Object #1022379 from MS-Papers-0032-0039
From: Native Minister - Native Land Court, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0039 (22 digitised items). No Item Description
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My friends, The Chiefs,
You have heard of old and you know yourselves that disputes about land have been the cause of most of the wars in N.Z.
Large tracts of land are still disputed or held on sufferance and likely at any time to lead to feuds between tribes otherwise friendly to each other.
Life is often expended for land which is not worth contending for. This is an evil and ought to be remedied.
Now for the first time Chiefs from all parts of N.Z. are met together - consult then with each other and try if you cannot devise some plan by which these disputes could be settled without war.
When Pakias disagree about land and two or more persons claim the same piece of land they do not fight but they go to a Court of law, each gives an account of his claim and the judge awards it to the one who has the best right to it.
It is probable that the man who loses his case thinks himself aggrieved but he is obliged to sumbit for the whole community of the Europeans are ready to support the decision
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of the Judge because he is appointed by the Queen as a just man and decides without favour or partiality. It is quite true that it would not be possible to bring many
of your tribal claims before the Supreme Court in N.Z. but you might establish some system among yourselves which wd. answer the same purpose.
In Hindustan when men dispute about land or other matters of this description each party selects two persons to act as their assessors and these assessors meet and elect one more who must belong to neither party. The five then enquire into the question in dispute and give their decision which no one presumes to dispute.
Now if two tribes or two Chiefs of different tribes had a dispute why should they not follow this example each tribe might select two from its own body and these four might invite a Chief of name and credit belonging to some distant tribes who had no connection with either of them. Then before any decision is given both the contending tribes should solemnly engage to abide by the decision.
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In this manner it would be easy for tribes whose lands join each other to define an exact boundary and by marking it prevent the possibility of future disputes.
Families or Happus might also do the same.
If you establish any system of this sort I will do all in my power to assist you and I will have an office set apart in which boundaries properly defined and declared to be adjusted shall be registered. When registered the five who have been empowered to settle the boundary will have to sign the declaration and this document may then be referred to in case doubt may arise at any future time.
Principle to be laid down period from which claims are to date.
Native Minister - Native Land Court, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0039 (22 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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