Object #1022742 from MS-Papers-0032-0009
20 pages to James Grindell
From: Secretary, Native Department - Administration of native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0009 (20 digitised items). Included in this folder is a paper by McLean that his biographer, Ray Fargher, describes as McLean's 'only comprehensive statement on land purchase policy'.The folder also includes information about the battle of Te Kuititanga, 1839.
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Diary of James Grindell
from lst March to 30th April, 1859.
Proceeded to Rangitikei, and was detained there all the next day by wet weather. On the 3rd I joined Mr. Stewart at te Awahuri.
From the swollen state of the Oroua river we found it impossible to proceed with the survey - and were detained in consequence, three days at this place.
Monday 7. The water having subsided, we proceeded up the river, and arrived on the 10th, at the spot from which we were obliged to return last month from want of provisions. From this spot we proceeded with the survey of the river up the mountains. Having, with some risk and difficulty, brought my horse with me we were enabled to carry on the work with much greater facility, as I, with the assistance of a native, undertook the task of packing the provisions, tents, etc. up the bed of the river, making two trips daily, from station to station, whilst the men were engaged chaining and cutting lines
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By the 19th we had finished the survey up to the Ruahine range, from whence we returned to the Awahuri, where we arrived on the evening of the 24th having surveyed, by the windings of the river, a distance of 60 miles above the Awahuri, which is itself same 20 miles from the mouth of the Oroua.
I then proceeded to Manawatu, by way of Rangitikei. Here I saw Mr. Searancke, (who had just returned from Whanganui and was on his way to Wellington to meet Mr. Mclean,) from whom I received instructions to return to Rangitikei and inquire into the state of feeling amongst the natives of that District in reference to the practice of leasing runs to Europeans, which is becoming prevalent amongst them and which threatens to interfere seriously with land purchasing operations, for the present at least, if some decided step be not taken by the Government to check it.
April 1st. I attended the Magistrates' Court held at Rangitikei. On this day an individual, named Thos. McKenzie residing at Rangitikei
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was brought before this Court by Nepia's son to answer for the non-payment of £10, being two months quota of the yearly rent for native lands south of Rangitikei River, and at present occupied by European European cattle; but the case was not entertained by Mjaor Durie being illegal. McKenzie had become mixed up in the matter in some ways which did not appear (as no evidence was adduced) either as part owner of the cattle or as agent for the rightful owner.
The desire to lease runs to Europeans is daily gaining ground amongst the natives of this District. The moving cause with the Ngatiapas is I think the unwillingness of the Government to purchase land from them without the consent of the Ngatiraukawas, and as money must be had in some way, they are satisfied, for the present, to acquire it by leasing in which they are joined by Nepia. Nothing less can be expected than that, leasing once commenced, it will be pursued with eagerness by both tribes, for neutrality in either would be be considered as equivalent to a surrendering of all title and claim to the land. The Ngatiapas
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declare that Nepia took the initiative step in the matter by receiving money from Mr. Robinson of Manawatu for the depasturage of cattle which are not confined to Manawatu but ramble all over the country, even to Rangitikei, They, in consequence, several times made arrangements with Europeans for depasturing their stock on the plains south of Rangitikei. Some of these have since beenremoved by their owners. Subsequently some of the Ngatiapas and Nepia have conjointly leased runs to European residents of Rangitikei and Whanganui and the evil appears likely to increase.
The natives are fully aware that it is unlawful for Europeans to lease lands from them, and they have always been taught that the law is inviolable; yet they see it broken continually with the utmost recklessness and impunity. The effect of this upon the native mind must necessarily be to give them a not very exalted opinion of the power and authority of the Government, and to encourage them to transgress the law in cases where transgression could not be tolerated. It is therefore absolutely
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necessary that something should be done to put a stop to this growing evil. It should either be made legal or put a stop to at once. If the former, the transfer of lands to the Crown will in all probability, be at a discount for a time possibly for some years; if the latter, a decided course of action must be adopted, and the land may
then be acquired much more speedily. But it is a question if the benefit resulting from the latter course would compensate for the evil occasioned.
