29th November 1871
On looking over the Native Schools Act 1867 I see by the 5th Clause it is necessary that a Memorial be first addressed to the Colonial Secretary praying for the establishment of a school etc. defining the proposed boundaries of the School District, whereupon he shall by notice in the Gazette or otherwise call a meeting etc. whereupon if the majority of the meeting desire to have it constituted a school district they report to the Colonial Secretary etc.
Now applying this to any place difficult of access such as Waiapu, Opotiki, Whakatane etc. several months might elapse before all these preliminaries were carried out.
I therefore beg to suggest that the Colonial Secretary should under sanction of the words in the 5th Clause, "or bysuch other notification as he shall think fit", devolve those preliminary steps upon me so that supposing me to visit any populous neighbourhood where
the Natives were desirous to have a school but had taken no steps I might on the part of the Colonial Secretary receive their Memorials and there and then call a meeting of adult native inhabitants, and upon their undertaking to contribute their proportion of funds, and electing their school Committee and Chairman, setting apart a school site etc. in conformity with the requirements of the Act I might set the school in motion reporting all that had been done to you - (I presume the "Col.Secretary" is named because in 1867 there was no "Native Minister" and that the words "Native Minister" should now be read for "Colonial Secretary")
I think a good deal of unnecessary delay and correspondence might be got rid of in the way I have suggested -
I hear the Waimarama people want a school and I propose going to see them in a day or two but I do not think they have much money available - I fancy the establishment of village schools will have the effect of concentrating natives in their vicinity.
Yours very truly
A. H. Russell
Inward letters - A H Russell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0551 (55 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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