1885 - White, John. Maori Customs and Superstitions [Lectures from 1861] - LECTURE II. Maori Land Tenure. Part I.

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  1885 - White, John. Maori Customs and Superstitions [Lectures from 1861] - LECTURE II. Maori Land Tenure. Part I.
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THERE is no point on which a New Zealander's indignation can be more effectually roused than by disputing his title to land. This love for his land is not, as many would suppose, the love of a child for his toys; the title of a New Zealander to his land is connected with many and powerful associations in his mind. He is not, of course, what we call a civilised man; but in dealing with him we deal with a man of powerful intellect, whose mind can think and reason as logically on any subject with which he is acquainted as his more favoured European brethren, and whose love for the homes of his fathers is associated with the deeds of their bravery, with the feats of his boyhood, and the long race of his ancestors for generations. The New Zealander is not accustomed to law and parchment, or to wills and bequests, in gaining knowledge of or receiving a title to the land of his fathers; nor would he quietly allow any stranger to teach him what lands are his, or what lands were not, what were the names of the boundaries, the creeks, mountains, and rivers in his own district. The thousand names within the limits of his hereditary lands were his daily lesson from childhood. The son of a chief invariably attended his father or grandfather in all his fishing, trapping, or spearing excursions, and it was by these that he learnt by ocular demonstration the

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exact boundaries of his lands, and repeatedly heard their various names. It was the custom of the Maoris in ancient times to eat the rat, --a rat indigenous to this country, and caught in traps set on the top of the mountain ranges. This was a source of part of their daily food, and it was, therefore, with them a point of great importance to occupy every available portion of their lands with these traps, and as most of the tribal boundaries are along the range of the highest hills or mountains, and as these are the common resort of the rat, every New Zealand chief soon naturally became acquainted with the exact boundary of his land claims. He did not, however, limit these claims to the dry land, they extended to the shellfish, and even out to sea where he could fish for cod and shark, or throw his net for mackerel; nor did he go inadvertently to these places, and trust to chance for finding his fishing grounds--he had landmarks, and each fishing ground or landmark had its own peculiar name; these to him were more than household words; his fathers had fished there, and he himself and his tribe alone knew those names and landmarks. Where a creek was the dividing boundary of his lands, this was occupied by eel dams. These dams were not of wicker-work that might be carried away by a flood; labour and art were bestowed on their construction, so that generations might pass, all of whom in turn might put their eel basket down by the carved and red-ochred Totara post which their great grandfathers had placed there. Where the dividing boundaries between two tribes ran along a valley, landmarks were put up. These consisted generally of a pile of stones or a hole dug in the ground, to which a name was given significant of the cause which gave rise to such boundary being agreed to; such, for instance, as Te Taupaki, the name given to the dividing boundary on the West Coast between the Ngatiwhatua and Tainui tribes, which means the year of peace or the peaceful way in which a dispute is adjusted. This boundary had its origin from a chief of the Ngatiwhatua, called Poutapuaka, going from Kaipara to take possession of land with his paraoa or bone spear; his intention was to go along the coast as far as the quantity of

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food which he carried would enable him to travel, and return from the point at which his food was expended. He had succeeded in taking possession of the whole of the sandy line of coast called Rangatira, and on arriving at the top of the hill now known as Te Taupiki, he met the Tainui chief Haowhenua. They both halted, sticking their spears in the ground, and inquiring of each other the object of their being there. They found that they were both on the same errand, and at once agreed that this meeting point should be the boundary dividing the lands of the tribes whereof each was the representative. The Ngatiwhatua chief at once dug a hole with his bone spear, and the boundary so established has remained to this day.

