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Local Intelligence.

CONSECRATION of AVONSIDE CHURCH.' _ We were much gratified on Tuesday, at witnessing the - important religious ceremony of consecrating the Church and Burying-Ground. at Avonside. The weather on the. day .appointed; for the purpose being very propitious, a largenumber of persons, strangers as well as residentsin the pariah, assembled at eleven o'clock to witness this, the first occasion, of the kind in this settlement. At that hour .the Lord Bishop of Christchurch, with the,Yenerable -Archdeacon of Akaroa, and almost all the Clergy, of the province, arrived at the Church and were met at the principal entrance by the Church-wardens, W. .G. Brittan, and T. Hichens, Esqs., and many of the inhabitants who had interested themselves' in the good work. The usual petition to consecrate the Building was then -presented, and the Bishop,' assenting to the prayer, walked up the aisle to the Chancel, and "then read the form of Consecration, after which the service proceeded. The Rev. Charles Mackie and the Rev. Henry Jacobs read the usual Morning Prayers, and the Bishop of Christchurch delivered from the pulpit a most eloquent and forcible Sermon, admirably adapted for the occasion, taking his text from Psalm XXVII, vv. 4 and 5. after which a very liberal collection was made in aid of the Building, 'Fund. The congregation were assisted in the Choral part of the service by Mr. Bilton,. organist, and Mr. Merton. The Bishop, attend-' j ed^ by the Clergy, in the usual form and manner J prescribed solemnly consecrated and'set apart \ the adjoining enclosed Ground for the Burial of i , the Dead. ' I ' The site for this Church is well chosen ; it is situated near the bank of the River Avon, on the South side, about one mile from Christ- I church, in an elevated position. The land, to i the extent of two acres,- was presented ,to the ! parish for the purpose by the Rev. A. Bradley,- i whose son, one of our first colonists, after a •' short absence in one of the neighbouring colo- | nies; returned to Canterbury about three months i ago, and was soon afterwards accidentally drowned , ed in 'Lyttelton harbour. ' ' I A glebe "of six acres adjoining has also been | liberally presented by the Rev. Charles Mackie, i the present Incumbent; The, Church is built ' of the most substantial materials, the foundation j being of concrete, and the walls of well tempered cob, of considerable thickness. The main {building, including the chancel, is about 65 feet in length, exclusive of the tower which is not yet completed ; the width of the Church is about 24 feet. The sittings, which , are temporarily fitted, are placed on either side ' of a broad aisle, each compartment being con- > structed to hold six pei'sons; and the Church j| altogether will contain about 200 sittings, about jj a third of which are to be free. The roof is formed of black pine and appears very strongly framed; the dark colour of the wood has a very good effect and, with the windows, which are partly of stained glass, imparting to the whole that " dim religions light," deemed so essential in Church architecture. The eastern or chancel window is in three compartments, and the colours of the glass give an effect as harmonious as could well be desired. The building itself has no great' pretensions to architectural beauty, but is what we should deem in England a good plain but characteristic parish Church. We

cannot close this interesting report without'congratulating the spirited inhabitants >of this • parish on their praiseworthy zeal 'and energy i n setting the example to-other districts, byerecting the first substantial building to God's service, of materials that may endure :for ages; and we say to those others "Go and do likewise." We perceive by an-advertisement in .our columns that sermons arc-to be'preached in the Church on Sunday next,1 in-aid of the Building Fund: that ' in the. morning by the Lord Bishop of Christchurch; in the ' afternoon, by the Venerable Archdeacon Mathias ,• and in the evening, by the ' Rev. Charles Mackie, Incumbent; and we can assure our readers that they will be gratified as well as edified by an attendance on one and all of these occasions at the Parish Church of Avonside. ■ Lyttelton Savings Bank.—We find the accounts of this useful institution, for- the year 1856, published in the last number of the Provincial 'Gazette.' The amount - paid' in by depositors is stated to be £700 17 9, and the deposits withdrawn £237 6 4. The balance, with the -interest -given on the sums' deposited, amounts to £475 12 11.' The-"excess- of the interest received in the discount and' loan business of the bank over the interest paid is for the year £1511 0. The total amount to the credit of the bank was, therefore, £419 3 11, at the close of last year. Of this £100 is lent on Mortgage, and Bills have been discounted to the amount of £88, The expenses for the year are exhibited as the very small item of £1 11 9, and the balance to the credit of the Savings Bank at the Union Bank of Australia remains as £301 12 2. The business transacted by the establish? ment seems somewhat limited, in - comparison with the amount of funds at the disposal of the managers, but the report is satisfactory and the results, as shown by the figures,are on the right side. The Weather.—The rain which Lyttelton has so anxiously been looking for has visited us at last, during the past week; to the great inconvenience, no doubt, of those engaged in farming operations or in the carriage of produce. Last Friday and Saturday and two or three days since have given us in this town such a supply of water that it is unlikely that we shall run short again before the winter. The good effects of the rain are apparent also in the gardens, where the later potatoes and other vegetables, existing, till lately, without any promise of growing, are now taking a start which promises to compensate us in the autumn for the deficiency under which we have suffered during i the summer. ■ • Land Pttkchases!—According to promise, we shall now endeavour to give an accurate account of the late transaction between the Government and the natives of this province relative to the extinguishment of the native title to the north. The Ngatitoa tribe, headed by Rauperaha, having once conquered the country and returned to their own habitations, conceived themselves owners of the land by Maori custom, and sold the whole extent of it, from the Ashley river to the TCaikoras, to the Government, some seven or eight years ago. The Ngaitahu, however, though the conquered tribe, l'etained possession of the land and inflicted a parting blow upon the Ngatitoa, who never returned. Maori custom, by the strict practice in • such a case, establishes this tribe again in the ownership. Messrs. Mantell and Kemp made purchases in 1848 and 1849 of the country for the Canterbury Block, the northern boundary being, according to the natives, a line from Kaiapoi old Pa to Mount Thomas, and this purchase has always been allowed by the Ngaitahu, who, on the other hand, have always set up a claim for payment for the land northwai*d of that boundary, and their ownership has been enforced against ! European settlers on one or two occasions; though, at the request of the Governor, they forebore to make any great disturbance. For the last six years the claim-has been before the Government, though till lately overlooked or forgotten; so much so thai r.ofonly has it been the general belief among the public that all native title in this province was- long ago extinguished, but the Government have both granted pasturage licences and received rent for the same, all along, and even gone so far as to sell a large block of land to Mr, Moore, and smaller blocks to other j «ursons, out of this very country. The block over -which this particular portion of the Ngaitahu tribe claimed ownership extends from the boundary above mentioned on the South, to the river Waiau-ua, on the North

