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Second cause of action: Native Land Court investigations

The ‘Claim’

8.2 The Claim

8.2.2 Second cause of action: Native Land Court investigations

In 1865, the crown introduced Native land legislation and set up the Native Land Court, which provided for a system of title investigation and allocation.

In the latter part of the 19th century, the native land court investigated a number of land blocks within which the claimants had interests, they being:

Te Kapowai Taumatawahine Kahuwera


Te Hoho

Oteao no’s 1, 2, 3, 4, and 4A Parts of Te Kauanga Whenuakite

The results of these investigations were as follows. Te Kapowai

Te Kapowai was investigated by the Native Land Court in May 1870. The application was made by James Wathen Preece and William Australia Graham acting as agents for Arama Whakatau. The area was 8663 acres. The case was heard in October 1870, and interests were given to the three children of Arama Mita Whakatau, who were Mana Mita Whakatau, Matahera Whakatau, and Rehara Whakatau. The costs of survey for the block was in dispute with Edward Dean, a surveyor, claiming 216 pounds-11-6. A lien in favour of Dean was issued at the same time as the title. Later Te Kapowai was purchased by the Crown for 700 pounds; the deed was dated April 1875. However, the deed was not signed by two of the owners. In Native Land Court records, the tipuna Mita Arama Whakatau stated that a Mr Schapp was to pay for the survey costs and Edward Dean pointed out that Arama had showed him the boundaries. However it seems that the survey costs were included in the Government’s purchase price.

(Alexander, Wai 100, pp.12-13)

After further investigation, by myself, Mr Schapp was identified as one of the owners of the Upper Mill; a mill set up on the flat land between, and near the mouth of both the Waiwawa and Whenuakite rivers, the other was a Mr Annsene.

It is possible that a deal was made between the government and Mr Schapp to

purchase the timber lease for Te Kapowai for the large stand of Kauri timber on the block, as seven days after the Government secured the block. Cutting rights were secured by Mr Schapp and Mr Annsene for 99 years at a rental price of 10 pounds 10 OD per year, from the Government. (Riddle, 1996, pp. 78, 95 &

Alexander, Wai 100, pp. 12-13)

In March 1874, Arama Whakatau wrote to the Superintendent of Auckland Province about money owed to him by James Mackay for the sale of Te Kapowai.

Mackay responded: “Mr James Preece made this arrangement at first and paid a deposit on the land, I was prepared to pay the money at any time if the natives had appeared to sign the deed, which they have not yet done, and I refused to pay part of them unless all were present” (Alexander, Wai, 100, pp12-13). Arama Whakatau died between 1874 and 1876, as Puckey, the native agent for Thames, had received the Crown’s deed for Te Kapowai in 1875 and after one year, he had returned the deed to the Native Land Court without speaking to Arama Whakatau as he had by then passed away. Did Arama receive the payments from Mackay for Te Kapowai? The researchers have not found any evidence of this payment. Te Kapowai was declared Crown land in July 1879. (Alexander, Wai 100, pp.12-13) Kahuwera

This block was sold to the Mercury Bay Saw milling Company. However, there is no evidence of how much the block was sold for or whether the owners actually received any money for the block. No deed of sale or other documentation signed by the owners has been located for Kahuwera. The only documentation found has been a court order signed by Judge E. P. Puckey on 15 July 1889, declaring that

the Mercury Bay Saw milling Company had purchased Kahuwera from the Māori owners; on 30 September 1889, a certificate of title based on the order was issued (Tulloch, Wai 475 #b1, p. 42, & Alexander Wai 100 #a8, p.7). Oteao 1

In December 1879, shortly after the title was investigated in this block, two of the five owners, Rahera Tainui and Erana Te Oneone, sold their interests to Alfred Edward Johnston, an Auckland accountant, for 5 pounds each. Johnston later transferred his one-third interests in the block to the Kauri Timber Company Limited. The owners who held the other two thirds of the shares in the block leased their interests to Leyland O’Brien Timber Company Limited for ten years from March 1906. (Alexander, Wai 100 #A8, p. 32) Oteao no.1

This is the only block left in the possession of the author’s Whānau. However, a portion of this block was taken for a road under the Public Works Act 1908. The amount taken was 2 rods and 7.8 perches, The Native Land Court considered compensation in October 1924, but made a nil award. (Alexander, Wai 100 #A8, p. 32) Oteao no. 2

This was investigated by The Native Land Court at the same time as Oteao 1 and allocated to the same list of owners with the same allocation of shares, 2/6ths to Mita Whakatau and 1/6th to the other four owners. After the title investigation, the Crown purchased all the interests for 19 pounds, pursuant to a deed dated August 1878; the trust commissioner certified the deed later the same month. (Alexander, Wai 100 #A8, p33) & Hauraki Minute book 9, p.256) Oteao no. 3

The research on this block revealed that significant costs were passed on to the Māori owners through the court investigation process. The title for this block was investigated in April 1878 and interests were granted to Mita Whakatau and five others (in this instance Mita Whakatau is also referred to as Arama Karaka) (Alexander, Wai 100 #A8, pp. 34-35; Hauraki minute book 10, pp. 320-321;

Hauraki minute book 11, pp. 18-19, 82-85).