I may state, without fear of contradiction, that there is not one inch of land in the New Zealand Islands which is not claimed by the Maoris; and I may also state that there is not a hill, or valley, stream, river, or forest, which has not a name, the index of some point of the Maori history. As has been stated above, the New Zealander knows with as much certainty the exact boundary of his own land as we could do from the distances and bearings given by a surveyor. But these boundaries are liable to be altered at times; for instance, when lands are taken by a conquering tribe, or are given by a chief for assistance rendered to him by another tribe in time of war, or when land given to the female branch of a family again becomes, after a certain time, the property of the male branch of the family. In certain cases, also, lands are ceded to a tribe for a specific purpose, with certain restrictions, and a tenure conditional on certain terms being complied with. In order to be better understood before I speak of the laws relating to these claims, I will give a hasty glance at the manner in which the first Maori emigrants took possession of and portioned out the newly-discovered country.

It is generally admitted among the Natives that the chief Kupe, who came in the canoe Matahourua, was the first who took possession of New Zealand. This he did by naming all the rivers and mountains from Whanganui to Patea. Turi is the

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chief mentioned as having next arrived in the canoe Aotea, and he gave names to all the rivers and mountains from Patea to Aotea. Next in point of time were the canoes Te Arawa and Tainui. The former was commanded by Tamate Kapua and other chiefs, and first touched land at Whangaparoa, a headland near the East Cape; it then coasted along, touching at various points where the chiefs gave names to the prominent landmarks, their principal object in doing so being to take possession of the land, which they did as far as Cape Colville, where Tama Te Kapua died and was buried; his people then placed themselves under the guidance of Ngatoroirangi and returned to Maketu. In the meantime the chiefs Ruauru and Toroa, in the canoe Matatua, had landed at Whakatane, and therefore part of Te Arawa district was taken by them from Te Awa-o-te-Atua to Whangaparoa. Shortly after which, the father-in-law of Ngatoroirangi discovered the Rotorua lakes; and to his surprise he found people there whose right he disputed, after a great deal of argument he succeeded in taking possession of the lakes and the surrounding country. The Tainui, commanded by Hoturoa, came along from Whangaparoa to Cape Colville, and came up the Tamaki river, taking possession of the district from Cape Colville to Mangawai on the east, and on the west from Manukau to Whaingaroa. The next canoes of the migration were the Ngapuhi canoes Mamari, Riukakara, and Mahuhu. The former of these went into the Hokianga river, and the people in it took possession of the land as far south of that river as Maunganui, and to the north as far as Ahipara; the Riukakara migration went into Whangaroa, and took possession of the land as far north as Mangonui, and as far south as the Bay of Islands; Mahuhu, the Ngatiwhatua canoe, touched at the North Cape and took possession of the land not taken by the two former migrations, viz., from Mangonui along the east coast to the North Cape, and on the west coast to Ahipara; this migration left a number of their party at the North Cape, and the remainder came on to Kaipara and took possession of the land from Kaipara to Maunganui, on the north,

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and on the south to Te Taupaki. There was also, as before stated, another migration of natives who landed at Te Waka Tuwhenua (Cape Rodney), a little to the south of Whangarei, and took possession of the land between Whangaparoa and the Bay of Islands. The canoe contained a person who had the leprosy, from whom the major part of the migration caught the disease. Leprosy is called by the Maoris tuwhenua, hence the name of the canoe "Waka Tuwhenua" (the canoe of the leper), and also the point at which the party landed. Being thus afflicted, they fell into disorganisation, and those who were not cut off by the leprosy became amalgamated with the adjoining tribes or migrations, and part of their land was taken by the Tainui people as far as Whangarei; the Mamari (Ngapuhi people), took the residue from the Bay of Islands to Whangarei. The chief Manaia in the canoe Tokomaru, took possession of the Taranaki district, which had been claimed by Turi, as I have before mentioned. The ancestor of the Ngatiawa tribe, the most unsettled of all the migrations (as I shall presently show) arrived in New Zealand in the Tokomaru. The canoe Kurahaupo, commanded by Ruatea, landed near the East Cape, taking possession of the land from the point already taken by the Arawa, round to Port Nicholson. The canoe Takitumu (or as it is sometimes called for its fast sailing "Horouta,") commanded by Tata, first landed at Turanga, but proceeding southward it crossed Cook's Straits, and the crew took possession of the whole of the Middle Island. There are many other canoes with each of which are connected distinct migrations to New Zealand, but as these migrations will have to be mentioned when I speak of the customs or laws relative to the ownership of land, I would only here remark that those which I have already named show that all the land in the North and Middle Islands was taken possession of immediately on the arrival of the canoes. It was not in these Islands that the Maori became aware of the value of land, or that he first became an owner of landed property, as the tradition of the occurrences which caused the migrations shows. The Takitumu people, for instance, left

