November 6th. 1870.
My dear Sir,
I received your letter of the 28th. of October; and, as you suggested, have availed myself of the "Luna" to go to Tauranga; not, however, with the object of coming forward for the East Coast district; for that, I am sorry to say, is impossible, inasmuch as I have neglected to have my name placed on the Electoral Roll; but for the purpose of ascertaining whether some proper person could not be found to come forward to represent our district.
Mr. Sam. Clarke, I am sorry to say, finds that he cannot afford to be absent from home during the time which would be occupied by the sitting of the Assembly; and there appears to be no other suitable person in the district. It is proposed, therefore, to request Mr. James Mackay Junr. to come forward, as being at least a more creditable representative than either Kelly or Chadwick, the only two at present in the field.
Applications for registration of votes oan, I believe, be sent in only in the months of January, February, and March; and consequently the holders of Town sections in Gisborne, and the Ormond settlers were unable to make application in time; as also the Registrar of Deeds refused until lately to register our leases of
Maori lands; although the title to those lands was ascertained at the sitting of the Commissioners in July 1869. The settlers in Poverty Bay imagined they were debarred from registering; and consequently there are no voters whatever, I believe, in this part of the district. I am taking steps at once to rectify as soon as possible the error we have fallen into; but fear that in the meantime much evil may be done, without a possibility of preventing it. I am extremely vexed about this matter; and the more so as part of the evil results from my own fault in not registering my vote for the Marsden district long ago.
You see I am taking it for granted that there is no means of now getting names placed on the Electoral Roll, or of qualifying oneself until next September. Should you be able to suggest any way by which this difficulty can be overcome, I shall be very glad; for I am anxious to make myself of use.
And this leads me to the other subject referred to in your letter. I mean that of a Resident Magistrate for Poverty Bay. As far as I am personally concerned, were it possible, I would gladly do my best to perform the duties of the Office as occasion might require; but it appears to me that without a formal appointment, I could not legally act; and again, with the hope of representing the East Coast district at some future date, I am
rather averse to exciting jealousy by appearing to monopolize too many appointments. I allude to my being already Captain in the Militia, and a Justice of the Peace. However, I will place myself in your hands, and act as you think best.
With regard to Westrupp, I should have mentioned his name in my last letter to you, had I not felt a certain amount of delicacy about doing so, inasmuch as he is my partner. I was afraid I might appear to be pushing my own interests; but since you have mentioned him, I cannot but say I firmly believe he is very well suited for the appointment; and further, that he is prepared to make such a change in his domestic arrangements as will put an end to all occasion for remarks such as no doubt he has been liable to, up to the present time. I wish, however, to state that I am now writing without his knowledge, and without any direct authority for what I have said. When I first mentioned his name to you, I thought that, as he already was in receipt of a salary from the Government as Commander of the District; and as I also thought that the salary of a Resident Magistrate would or should somewhat depend upon the importance of the district and the amount of business done; and further, as I could not but recognise the fact, that at present there is not sufficient business to occupy the whole time
of a separate officer, I imagined it was possible, and perhaps desirable, to appoint him with a salary proportionate to the importance of the post. That he is a man of judgement; that he has, almost without exception, the full confidence of the settlers; and that he has also the interest of the Government at heart, I need hardly remind you.
There is one other subject I am requested to mention to you. It is this:- At the time the Commissioners' Court sat at Gisborne (July 1869) Hemi Mahuki, of the Muriwai pah, a man I think you know, was ill at the Mahia, and unable to attend. He sent a letter to the Commissioners stating his claims to land in the Maraitaha Te Kuri, and Pakowai Blocks, through his younger brother, Hami Mataura, who suppressed the letter. Hami Mataura's name is in the Crown Grant of each of the Blocks; whilst his elder brother, whose claims are not disputed by the Maoris, appears to be entirely cut out of all share in the lands. He, Hemi Mahuki, is one of the best natives in the Bay; and he is very anxious to know if he can now get his name put into the Crown Grants.
Yours very truly,
G. Randall Johnson.
Dear McLean, I promised to consult you about this. Vogel.