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THE MAORI LANDS COMMISSION.

Mr. W. S.. Aickin sends a long letter on this subject, in which' he contends that the compulsory sale of Maori lands is a of the Treaty of Waitangi, and a gross wrong to the Maoris. Dealing with the operations of the Maori Lands Commission, he states: — '" '- -•

"That the ' Cofiimission was coercive was made clear by a telegram- which appeared in, I think, the "Star,"" not many months after the Commission began itinerating, to the effect that the Natives (of that district) only consented, to the terms Offered because they feared if they refused worse might befall them. Now, as this final report recommends about 700,000 acres of Maori lands for general settlement, it is obvious the Commission has been parcelling out according to its own sweet will. It would be interesting to learn upon what principle they allotted. Was it-'on the lines : of the Maori Lands Settlement Act of 190,0 —25. acres to each Maori? All the Maori members opposed* this in the House, and Hone Heke proposed 00 acres, which was lost. The original possessor of the'land is allotted 25 acres, whereas .the Euro-, peau is by law allowed .hundreds of acres (? 640). But, Mr. Editor, unless' the consent of the Maoris was obtained in each case, the Commissioners were trespassers. They had no more right to enter upon these lands and hold such an inquiry than you would have to enter any, shop in Queen-street and seize gOods, or dictate to the occupier how he should conduct his business. I may be answered, 'Are the Maoris not living under English law?' Exactly, and it is the business of English law to protect the Maoris' rights. England promised the Maoris should have undisputed possession of their lands until they were disposed to sell, and because of that assurance they conceded her Majesty a preemptive right." Our correspondent goes on to quote at length from speeches made in Parliament by Mr. Hogg and the Maori members to the effect that they regarded the Government proposals with respect to Maori lands as confiscatory. He says: —"I was the foremost and most radical in pressing for the opening of Maori lands. Some five years ago I advocated, through the Auckland Press, placing an embargo on unutilised 31aori lands, and leasing them for 30 years, proceeds to go to educating and training the Maoris, and the titles to be settled during that period." The Government has been guilty of two great crimes against civilisation. Mr. Hogg, did not take his stand upon the Treaty of Waitangij therefore (1) the treaty has been broken through introducing compulsion, and (_) the unjust measures instituted because of that breach; such, Mr. Hogg states, as : would if applied to Europeans, create a revolution, I see a great deal of Writing in the Auckland Press' hounding on the Government to acquire the Maoris'..lands;, but I never see a word justice of their proceedings." Nor is there ever a line advocating the cause of the weak—the now overwhelmingly outvoted and outnumbered Maoris. The cry Is, 'Away with him! Away with him!"'

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THE MAORI LANDS COMMISSION. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 87, 13 April 1909

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