Independently of the practice of leasing to Europeans the contention amongst the natives themselves, a rising from the question of tribal rights and individual title, is alone a sufficient obstacle to the acquirement of lands from the natives; and it is greatly to be feared that no method can be adopted to obviate the difficulty which would prove effective without being offensive and consequently, dangerous. The question of extinction of the Native title over the lands in this Province is becoming a most momentous one, and rife with difficulty and danger. Here, on the
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West Coast, in particular there are so many tribes, each disputing with the other the ownership of the land, that the matter becomes doubly perplexing. It is almost impossible to gain the assent of all claimants to any particular block, and if the land be purchased from the parties willingto sell without regard to the claims of those opposed to selling, discord, disunion and, possibly, open hostilities might ensue and the Government might have to retain possession of lands so purchased by force. Nevertheless I am really inclined to believe that, from the present aspect of affairs, some such means must be adopted before the native title can be extinguished. At present I see no way likely to be free from serious embarrassments. I allude more particularly to the Rangitikei District.
Much of the attention of the natives of late has been directed towards the land on the South side of the Rangitikei river at present being leased by Nepia to Europeans. This is an extensive tract of country and suitable both for grazing and agricultural purposes.
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The claim of right to this land has been a continual source of contention between Nepia and the Ngatiapas, who would willingly sell to the Government were they in undisputed possession. The Ngatiapas have without doubt a just claim to the country, and their power of making themselves troublesome is not to be underrated when their connexions are considered. They were never thoroughly conquered by the Ngatitoas the first invaders of the country. The Ngatiawas were amongst the first allies of the Ngatitoas and took an active part in assisting them to subdue that part of the coast inhabited by the Muaopokas, the Rangitanes and the Ngatikahangunus which tribes were the greatest sufferers by the invasion. At a later period the Ngatiraukawas arrived, but took very little active part comparatively speaking, in the war about this part of the coast, being principally engaged making inroads upon the Ngatihahungunu territories. When the land came to be divided amongst the invaders disputes arose between
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the Ngatiawas and Ngatiraukawas which resulted in many of the latter evacuating Otaki and commencing a return to Maungatautari They were however detained by the Ngatiapa and Rangitane tribes from whom they received shelter until they had raised sufficient provisions by cultivation to enable them to recommence operations against the Ngatiawas which they did in about a year subsequent, assisted by the Ngatiapa, Rangitane, and other tribes who had sheltered them, also by a reinforcement of the Waikato. The result of this expedition was to fix the Ngatiraukawas at Otaki, the Ngatiawas retiring to Waikanae. Subsequently the Ngatiraukawas attempted to surprise the Ngatiraukawas attempted to surprise the Ngatiawas in a night attack at Waikanae, but were repulsed with great slaughter. This unsettled them again at Otaki, but Christianity being introduced about this time put a stop to further hostilities and they remained in quiet possession of their homes. This last affair is known as the battle of the "Kuititanga". The Ngatitoas in this action divided, one part joining the Ngatiraukawas and
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the other the Ngatiawas. After this Nepia and his people returned to Rangitikei where they were welcomed by the Ngatiapas. But it is said he never claimed a right to the country, and was therefore tolerated by the Ngatiapas who no doubt at that time would have been willing to make over to him a sufficient portion of land for his use. The above is admitted to be correct by many of the Ngatiraukawas themselves in its most important points. Hakeke (Kawana Humia's father) and Nepia were frequently allied together for mutual defence and friendly relations were generally maintained between both tribes, which were first disturbed by an accidental circumstarice. A large boat, belonging to Europeans, was wrecked upon the Rangitikei coast and the body of a relation of Watanui and Nepia, (named Koraria) who was a passenger on board, was cast ashore at Turakina. Clothes and other articles washed upon the beach were taken possession of by the Ngatiapas and hostilities had very nearly
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commenced between the tribes on this account. Subsequently a woman of the Ngatiapas was shot by Nepia in an attack which he made on the Pariwanui pa as ''utu'' for the violation of a married woman of his tribe by one of the Ngatiapas. This feud however was stopped by te Hakeke, who acknowledged the fault to have been the Ngatiapas Another cause of complaint of the Ngatiapas is the fact of Nepia having engrossed to himself all the merchandise given by Colonel Wakefield for the purchase of the Manawatu; in consequence of which they refused to share with him any portion of the money which they received from the Government for the country north of Rangitikei.
It is just possible that Nepia might be brought to sell if he thought there was a probability of the Government entertaining the claims of the Ngatiapas to the Rangitikei District particularly if he were prevented from leasing Tho not openly
Secretary, Native Department - Administration of native affairs, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0009 (20 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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