The Crown was very eager to have this block investigated. In fact, J. W. Preece representing the Crown had already paid some money toward the purchase of the block. Mita Whakatau challenged the government’s evidence, saying:

Mr Mackay did not give me on the 27th April 1875, 96 pounds on account of this land. He gave me at the court at Coromandel 2nd June 1876, 5 pounds; my name was Mita before my father’s death. At his death, I took the name of Arama. I was christened Mita. Mr Mackay has not paid debts for me to the amount of 96 pounds… I know of the money paid me by Mr Mackay. I have had 5 pounds paid to me here by Mr Shortland, and 5 pounds at Coromandel, also my sister Matahera 5 Pounds. 15 pounds is all the money I acknowledge to have received from him. I never signed any document like the one (voucher) now before the court. I have signed a receipt on an ordinary piece of paper for 5 pounds (Hauraki minute book 10, p. 320).

The hearing was adjourned for Preece to obtain further evidence from Wellington.

However, the next day the court awarded the interest in the land to Mita Whakatau and five others. Preece applied for costs and these were awarded against Mita Whakatau in the amount of 13 pounds 19s, 6d. A survey lien of 50 pounds was also notified against the block, and one month later the crown purchased the block for 234 pounds in a deed dated August 1878, once again the investigation of this block highlighted how costs were passed on through the investigation process to the owners of Māori land. (Alexander, Wai 100 #A8, and p.35) Oteao 4, and 4A

Oteao 4 was investigated in August 1878, and was awarded to Mita Whakatau and five others. Later, between July 1898 and July1899, the Crown purchased the block; it seems that the block was then split again into 4 and 4A and then sold.

(Alexander, Wai 100 #A8, pp. 36-37). Taumatawahine

This block was investigated by the Native Land Court on 31 July 1883, and on 2 August 1883 it was awarded to Mita Whakatau and four others. The block was amalgamated into the Whakapoi block in January 1970 and became known as Whakapoi no 2. Seven other blocks were amalgamated at the same time, including Oteao no 4B. Whakapoi no. 2 was then vested in a section 438 trust. On 16 February 1972, the whole block 373 acres 0 rods and 26 perches was sold by the Māori Trustee Office to Dalgety New Zealand, Kapowai Farms Limited and B.W.

& N.A. Readhead (Coromandel minute book 3, pp. 258-259, 272) & (Tulloch, Wai 465 #b1, p.146). Rautawhiri Oteao

The native land court investigated this block in August 1883 and, after hearing evidence from a number of Claimants, the court awarded interests to Arama Whakatau and five others. No restrictions were placed on the block and the new titleholders were charged Court costs of 1 pound. Charles Frederick Oliver purchased Rautawhiri O-te-ao on 22 December 1964. Oliver farmed alongside the block and cleared ragwort from it. At a meeting of owners at Paeroa on 3 September 1964, the owners passed a resolution agreeing to the alienation. Oliver paid 450 pounds for the land to the Māori trustee as the owner’s agent. He also paid outstanding rates on the block of 15 pounds 18s.2d. (Tulloch, Wai 475#b1, pp. 134-136, Coromandel minute book 3, pp.249, 265, 268-270, 328-333, 335-336). Te Hoho

This block was investigated on 7 August 1883, interests were granted to Mita Whakatau and three others. There is now very little trace of what happened to the block. Nevertheless, the author did find why the whānau had been given interests in the block, and that it had been amalgamated into the block Te Kauanga Whenuakite no. 5. Johnston emphasised the importance of this block in his report:

“One of the main reasons she (Rehara Tainui) wanted to hold on to it (Te Kauanga Whenuakite no.5) was because there was a block of land there called Te Hoho, which contained the Papakainga, the Pa and the Urupa that fronted the Waiwawa river”. (Johnston, Wai 110 # a6, p.43)

Figure 31: Te Hoho Church (Riddle, 1996, p. 175)

At the rear of this church fronting the Waiwawa River is a cemetery that possibly has the gravesite of our Tipuna Arama Mita Whakatau.

Mita Whakatau’s appeal for interests in Te Kauanga Whenuakite in 1901 is identified in the records: “Also admitted that Arama Whakatau and Matahera Whakatau are buried on the land at Hohou” (Coromandel minute book 8, pp. 360-367, 372). Mita Whakatau was not granted interests in the block.

In carrying out the investigations for these blocks, the Crown did not actively protect the claimants’ interests in the use of their lands and waters to the fullest

extent. It failed to recognise and protect customary Māori ownership of the blocks concerned, by introducing a new land tenure system without proper consultation which in turn destroyed the existing concepts of customary land tenure. By vesting land in individual grantees, the Crown introduced a system whereby individual interests could be alienated.

The Crown in essence created a system in which the claimants’ descendants incurred various costs associated with the investigation of their land blocks, in particular survey lien, charges, or other debts such as shop accounts and travel expenses. As many Maori Land Court sittings were held outside the places of residence of the whānau, court costs which prejudicially affected the author’s whānau.

were also introduced by the Crown.

8.2.3 Third cause of action; Crown purchase of interests following the