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Hawaike on account of a quarrel about land. The boundaries of the districts claimed by right of discovery, as mentioned in the hasty sketch above given, did not long remain in that condition. Some time after the Arawa and Tainui migrations had settled in their own districts, a chief named Raumati, of the Tainui people, went overland to the Bay of Plenty and burnt the canoe Te Arawa. This was the cause of the first Maori war in New Zealand, which war resulted in the Arawa people gaining part of the Tainui lands.

I will now proceed to give the customs or laws by which a New Zealander held his land by right of birth. A Maori invariably grounded his claim on the right of his grandfather or grandmother, and not of his father, mother, brother, or any other immediate kindred. Although he had no written records to guide him in his knowledge of his ancestors and their claims, he was, nevertheless, carefully taught by his father or grandfather the history of his progenitors, and, as I have before stated, was often taken to the boundaries of his hereditary claims; so that, with a memory singularly retentive, he can not only recount the traditions of his ancestors for ten or twelve generations, but even of each branch of every family or offshoot. It is mainly on his knowledge of these that a Maori depends for proving his title, so that in an assembly of chiefs discussing a disputed question about land, the wars that may have occurred in the tribes, their origin, and the names of the chief men who took part in them for hundreds of years, are narrated in support of either side of the argument.

As a rule, a Maori chief does not make a will, yet there have been instances in which a chief on his death-bed has portioned out his land to each of his children. The sons' claims in all instances are derived from their grandfather: the eldest son of the senior branch in the male line is chief of the tribe, and exercises sole authority over the land as guardian for his people against the encroachments of other tribes; yet all the descendants from the male branch of the family have an equal right in the lands of their progenitors, no matter how distant the relation-

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ship. They all, so long as they can trace their origin up to the same progenitor (provided a family war has not intervened, and thereby divided the tribe) claim equal right to the lands owned by that progenitor. This custom is a law amongst the natives; but the title in the female line does not expand to such an extent. The granddaughter of a chief has an equal claim in the lands of her grandfather, with that of her male cousins, and the claim continues good to her grandchild; but on the death of that grandchild the land reverts to the male line of the second generation, from the male ancestor from whom they claim. This custom holds good for the following reason, which is assigned as its origin; namely, that, were it not upheld, the intermarriage of daughters of chiefs with members of other tribes would soon so complicate and curtail the tribal claims, that a degrading influence on the honour of the tribe would ensue, and thus an invitation would be held out to adjoining tribes (members of which are related by marriage) to attempt by conquest to despoil them of their territory. If a family war should occur, in which a tribe becomes divided (which has frequently occurred), a division of the tribal lands takes place; but before I show how this division is adjusted, I will allude to the mode in which a tribe asserts and maintains its rights over a large district. It was a custom to go at certain times to the utmost limit of the land claimed, and partially clear and cultivate a portion here and there. This was called "uru uru whenua," and the duty devolved on the chiefs, a certain number only of whom went each time the ceremony recurred, so that when a tribal division took place, that portion of the tribe which joined the chiefs who had last been engaged in the ceremony of "uru uru whenua" claimed the particular land where the ceremony had taken place, and the division line was made to come as near as possible to that part, situate in the centre of the whole tribal claim on which the fathers or grandfathers of each portion of the now divided tribe had last caught rats, as before alluded to. The lands of a tribe were portioned out according to the number of families of which it consisted, and were claimed by each family as its own; nor

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did any one meddle with or occupy the land of another family, unless by express permission of the family claiming. Still these portions were not the exclusive property of each family so claiming them. But this only applied to the lands originally settled by the first migrations, not to lands which have been acquired by conquest, gift, or "utu," for curses or other injuries. Land is claimed by families, and the object of the chiefs in portioning them out was to prevent tribal disputes, and to allow each part of the tribe to have a portion of land over which it could exercise the exclusive right of cultivation, fishing, snaring birds, catching rats, or obtaining fern root, which is one of the staple articles of food, and required a certain amount of care, though growing spontaneously, to bring it to the state required for food. Moreover, this portioning out of the tribal lands caused emulation in the different families, as to the produce gained by each for the use of the tribe. The individual claim to land, therefore, did not exist amongst the New Zealanders according to our acceptation of that term.

