In reference to the Governor's Memorandum of the 29th ultimo, I have the honor to offer the following observations on the several topics adverted to by His Excellency.
1. The sum of £7,000 set apart for Native purposes on the Civil List,
is at present apportioned to the Church of England, Roman Catholic and Wesleyan Missions, for educational purposes.
2. Considerable diversity of opinion exists as to whether this outlay is productive of results adequate to the expenditure. Information on this point can be obtained by the appointment of an Educational Board, or of an Inspector of Schools, to enquire into and report upon
the subject; when I have no doubt it will be found that many of the schools under the management of each of these denominations have been well conducted, and that scholars attending them have made considerable progress in the rudiments of education. At the same time, it must be borne in mind that great difficulties have to be encountered in the conduct
of schools of this kind, such as the want of experienced teachers to act under the Missionaries, whose time is too much taken up with religious ministrations to their scattered flocks to admit of their exercising more than an occasional supervision over the schools. The children, moreover, being totally unaccustomed
to control, find it doubly irksome to be obliged to
conform to the rules and restraints which are necessary in conducting a school. The natural pride of the Natives induces the parents to look upon the restraint to which their children are subjected, and their being employed in mechanical arts, as a degradation, and they cannot foresee the advantages to be derived from a general system of education for the people, which might induce them to force their
children to attend the schools, in spite of the repugnance they naturally feel to the necessary control.
3. Notwithstanding these impediments, considerable progress has of late years been made, through the zeal of the missionaries, in training the children attending their schools in habits of cleanliness, industry and regularity, and in overcoming the prejudices
of their parents; So that the difficulties in the way of the successful establishment of a general national system of education, are gradually, though slowly disappearing. Thus, there is reason to hope that the benefits of a regular educational system, combining a knowledge, as well of agriculture and mechanics as of the domestic, moral and social duties, may be extended amongst the Aborigines, who may be
gradually induced to contribute to its support by donations of land and produce, and by small annual pecuniary contributions.
4. The diffusion of useful knowledge among the
natives is a subject of such importance to the welfare of the race, that - while fully admitting the prior claims of the three religious bodies now receiving Government aid-other denominations should not be excluded from a share
of whatever public funds may be available for this purpose, if, in the progress of colonization, schools should be formed by them in European districts, which should be open on equal terms to the children of the Aborigines.
II. BRIDLE ROADS.
5. The necessity of forming bridle roads to open up the country and facilitate postal communication, is so obvious that no arguments need be adduced in favor of it.
6. The lines of road through this Island which I would recommend to be opened up are - 1st the route through the interior, by way of Waikato, Waipa and Taupo, to Ahuriri; thence, through the Forty-mile Bush, to Wairarapa; passing along that valley. . . . . to the Rimutaka road, already formed, and on to Wellington. The advantages of this line are that it opens up the interior of the
most fertile portions of the Auckland Province; and that it passes through the most open and accessible parts of the country, with fewer natural impediments of dangerous rivers, mountains or dense forests to encounter, than any other line that can be selected. More detailed information in
reference to this line, and the stages for carrying mails, has been already furnished. The chief difficulty in carrying it through might
arise from opposition on the part of the interior chiefs; but this could be overcome, and their cooperation and assistance ensured, by judicious management.
The second line is that over which the overland mail by way of Taranaki to Wellington, is now carried. The chief object in continuing this line is that it passes through the English settlements of Whangaroa, Taranaki, Whanganui
and Manawatu. The objection to it is that it opens up no available country, as the road for the most part lies along the sea beach. Eighty miles of the distance between Kawhia and Taranaki is mountainous, heavily wooded, and so broken as to be impassable except to foot travellers; but even this portion may be so far improved, with the assistance of the Natives who have offered their aid,
that a moderate outlay will render it passable for travellers on horseback.
III. POLITICAL AGENTS.
7. The employment of Political Agents, or Residents, on whom the Government could rely for authentic information, is very much required, more especially in the densely populated native districts of the North Island.
