April 10th. 1873.
The Heretaunga case after lasting 4 weeks is now at an end and with it the Commission closes. The complaints entertained and disposed of bear the proportion of one sixth to the whole number. The Commrs have been unable to enquire into any casew in which you are personally concerned owing to their being low on the Gazette list, and the reason they were not among the early cases advertised is that they were not sent in to Mr. Locke soon enough but purposely kept back with other cases by interested persons who intended to prefer them in person to the Commrs. and represent that the Natives had no confidence in Government officers. On one occasion and after the Commissioner had been sitting for a month I made application to have the Ngatarawa's looked into remarking that I had certified to the Deeds and was to a certain extent involved. The judge stated that they would have those Blocks brought on as soon as possible. However the Heretaunga case and Government purchases have kept the Court engaged so long that the Blocks named have not been able to be brought on. Paoro Nonoi, I haka Kapo and Ropata Te Hoakakari have withdrawn much against the will of Henare Matua. I handed your two p/Ns. in favour of Te Hapuku to the Trustees Messrs. Locke and Lyndon a fortnight ago; it was at Mr. Lyndon's request that I did so. Mr. H. Russell
called and asked me for the notes yesterday and I told him that they were in the possession of the Trustees. Mr. K. McLean has made arrangements to retire them. Only two transactions which I have decided as Trust Commissioner have been under the Notice of the Commrs. The one was virtually an appeal by Mr. Boylan against a decision of mine in Henare Tomoana's favour respecting a sale of part of Waikahu Block; and the other was a complaint by some Wairoa Natives against Dr. Ormond for not giving them the Fee Simple of 5 a. of land at a Reserve out of a piece of 150 a. comprised in a Conveyance when he had allowed them an interest in the same 5 a. for a period of 5 lives. These cases I could see the Commrs. thought nothing of but considered that I had properly performed my duty. The Native part of my work here is the most unpleasant of all my duties and the most thankless for I find that those cases which have been most satisfacorily settled to my mind including cases absolutely agreed to by Natives at the time they appear before me are in may instances subsequently repudiated by them. I think the Commission has answered the purpose for which the Act was passed namely to ascertain the general character of Native grievances and more especially to collect data to enable the Legislature to provide against similar complaints in future. I think with Mr. Sheehan Mr. Manning and others that it would have been useful and satisfactory
in some respects if the Commrs had had a judicial power and been enabled to dispose of cases absolutely including the awarding of costs. Had such additional powers been conferred upon them a very large number of the present cases would have been withdrawn. The Judge leans strongly against the Natives Lands Court and has I understand sketched out a new Native Lands Act. With regard to transactions between Native and European his notions I think are generally in favor of the former but this arises from want of proper knowledge of Native character. Mr. Maning I should imagine from my observations does not place the same amount of credence on the general character of Native testimony. Wi Hakairos bias in favour of his countrymen is marked and open and contrasts very unfavourably with the fair and quiet deneanour of Te Wheoro. The wisdom of the step in giving Natives powers coequal with highly educated Europeans seems in its result to be doubtful. I am sure the Judge and Mr. Manning have both thought Wi Hikairo's conduct in court on several occasions extremely irritating. The mail is about closing.
I am Sir,
The Honble Donald McLeanWellington
Inward letters - Hanson Turton (jun), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0611 (38 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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