' "TnS^TrtTaibout. 50 miles'; and from the a Zto the sources of the Ashley, the Hurunui, 1 the Waiau-ua; about ;60 miles East and W h About 1,140,000 acres-are contained in this - of which 480,000 acres are- in the Pro•;'nf Nelson, and 660,000 in the Province of rterbuvy. A farther claim of about 1,000,000 „Tiptween the Waiau-ua and the Waiau-toa '"• and a doubtful one of 757,760 acres vThveen the Waiau-toa and the Awatere rivers we we believe, still to be settled with some other portion of the Ngaitahu tribe. ■ There is certainty moreover of a purchase having been de o f an extent of land on • the west coast, within the Province of Canterbury, comprising about three millions of acres, more or less, being about one-fourth of the extent of the whole nrovince, and said by the natives here to belong totlie-Arahuraor Putini tribe of Maories. JA purchase at Nelson, two years ago,may,however, cover a portion of the territory. The negotiation for the purchase of the block under present consideration commenced at Kaiapoi on the 4th of February, Mr. Hamilton being the Commissioner for the Government, and the natives of Port Levy, Raupaki, and Kaiapoi being-present by appointment. Whakatau, chief of Kaikoura, some chiefs of the Akaroa district and their followers also attended as relations but took no part in the proceedings. The offer of £150 by the Government was met by a demand. either for £500 or or £150, cash, and a large reserve at the Hurunui and M"otunau. These were both rejected by the Commissioner, as being beyond his powers to grant, but an additional sum of £50 was offered, which was rejected. Dunn" the conference, the natives clearly established their claim to the country and urged the hardships of having been kept out of their rights for so long without equivalent. Einally, after an adjournment to the next day, the sum of £200 was accepted, the natives urging on the Commissioner to represent to the Governor their rightful claim to a .further payment; but no such promise was made to them, for fear of sewing as an inducement to sell the land for the smaller amount or "of leading to further expectations. We have reason to believe, however, that the representation has been most strongly urged. The deed of sale was then formally assented to by the. whole body of Maories, and twenty principal men were named to receive the money and execute the deed. When their names or marks were put to the paper, £10 were counted out to each of the twenty men for distribution. There can be no doubt that the natives have been somewhat hardly used, and that if they had had some person able to attend to their interests, they might have obtained much better terms. For instance, the receipt by the Government of £20,000 or £30,000 for a ■ small portion of the country which really belonged to the natives, was, we think, a very fair reason for their expecting to receive more than £200 for the whole district. The very delay in purchasing the land seems to have made the Maories anxious to dispose _of it for whatever they could get, as they appear to have calculated upon the Government becoming more and more careless of purchasing at all. This consideration is, no doubt, the one which prevailed tipon them to lower their first demand for £500, which, in our opinion, could not be considered an unfair price. The extent lately purchased in Akaroa is about 45,000 acres; and the whole expenses of the negotiations in both cases, including the laying off three reserves of 400 acres each at Akaroa, do not exceed £55. Eor such |an acquisition to the province the price that |we have had to pay has been ridicuously small and cannot fail to excite the envy of our northern neighbours. Bail.—One of the best balls .which has ever been given in Lyttelton came off last night at the Town Hall. Though essentially a public demonstration it did not partake precisely of the character of a public ball, having been given by the members of our mercantile community to the captain and officers of the Oliver Lang, now oh" the eve of her departure. Invitations were of course extensively circulated among the residents m Lyttelton and on the plains, and were very generally accepted. The Town Hall, iipt yet found too small for any of our entertainments, \ytts tastefully decorated for. the occasion with ships' flags and7 devices appropriate ' enpitgh to. the spirit of the meeting. The supper was pro,--vided by Mr. Gee, and" did credit to his reputav won as a liberal and tasteful-purveyor. The late i h °ur to which the evening's gaiety was extended

of course precludes us from attempting to give a full description of the ball; suffice it that if the' efforts of our townsmen to delight their stranger guests were not equal to what they may have witnessed elsewhere, the pleasure which pervaded all parties present yesterday evening seemed to be quite as great as if all the resources of a European city had been taxed' to command it.

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Bibliographic details

Local Intelligence., Lyttelton Times, Volume VII, Issue 451, 28 February 1857

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2,214

Local Intelligence. Lyttelton Times, Volume VII, Issue 451, 28 February 1857

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