The customs or laws relative to land taken in war are more complicated. A tribe in going to war had three objects in view: 1st, to take revenge for some real or supposed injury; 2nd, to obtain as many slaves as possible; 3rd, to extend its territory. A tribe seldom became extinct in consequence of war; but when this resulted, the conquering tribe took all their lands; and from the slaves taken in war the conquerors learnt the boundaries of the land thus taken. But if a portion of the tribe escaped, their claim held good to as great an extent of land as they had the courage to occupy. If, however, they could manage to keep within their own tribal boundary, and elude their enemy, their right to the whole of the land held good; hence the meaning of a sentence so often used by old chiefs in their land disputes-- "I ka tonu taku ahi i runga i taku whenua" (My fire has been kept burning on my land); meaning that other tribes in war had never been able to drive them entirely off their ancestral claims. The right to lands taken by conquest rests solely on the conquering party actually occupying the taken district, to the utter

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exclusion of its original owners or other tribes. Thus, in a war of the celebrated Hongi, he drove all the tribes out of the Auckland district into Waikato, and even as far as Taranaki; but though the whole district thereby became his, yet, as he did not occupy it, the conquered tribes, on his return to the North, came back to their own lands, and we found them in occupation when Auckland was established as an English settlement. Again, in the case of a tribe which had been conquered, and had become extinct, with the exception of those who had been made slaves by the conquering party, these slaves could by purchase recover the ownership of their tribal rights to land, or they could be liberated and return to their own lands on a promise of allegiance to the conquerors; rendering them any assistance if required in times of war, and supplying them for the first few years after their return with a certain amount of rats, fish, and fern root; and eventually, on presenting the conquerors with a green-stone battleaxe (the mere pounamu), they were again allowed to be called a tribe, and claim the lands of their fathers, as though they had never been conquered.

The claims in connection with lands given to a tribe for assistance rendered in war are more complicated than any other. Although the land was given to the leader of the tribe rendering such assistance, it did not thereby become vested in that individual leader, inasmuch as the assisting tribe were seldom alone, but had brought their allies; and if these allies had lost any of their chiefs in battle, each relative of the deceased chiefs had a claim in the land thus given, and each relative of any chief who had been killed of the tribe to whose leader the land was given had also a claim. But the complication of land claims does not end even here. It was necessary that the land given should be occupied, so that possession of it be retained; and as the assisted and assisting tribes became related by intermarriage, the tribal lands of the assisted tribe were claimed by the issue of these marriages, according to the laws of which I have already spoken, so that after a few generations their respective claims not unfrequently became the cause of another war. An instance

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of this happened about four generations ago. One of the Northern tribes rendered assistance in time of war to a Southern tribe, now residing not far from Auckland, and a portion of land was given to the northern tribe. Shortly afterwards the daughter of the southern chief was taken in marriage by one of the chiefs of the northern tribe; the two sisters of this woman were married to chiefs of the southern tribe, and thereupon their children's claims held good; but when the time came for the offspring of the sister who had married the northern chief to give up their land, the colonization of New Zealand had commenced, and land becoming a marketable commodity, they retained their claims against all right and argument, and to this day there is a rankling feeling between the tribes concerned; and if in this disputed land incautious dealing by Europeans took place, it would probably result in a Maori war. The war in the Bay of Plenty, which has been continued to the present day between certain chiefs, also originated in a like cause: the contending parties are all of one tribe, and spring from one ancestor, but by intermarriage some have a more direct claim than others. The descendants who by intermarriage are related to other tribes have made an equal claim to the land over which they have but a partial claim, and resistance to this has been the cause of the war. Disputes of this kind are not easily unravelled. I believe that were it possible to teach the Maoris the English language, and then bring them into some court, allowing each contending party to plead his cause in such a dispute as I have mentioned, not according to English law, but according to Maori custom, both sides would, according to native genealogy and laws, make out their respective cases so clearly, that it would take a judge and jury possessed of more than human attainments to decide the ownership of the land.

