6 Feby. 1872
My dear McLean
I send you an official about some applications to lease and squat on Lands in Opunaki Township 3/4 After deliberating on the subject (without the great advantage of local knowledge) I arrived at the conclusion that it was impolitic to grant the applications - All the reserves in a Town ought (saving those required for Colonal uses) to be kept inviolate as public endowments - Whenever I have in my experience seen a disregard of this rule I have always found it regretted -
Of course I am not fit to advise how far such a general rule should, or might, be relaxed in this special instance - I am imperfectly possessed of the plans of Government for settling the confiscated lands - I am however acquainted with the miserable fact, that by some oversight or omission all the lands surrounding the Town of Opunaki are out of the hands of the Crown and in those of the natives and two European holders - Under such circumstances it perhaps may be a matter of some difficulty to plant a population in this district -
Such difficulty may or may not be lessened by allowing people to squat on Town lands and reserves at no, or nominal rent - Such people seldom improve the estate but like Vogel's sweep they first put their dirty hand on the tart and then get it at their own price - There may however be a hundred reasons patent enough to one more fully acquainted with the facts, on which to justify any mode of handling the Township.
There is no harm done in the mean-time and the rigour of any rule may be relaxed by a minister, should special reasons of public policy occur for going so -
May I suggest that you will favor me with your instructions of the policy of Government in reference to the settlement of the West Coast confiscated lands as soon as you are prepared -
I think you wd. find my services much more effective if I were so informed.
I trust you are well -
I am very fully occupied and am trying to find my way to a useful administration of my office - but the Native lands are an embarrassing estate for you and in a less degree for me -
Perhaps it would be of material assistance if you in most cases, were to avoid making positive promises about reserves and other priviledges until after correspondence with this office - The delay wd. be quite reasonable and might be a great element of safety and economy.
I am presuming to address myself without reserve and I know you are fully able to understand my motives.
Yours very truly
Inward letters - W S Moorhouse, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0458 (6 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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