest and to form one community.
"That the Other 3000 persons are resident at Auckland, Hokianga, the Bay of Islands, and other places, from 400 to 500 miles northward of Cook's Straits; that they have scarcely any common interest with the settlers in Cook's Straits, and cannot be regarded as the same community.
"That the only means of communicating between Cook's Straits and Auckland is by sea, and that the voyage there and back occupies from one to two months, rendering the distance between the two equivalent, in practice, to between 2000 and 3000 miles, at the ordinary rate of travel.
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"That the settlements in Cook's Straits were founded first, and that Auckland was not selected as the seat of government till more than a year afterwards.
"That the community in Cook's Straits have contributed in taxes to the expense of the colonial government, at the rate of nearly 12,000l. a year, nearly the whole of which has been carried to Auckland, and there expended, without any advantage being derived from its expenditure by those who contributed it.
"That a commission was appointed by your Majesty in the year 1841 to adjudicate on the disputed (land) claims.
"That in the neighbourhood of Auckland upwards of 600 claims have been disposed of, but not one in the neighbourhood of Cook's Straits.
"That, in consequence thereof, the settlers on the shores of Cook's Straits have been prevented from cultivating the lands they purchased before leaving England, and have been obliged to live on the produce of foreign countries, while their capital has been wasted and themselves nearly ruined.
"That the primary causes of all the evils under which your petitioners suffer, and of the late massacre (at the Wairau), has been the non-settlement of the land claims and the want of an independent government.
"That the annual expenditure of the protectorship of the aborigines is about 3000l. a year, while not one penny is expended in protecting the settlers against the natives.
"That the protector and the sub-protectors are persons totally unfit for the offices they fill; and that, instead of
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having contributed to the mutual harmony of the two races, they have exercised an influence over the natives which we believe to have led in a great degree to the hostile state of feeling now existing, and the late unhappy events.
"That a proclamation has been issued by the chief protector of the aborigines containing false statements, which have not yet been retracted.
"That when the false statements were promulgated, the parties who promulgated them had in their possession true accounts of the events they referred to.
"That a proclamation has been issued by the officer administering the government, which was calculated to act as an official invitation to the natives to commence further aggressions, which, with the proclamation in their hands, they have actually done, and driven industrious settlers in consequence off their lands."
In the immediate neighbourhood of Auckland, towns and villages, never destined to exist except on paper, started up, like the creations of a fairy tale: No. 2. of the suburban allotments, consisting of 3 acres and 3 roods, was sold for 303l., and was cut up directly afterwards into thirty-six allotments, which were sold for 7l. 15s. per foot, frontage! It is amusing to skim over the weekly paper of Auckland, and read the names of about six or eight towns, villages, and even race-courses, none of them above three miles from the town of Auckland,
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which were put up for sale in the short space of a fortnight. --Deiffenbach.
Extracts from a private Letter from a Settler, dated Wellington, August 14th, 1843.
"It is truely heart-breaking when one looks back to the last four years, to see this line colony, which was established under the most favourable auspices, and with every chance of success, damned by such gross mismanagement and injustice as we have been subjected to by the officials from Auckland.
"The colony had succeeded, we were progressing rapidly, the natives were happy and satisfied, everything promised a fair return for the enterprise and energy displayed, until the blighting hand of a weak and unjust government came upon us. Before the officials came near the place, we were on the best terms with the natives, and they were happy, living among us; but now, they have been brought to look upon us with distrust, --and to deny having sold their lands, although they have signed the deed of sale.
"The same officials have unsettled everything. You will scarcely believe that not a single land claim has been settled, although the commissioners have been sitting since May, 1842; more than two years, and nothing done. We have another proclamation from Auckland forbidding anybody to settle on lands until the claims are admitted; and we have a report that Colonel Wakefield has refused
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to receive the arbitrator's decision respecting the amount of compensation, which he had agreed to abide by, so that we are in "a regular fix." Should these disputes continue unsettled much longer, the consequences cannot be told; --all confidence is destroyed; the emigrants who arrive become alarmed, and leave for other colonies. This is not the worst: since the government officials have tampered with the natives, they are every day becoming bolder in their demands; raising all sorts of objections to the titles; dissatisfied with everything that is done for them; and, in many cases, using threats, and turning the settlers off their lands.....Nothing they like better than driving a man from his land, after one or two years' of toil and expense has converted a mere waste into a cultivated and valuable property. The natives were a quiet inoffensive people before they were tampered with by the officials, and visions placed before them which it is impossible can ever be realised; they are not the happier for all this; -- it keeps them in a state of suspense, and renders the feeling towards the whites more bitter every day.