While speaking about lands claimed by conquest, I will give a few instances of land claimed by the offspring of those male or female chiefs who have been made slaves in war. It would not generally be supposed that lands disposed of at the southern end of this island would affect any native at the northern end of it;

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yet such is the case. A chieftainess, who was taken slave from the South by the Ngapuhi and other Northern tribes, became the wife of a Ngapuhi chief. Her claim stood in the way of completing a sale of the land, and it was not until the consent of her son by the Ngapuhi chief was gained that the land could be disposed of by the natives residing on it; and to him, in due course of time, a portion of the payment was transmitted. Again, a chief who was taken slave from the Bay of Plenty by the Northern tribes, having taken a Northern woman to wife, and having a family, his relatives from the Bay of Plenty made presents to the chiefs by whom he was taken, and procured his return home; but he was obliged, according to Maori laws of title to land, to leave his wife and daughters with the Ngapuhi people; for if he had taken them with him, they would have lost their claim to land at Ngapuhi, and would not be allowed any claim to land in the Bay of Plenty; while his son, whom he took back with him, now claims, by right of his grandfather, an equal right to the lands of the Bay of Plenty tribe. Again, one of the northern chiefs having taken to wife a woman whom he had made slave from Taranaki, and having a son by her, this son returned to the tribe of his mother, and claimed as his right, derived from his grandfather, a share in their land, which was not disputed, because, as I have before stated, the great-grandchild in the female line has a claim to land. I remember another instance of this. A certain block of land was sold by a tribe near Auckland; and when the purchase-money was portioned out amongst the claimants, a northern chief rose up and rehearsed his genealogy, by which he proved that he was the great-grandchild (in the female line) of one of the claimants of the block sold. He thereupon, as a matter of course, received a part of the purchase-money. He was a northern chief, and had only been known to the sellers by name.

There are also other grounds on which claims are made to land. Should a chief of one tribe be killed by another tribe, the tribe of the murdered man claims the land in the vicinity where the murder took place; for instance, a chief who had lost

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his canoe by drifting to sea, went along the coast to the settlement of a tribe who had been at variance with his tribe for many years, and found his canoe there, but was murdered by them. His tribe collected a war party, proceeded to the settlement, and brought away the body of the deceased chief, and in the following year went and cultivated the land. The block whereof this cultivation formed part was afterwards sold by the original owners, and the relatives of the murdered chief received payment for the portion they had cultivated. Also, if a chief is drowned, his surviving relatives demand from the owners of that part of the river or coast where his body may be found, that for a certain period no fish or shellfish shall be collected from it. This proceeding is called a "rahui," and continues until the next shark-fishing season. The owners of the shark fisheries then collect all the sharks taken at that season, and dry them, when the tribe of the drowned chief are sent for and entertained at a feast, at which the sharks are all given to them. By this act the rahui is taken off, and the fish or shellfish can thereupon be again taken from any part of the river or coast. Should the rahui be broken by the resident tribes, the relatives of the drowned chief then claim an equal right to the land. In one case a chief was drowned, and the owners of the land were called on to rahui the river; but they neglected to do so; whereupon the drowned man's relatives went and cultivated the land, and have held it ever since. In another a chief was taken in war not far from Auckland, and his bones were made into fishing hooks, and used in fishing for sharks. The relatives went and took the land near the place where the bones of the chief were thus used. A third instance took place not far south of Auckland. In a war of invasion, one of the invaded chiefs was taken with his son, who was then an infant, and the bones of the father, who was killed and eaten, were used by the conquerors to catch sharks. As the son was a slave, when he was old enough he was taken out to fish; and one day, while out fishing, there happened to be a scarcity of shark, and he heard an old chief repeat a fishing ceremony with the addition of a name, and this