8. The want of such a
class of officers is now becoming more urgent than ever, in consequence of the gradual withdrawal by the Home Societies of the Missionaries employed by them in Native districts, who in most instances possessed great influence among the Natives, naturally a feligious race, and strict observers of their own rites and customs previous to the introduction of Christiantiy. These
Missionaries acted as medical men, arbitrators in cases of disputes between tribes, and in various other secular capacities, as well as in teaching the doctrines of Christianity. On these gentlemen the Government have hitherto relied for information, and their absence from the districts they occupied, renders the task of governing the tribes with whom they were in communication more difficult
than ever; as an evidence of which the Natives in districts deserted by the Missionaries have frequently relapsed into their previous barbarous habits and heathenish practices, and resorted to war when it might, by the intervention of an impartial mediator, be altogether averted. I submit that the task now devolves upon the Government of making some provision with a view to preserve, by the aid of
enlightened Missionaries, the religious instruction already imparted to those distant tribes, and thus maintain the influence which the religious element in the Native character afforded towards the furtherance of other measures that may be devised for their government.
9. The duties of the political agent should to some extent approximate as nearly as possible, to those of the Missionary. He should possess the powers
of a Resident Magistrate to enable him to determine the various cases of Native disputes that might arise in his neighbourhood; to control many of the irregularities occasioned by Europeans, who in those remote districts feel that they can act with impunity from being beyond the operation of English law; and to afford summary redress in casesof cattle trespass, a most fruitful source of
discontent among the natives, to restrain which it will be necessary to have recourse to some legislative enactment, as they have often just reason to complain that the cattle of Europeans are allowed to run at large over their lands and cultivations, frequently without a stockman to look after them, destroying the crops, and doing so much damage and injury,
that they often allude to this evil as one of their principal objections to the alienation of their lands to the Europeans.
10. With a view to the gradual introduction of English law into Native districts, and to the enforcement of the Magistrates edicts, the principal chiefs should be invited to take part in the adjudication of all cases relating to their districts, and small annuities might be granted
to those who devoted most of their time and were found most
energetic in carrying out these objects. By this and other means to which I may hereafter advert, the institution of chieftainship, now fast mouldering away, would be recognized and to some extent upheld, thus affording a means of governing the tribes through the agency of their own chiefs, which is evidently the most effective mode of keeping them
in check, and of ensuring their confidence and cooperation. A few native policemen attached to each political agent would also be found most valuable in collecting information, and generally in assisting him in carrying out his duties, and in suppressing some of the evils resulting from the violation of the laws restricting the importation and sale of contraband goods
in Native districts; which, together with a stricter supervision by the Customs over the Native coasting trade, might prevent many of the evils that are now so justly complained of.
11. In all matters of detail, each agent should be governed by instructions suited to the peculiarities of the tribes and district to which he would be appointed.
IV. INDIVIDUAL TITLES.
12. The system of giving individual titles to the Natives is one that is surrounded with so many consideration and difficulties that I need not enlarge upon it in this communication. I would however refer to my letter of the 4th of June last, on the report of the Board of enquiry on
Native affairs, an extract of which is herewith enclosed. If this system can be carried into effect, there will
be less difficulty in doing so in the Middle Island, owing to the paucity of the Native population and the nature of their tenure, than in any other place. The machinery required for carrying out the plan there would be a Surveyor and a Native Commissioner, with four laborers, for a period probably of eighteen months.
13. His Excellency's responsible advisers
will no doubt make provision for the funds that may be necessary for carrying out measures for the amelioration of the Native race; whose claims, as doubling the European population in number, as possessing five sixths of the landed property in the North Island, as being as yet unrepresented in the councils of the Country although contributing a large proportion of its present available reports and revenues, cannot fail to engage
the consideration of the Government, since on the measures that may be adopted for the advancement of the Natives, in their present transition state, will in a great degree depend their own happiness and destiny as a race, as well as the general prosperity of the Colony of New Zealand.
September 4th, 1856