"In the face of all these distressing circumstances, I have faith in the ultimate prosperity of New Zealand: let them only treat us better, and settle the land claims, and we shall yet surprise you. I have, in my own experiments in farming and breeding stock upon a pretty large scale, proved the country to be admirably adapted to both."
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Extract from another Letter of nearly the same date.
"After the Wairau affair, they (the natives) seemed to be another race of people. They say, they are told that they have no occasion to sell their land, if they don't like; agree with Rauperaha in almost everything he says; very suspicious, obtrusive, boisterous, thieving, plundering, taking every advantage of the white man in dealing; impudent, asking for everything, thinking you will give it them through fear; firing off muskets, trying to frighten you; practising their war-dances and songs; eating more pork to make them strong; buying a deal of gunpowder and lead; making tomahawks, laugh at the white people, say they are cowards, the queen is but a girl, they are ready to fight the people of Port Nicholson."
Extract from another Letter, February 22nd, 1844.
"What has tended more than anything else to check the rising prosperity of the country, has been the non-settlement of the land claims. Strange as it may appear, it is not the less true, that at present the government refuses to acknowledge the Company's right to a single acre of land. This is carried so far, that when a settler, named 'Manson,' complained to the magistrate that the natives had driven him from his land, the magistrate replied, 'Your land! you have no land; it all belongs to the natives!'"
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Extract of a Letter from G. Grahame, Clerk of Works, to Colonel Bolton, R. E.
"Auckland, Nov. 23, 1847.
"I beg to state that 147 different natives have been employed in that space of time (twelve months) by Royal Engineer Department; at the present time there are 104 employed belonging to twenty-one different tribes, and related to the most influential chiefs from all parts of this island; they all seem much attached to the government, and keep their working hours as correctly as Europeans. Civilian labour continuing scarce, and consequently high, I have been compelled to employ them at all kinds of work, --in rafting timber for the erection of cottages for the New Zealand Fencibles. I have lately had frequent occasion to employ them in the water, late and early, owing to the tides, in carrying timber, making mortar, removing stone, and, in fact, at all labourers' work. I feel much pleasure in employing them, as they give me very little trouble, and I can depend on them as well as on most of the European labourers in this colony. At this time there is not one European civilian labourer in the employ of the Royal Engineer Department. In the erection of the boundary wall, hospital, and barrack-stores, I have instructed several to dress stone and build, and I can now boast of ten good stone-dressers; and though they have been employed but a short space of time, can dress splayed coins in hard stone, or throat and sink a window-sill, as well as most stone-dressers in the
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colony; likewise thirteen good masons, or builders, who perform their work very creditably indeed."
"At the quarry I have only one European employed, --the overseer; there they not only bore and blast the rock, but also use the hammer and wedge, and split the scoria-stone far better than any Europeans I have been able to obtain for this kind of work. Since their first employment, no instances of misconduct have come under my cognizance, save one of drunkenness; and the tools left in their custody are taken great care of, and I may assert with truth they are rapidly adopting European habits. On Sunday they all attend their various places of divine worship, as also to their morning and evening prayers; and his Excellency, the governor, having presented them with slates, &c., they can all write but two, I believe, and the whole of them read the Testament. The rate of their wages varies from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d. per diem, according to their respective merits."
Major Marlow, R. E., to Colonel Bolton, commanding R. E.
"Dec. 7, 1847.
"I have frequently gone round the works, and have observed with pleasure the zeal and perseverance they (the Maories) continue to show in their employment; the portion of the work they have executed has been done in a very efficient manner, and equal to that performed by any European mechanics. From the great
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difficulty I have experienced in procuring civilian labour, I have no hesitation in stating, that the works under the superintendence of the Royal Engineer Department would have progressed but slowly without the assistance of the Maories, and would have cost the government a much larger sum; in fact, in the present state of the colony, I consider them indispensable."
Capt. Russel, 58th Regiment, Surveyor of Military Roads, to Governor Grey.
"Wellington, June 24, 1847.
"From the middle of 1846 to 1847, the total amount paid to the natives of the southern district was 3,274l. The money thus acquired appears to have been expended in the purchase of flour, European clothing, agricultural implements, mills, cooking utensils, and, occasionally, in the purchase of breeding cows and mares. In Wellington, the sale of blankets is fast giving place to that of trousers, caps, boots, blue shirts, &c." With regard to their efficiency, --"During the year, and for this 3,274l., they have felled about 20 miles in length, by 120 feet in breadth, of dense forest, have constructed seven miles of bridle road, chiefly cut out of the side of steep hills and precipices, and have helped to construct six miles of carriage road, taking part in every operation, such as bridge-making, sloping, draining, and metalling.