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being repeated many times, the boy learnt the name. On arriving on shore, he inquired of a fellow-slave if she knew any one of that name, and was told it was the name of his own father. His ire was roused on learning that his father had not only been eaten, but that his bones were thus insulted. Though it is not considered an insult to eat those killed in battle, it is an unpardonable offence to use the bones as I have described. On this account the lad brooded over the discovery he had made, and eventually escaped from his masters, and got back to his home. The tale he told soon collected a force of men, who avenged the insult by coming and taking possession of the district, which their tribe owns and occupies to this day. Again, if a chief, when on a journey in inclement weather, should require a temporary hut to be erected, the fact of his sleeping in the hut made it sacred. It was allowed to drop to pieces; but if the owners of the district on which it was erected made use of any part of it, the chief for whose use it was erected claimed a right in the district. If a chief should have occasion to wash his head or comb his hair while on a journey, he claims a right in the district which this operation has made sacred. But it was not permitted to a chief to do this upon land belonging to other tribes on an insufficient pretence. The sickness or sudden death of a relative while on a journey is allowed to be a sufficient cause, but not the mere whim of a chief to beautify himself by washing or combing while on a friendly visit to another tribe. If a child be born in the course of a journey, the child has a claim to the district. This claim is derived from what is called the "kawa" of the child; that is, at the birth of a child, a branch of certain trees, the "ake," "karamu," or "hatu" is taken, part of which is tied to the child and part set in the ground. This ceremony is called "te arawa;" if the portion planted grows it is said the child will be a warrior. There are also other grounds by which claims to land are allowed. If a chief be killed by a tribe on the lands of another tribe, and if the murderers are not owners of the land on which they killed the chief, the relatives of the killed chief claim the land on which the deed took place. For instance, the

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Ngatimaru killed a Ngatiwhatua chief on the lands of the Ngatiteata tribe; the Ngatiwhatua therefore claim a right to the district, and to this day their claim has stood in the way of the district being sold. Again, there are certain things which if done or happening to a chief when on the lands of another tribe will, unless the tribe at once object or disallow the act or occurrence, establish a claim on the land. An instance of this occurred when a chief called Papaka (in Waikato about three generations ago), while on a visit to the Ngatihape tribe, by whom he was entertained as a guest, made a present of his ear ornament to the Ngatihape chief. Now anything worn on the person of a chief is sacred, and the presentation by a chief of an ear or head ornament, is a mark of the greatest respect that can be shown from one Maori to another. Papaka was accustomed to wear attached to his ear the tail of a Maori clog called a "waro," which he gave to the Ngatihape chief, and it was accepted. Soon afterwards Papaka returned and assumed the leadership of the Ngatihape tribe, and consequently a right to all their lands, which claim has continued good to his descendants to the present time.

The Maori is said by many to be the child of impulse. Such an opinion is not just; for it will appear to those who can enter into close conversation with him that he does not ask a question merely to spend his time or to amuse those to whom he is speaking. There is no such thing as an idle question from a Maori. Those who have observed him will agree with me that when he asks a question he does it in such a way as often to render it impossible to imagine the object for which it was asked; also, if he has to answer a question the object whereof is not clearly understood by him, he will give such an answer as will not put him in the power of the interrogator. Similarly a Maori does not give or take a present except for some predetermined reason; thus the Ngatihape tribe in receiving the present from Papaka virtually bound themselves to give whatever he might demand in return. I will instance another mode of allowing a claim to be made for land. While the chief Raukataura, on a visit from Waikato to the Thames, was passing

