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THE UREWERA COUNTRY

J, • NATIVES .WANT SETTLEMENT r s " ijl Valuable land and timber

1 MR. HERDMAN'S IMPRESSIONS

V An interesting account of a visit to ! $>6 Urewera 'Country. was given to ' a \ -yesterday by the Hoa. A. L. fiHerdman, Minister of Justice. Mr. j.Herdman inspected the Kaingaroa -Plains prison camp, and from there •went to' Te Whaiti and Ruatabuna, and ;throiigh the 1 Urewera Country to Wai- \ woa, Hawke's Bay. . i "Certainly the : interesting part 'of i !my trip," said Mr. Herdman, "was the fride through the Urewera Country. To ; who has never before penetrati »ed into' really, remote parts of New 'Zealand, a visit to the Urewera Country is full of attraction-. ' There the Native'still' lives in the bush, which V •crows in the valleys at the foot of the v thigh" hills, hearing little, and caring 'little about what; is passing in the ipakeha world outside. The . Maoris in -torviewed me at their meeting-house -at :U'e Whaiti, and I listened with,.deep .interest to the speeches of their • principal men. The dimly-lighted room, with I (.the Natives huddled together - seated on tf *the. floor, smoking and listening to the . speeches, was. a scene which will linger i 'long in my memory. V. . - • "I was surprised to learn from mein-j-bers of ; the deputation that they were \ i-anxious to have their lands' opened for Settlement. Until.l went into this couu- | .try I had been under the impression \ jthat the Urewera was a territory; in Viwhich the Natives looked.with suspicion ■ ; jupon the pakeha, 'and resented his ■ N'isits. I found when I went there "that , : chief desire is that the Govern- , qnent should alter or repeal altogether |the legislation which makes about 675,,'OOO acres of land a close reservation. ' ,1 cannot understand, why the pebple of have never taken this matter ' i up, and agitated'-for an alteration, of • "the conditions relating to this' large ■tract of country. I personally know •little about the value 'of land, and-less iabout the value of timber,, but I was •told by those who I believe are. com- : qxitent to judge that throughout the. •. reserve there is abundance of timber —• ' Hotara, Timu, and white pine—and I hgaw with my own eyes in places where >■ ,'the timber had. been cleared acres of . inland covered with- splendid pasture, :It '!% no exaggeration to say. that in- some •places through which we ■ passed the cocksfoot grass would reach to. the horse's middle. Of course the country lis rough—steep hillsides and deep val- ' leys—but I saw enough to convince me -that some competent judges' should ba •sent-into this territory to express' an ■opinion on the 1 value of the land and the 'timber." On the Rotorua side especially ;the country appeared to be good, but'gn 'the Wairoa side it seemed to be poor. . i "The Natives say that they can do 'little' with the land. It is their land, • 'and-yet it is riot theirs. It is reserved •for them, but apparently they can noi,ther lease, sell, nor develop it; and they '-are calling out for an alteration in the : i rlaw. -If- a road were put : through from 'ißuatahuna to Opu Euahine/ at the head iof Lake Waikareinoana, one of the finest tourist routes in New , Zealand j -would be provided. Gisborne, Wairoa, / Snnd Rotorua._would 1 derive direct benefit, i Ijand communication would ba opeired i I the stock markets of the Wai- ' f&ato and the East Coast. Of course I , Vctid -.not see: .•.the.- , part- of'; the : Urewera where Rua, lives. That, I understand, is situated about 30 miles itfrom where I passed. He is' probably •opposed to any change,, but in tho -country • through which I passed I am ■convinced, that the Natives do. want. Settlement. I understood l when. I was in the country that the Natives were ' .making arrangements to. hold a big • meeting -to;'consider the question of ."settlement: of their lands in the!neighbourhood of Te Whaiti 'and Ruatabuna. "I should like to, say that;;T was with the greatest kindness and by the Natives, as I passed . through their country"

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DOM19150312.2.69

Bibliographic details

THE UREWERA COUNTRY, Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2407, 12 March 1915

Word Count
672

THE UREWERA COUNTRY Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2407, 12 March 1915

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