"This amount of labour may not equal that which the
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same number of expert European workmen would have accomplished, but I consider it exceeds what the same number of soldiers would have performed in the time, while the wages paid the natives have been little more than half of those of European workmen. The greatest good feeling has existed between the European overseers and native workmen, nor have I heard a case of misconduct alleged against any one of the natives who have been in my employment.
"In the course of the year 350 natives have been employed, the greatest number at any period being 280. The settlers are already out-bidding the government, by giving higher wages, food, &c., and are even carrying out contracts by native labour. "
"Wellington, January 1, 1848.
"They rapidly improve as workmen, and it is extraordinary that men whose previous lives have been passed in uncontrolled idleness should now work for months together so incessantly as to rest but one hour out of ten, and under such restrictions as not to be allowed to smoke, or even to talk to the interruption of their work; yet this result has been obtained by means so slight as to appear quite insufficient. An idle workman is fined sixpence, or if so talkative as to interrupt work, he is placed alone without listeners; if he has given satisfaction, he, perhaps, receives his week's wages in crowns, or, if otherwise, in sixpences. The greatest crime has been that of stealing an axe by a discharged native, when another of the tribe, after working all day, travelled all night to
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recover it, and returned with it in time for work next morning.
"They (the superintendents) assure me that the bearing of those natives, where they have known them up the coast, was so different from that which they now exhibit with the parties, as to make them appear a different race."
"They do not object to the mixture of tribes in working parties, though at first they were much opposed to it. From such material, and without additional expense beyond clothing and arms, I conceive an artificer corps might be formed peculiarly valuable in this country, and scarcely less so in peace than in war, affording, in the former case, a command of labour in any desired locality, and, in the latter, out-posts admirably adapted to the country."
T. H. Fitzgerald, Colonial Surveyor, to the Superintendant at Wellington.
"Wellington, July 1, 1847.
"The road from Wellington to Pai-tu-mokai has now been laid out from end to end, the entire distance being 39 1/2 miles. The total cost will not exceed 14,136l. or 9991l. in addition to what has already been expended, and the whole road will be completed by May, 1848. In a north-easterly direction from Pai-tu-mokai, a road may be carried for thirty or forty miles at an almost nominal expense per mile. From inquiries I have made on the subject, I believe that but one range of hills of any mag-
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nitude would have to be crossed between Waira-rapa and Taupo Lake: by omitting to build bridges over the large rivers, and establishing chain-ferries that could be worked by a person on either bank, a road might be carried through with great rapidity at very moderate expense, opening out a vast tract of country for grazing and other advantageous pursuits."
"I may here observe, that the system of employing the natives as labourers on the roads appears to have succeeded in an extraordinary degree, and confers an incalculable benefit on them. From a lazy, indolent people, they are now becoming quiet, active, and industrious. They are fond of money, and spend it generally in European clothing, in provisions, and in acquiring useful property. After nearly twelve months' experience, I believe great advantage is derived by the government in employing them, for, at the relative rates of pay between them and Europeans, I think they do almost as much as Europeans, although few of them have been accustomed to regular work for any longer period than eight or nine months; in proof of which I may state, that the contractors for portions of the road find it their interest to employ them at 2s. 6d. per day. With the supply of native labour that can be obtained, I am sure that, by proper management, works of no ordinary magnitude might be undertaken and carried through by their means."
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Governor Grey to Earl Grey.
"Auckland, March 11, 1848.
"Duties of customs were only collected at the ports of New Zealand during a portion of the year 1845, and they did not, during that time, average more than about 14,000l. per annum; while it will be found, from the enclosed return, that the Customs revenue has, in the space of two years, increased to nearly 36,000l. per annum; and I have little doubt that as the numerous native population advance in civilisation, and become more and more desirous of obtaining European comforts and luxuries, the Customs revenue will continue to increase with great rapidity, thus constantly affording the means of more efficiently governing the mixed and peculiar population of this country, and affording an indication of the benefit conferred upon British commerce by the trade which has sprung up between her merchants and the inhabitants of these islands."
Governor Grey to Earl Grey.
"Auckland, March 6, 1848.
"I am happy to state that I have never seen any locality which appeared to me better adapted for the occupation of British settlers; and from the fertility of the soil, the unequalled facilities which it offers for the depasturing of sheep and cattle, and its general remark-
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able advantages, there can be no doubt that the southern portion of the Middle Island offers prospects of the most cheering kind to the intending immigrants, of whose ultimate success there can be no doubt."
"It will be seen from Lieut. Col. Bumbury's report to Governor Hobson of the 28th of June, 1840, that this officer, even at that date, fully reported the capabilities of the southern portion of the Middle Island, and my own observations lead me entirely to concur in his views; in fact, I have never seen a country better adapted for the reception of immigrants."
SPOTTISWOODES and SHAW,