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through the forest, one of his feathers (a kura) was torn from his head by the scrub in the road; he at once sat down, and breaking a number of sticks, made a small enclosure round the feather; and as it is customary among the natives for visitors from a distance to be attended by people of the district visited, and as these owners of the land witnessed the act and did not forthwith object to it, they virtually acquiesced in the claim which Raukataura thereby set up to the land, and to this day his descendants claim part of the district accordingly. Another instance of this custom may be given. One of the Waikato tribe, whose district was famed for the eels it produced, invited a chief of another tribe on an eel-catching expedition. During the sport the invited chief was so pleased with the quantity of eels taken that he took a bunch of albatross feathers, called "pohoi," from his ear and cast it into the stream. As the owners of the fishery did not immediately object to this, his descendants are now allowed a claim not only to the land but to the eels taken there. Another instance of the custom occurred not many miles from Auckland. There stands in the Waitemata river a rock, used as a mark in getting the exact position of a bank where shark is taken more plentifully than in any other parts of the river. A few years previous to the arrival of Governor Hobson an adjoining tribe was allowed to fish for sharks on the bank by the owners of the fishery, and the tribe to whom permission was given were so pleased with the quantity of fish taken that they were induced to attempt to found a claim there, which they did by cutting a mark on the top of the rock. This having transpired, the owners of the district at once proceeded to the rock and obliterated the mark, thereby disallowing their claim, which has not again been made. Another ground on which claims to land are founded is the "kanga," or curse. To "kanga" or "apiti" a Maori chief is an offence of the greatest magnitude, or to compare a man to anything eatable, or to call a dog or a canoe or anything after his name. An offender in this respect is visited by a war party, and if he is of another tribe, and leaves the settlement on the arrival of the war party, it is optional for

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such party at once to occupy the land and become the owners of that portion of the district. Not far from Auckland such an offence was given by the Ngatimaru tribe to the Ngatipaoa; the Ngatipaoa visited the offenders on the Waiheke Island, but not having been able to meet the Ngatimaru there, the Ngatipaoa took part of the island and hold the ownership of it to this day.

There are also, as I have before stated, lands which are ceded to a tribe for a specific purpose with certain restrictions, and the tenure of such land depends on the conditions being fulfilled. I mentioned that in certain cases in war, an assisting tribe was in return for their help presented with a block of land which became the property of all those who had relatives killed in the war for which it was given. In some instances, however, the land was not fully given to the assisting tribes; sometimes only the right of fishing or hunting was granted, and in order that the owners of the district might keep the "mana" or right to the land, the tribe who had received permission to fish or hunt had to render the proceeds of their first day's sport to the owners of the land. Nor was the time for this acknowledgment optional with the giver; for on the morning of the day after the first fishing or hunting excursion, certain men of the tribe were obliged to take the fish or game to the owners of the land, and the rest of the tribe were not to fish or hunt again until the present so sent was acknowledged by the return of the messengers. There are lands held on these conditions to this day. Sometimes, also, a permission was given to cultivate in consideration of a few of the best kumaras or taros being sent immediately on the crops being gathered. Lands have been used in this way by father and son for many generations. As a general law it was not allowed to bury the dead of the occupying tribe on land held by such a tenure, indeed only one instance of this law being broken has passed under my notice. In the case I allude to the burial having taken place with the consent or tacit admission of the owners of the land, a claim was in course of time raised upon this pretext, and the claimants even sold portions of the land to Europeans, nor was the unsold portion

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regained by the proper owners until after a war in which the offending tribe were driven off by force of arms.

I mentioned the Ngatiawa tribe as being one of the most restless in former days, and tradition speaks of them as the most powerful in respect of numbers. A reference to the names of the different tribes now occupying New Zealand would show that the Ngatiawa are located in the North end of this Island, in the Bay of Plenty, at Taranaki, and on both sides of Cook's Straits. As these places now occupied by them were not taken by right of discovery or by force of arms alone, there remains to be shown another custom relating to claims of land by means of which they became the owners of those districts. The progenitors of this tribe came, as I have stated, in the canoe Tokomaru, and landed near Taranaki; but being of a restless disposition, they shortly afterwards migrated to the Bay of Plenty, and then after a brief stay came down the East Coast to the Thames and ultimately went on as far as the North Cape, In the course of their wanderings they (being the most powerful in respect of numbers) drove the other tribes out of each district where they visited; they overran all the Ngapuhi land in the North, and were the cause of that portion of the Ngatiwhatu who were located at the North Cape coming South and joining the main body at Kaipara. Having by force of numbers taken all on the West coast to the North of Kaipara and all on the East coast to the North of Whangarei, they claimed it as their rightful property, not only by the law of might but because of having buried their dead in the sacred places of the tribes of the land; for they had, according to Native law, proved the power of their own heathen customs relative to the dead to be superior to that of the tribes into whose district they had come. I may mention that the laws relative to the burial of the dead are strict. It is supposed that to bury the dead of an inferior tribe in the same place where superior chiefs are interred, without the consent of the relatives of the superior chiefs, would cause the gods of the superior chiefs to destroy the tribe of the relatives of the inferior chief so buried; hence the circumstance of the

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Ngatiawa having buried their dead in utter disregard of such consent proved an undisputed right to the district, not only by the law of force but by that of superior rank. At the time of which I speak, the Northern people did not dispute the title of the Ngatiawa to portions of the land to which I have referred nevertheless. Their restless disposition again led them to migrate South, and in this migration the tribe divided, part going by the West coast and part by the East. The chief of the West coast party took with him a tame lizard (kaweau), and being now lessened in number, this party had to travel more circumspectly, being in the midst of their enemies. The New Zealanders are not more in fear of any known thing in the world than of the lizard, and this tame one effectually became the passport of the West coast party from the Hokianga district to Taranaki. The East coast party went by water, and landed in the Bay of Plenty, where they, by the same means as above described in the case of the Ngapuhi, took possession of a district which they still retain; while of the party which returned to Taranaki, some remained there, and some crossed Cook's Straits and took possession of portions of the South Island. In fact, there is not another tribe in New Zealand which is more separated, and by which more land is claimed. According to the laws of tapu, the Ngatiawa hold to this day undisputed possession of each district in which any portion of their tribe is located. Had any of them remained at Ngapuhi, that portion of the district which they might have thought fit to occupy in accordance with the mode in which the whole tribe originally asserted their right to the entire district, would have remained in their undisputed possession to this day.

I have now given, as far as my time will allow, a sketch of the laws and customs of the Maoris in respect to their claims to land; but it must be borne in mind that I have spoken of the Maoris of the past. The present Maoris have almost become another race in this respect. Had the rules of their ancestors been kept in every instance where claims to land were in question, I can confidently say there would have been

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very few disputes, such as have taken place since land has become known as a commodity by which the Maori can obtain money. In ancient times, the boundaries of each tribal claim were so definitely marked out by the traps made to take the rat, that a dispute about a boundary very rarely took place; indeed I may say never except in the portioning out of a conquered district; but since the Maori has not to wander through the forest in search of his daily food, since the old men who were accustomed to take the rat on their own boundary line have passed away, and since land has become an article saleable at the option of the owners, not only a deficient knowledge of the exact boundary but also the desire of each claimant to get the greatest portion of the proceeds of the sale causes disputes. Moreover, the claims of the more distant relatives have come to be entirely disputed, and not only the claims but even their right of relationship to the ancient owners. It will be seen, therefore, that the acquisition of a perfect knowledge of the existing tribal claims is not an easy matter, where there is not the slightest help derivable from documents, where the evidence given is all oral, where the ancient traditions are less and less committed to memory, and where even the memory is frequently misled by the love of gain and more particularly by the feeling of ancestral pride and the desire to be regarded as important proprietors, feelings which predominate to a greater extent than those of a pecuniary nature.

Upon the whole, if tribal jealousies, emanating from a continual fear of ultimate oppression by foreigners, and a desire to retain nationality, are considered, there is no question surrounded with more complications than that of acquiring land from the natives, and none so likely to involve serious difficulties between the two races which inhabit these Islands; while it is not less certain that no question exists in this country more involved in obscurity, none where more patience and prudence are required, and none where a false step involves more distrust than any interference with the laws and usages of the New Zealanders on the subject of title to land,

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