MR BALLANCE AT OTOROHANGA.
The following is the concluding portion of our special reporter's telegraphic dispatch received too late for insertion in last issue : — Mr Orinsby said the next question was one on which he had been requested by the
whole tribe to speak. It was in reference to Mr Wilkinson. [Mr J. M. Eraser took Mr Wilkinson's place as interpreter.! Mr Orinsby saidWe are very grieved to hear that it is contemplated to dispense with Mr Wilkinson's services. Not only the Ngatimauiaiioto, but the whole of the tribes are grieved, and wo take their opportunity of expressing our sorrow to you on that > account. Although we have heard that the change is in consequence of the necessity for retrenchment we are dissatisfied that such should assume the shape of dispensing with Mr Wilkinson's services. We are of opinion that it is very wrong that a person who has served the colony so well should be treated in this manner. Wahanui and 1 wrote to you 011 this subject, but I have read no reply. Although only signed by us, it represented the feelings of the whole tribe. From the time of Mr Wilkinson's arrival we have seen nothing in his conduct to warrant his services being dispensed with. We know that he has been a perfect slave to the Government and the natives. We think, indeed, that his services should be taken into consideration by the Government, aud that instead of being dismissed he should be rewarded. We therefore ask you to retain his services. We have already petitioned you to make him a judge of the Native Lands Court. Although in the present state of tho finauces of the colony retrenchment is perfectly right, the dismissal of Mr Wilkinson will be a great mistake. Amongst the many Government officers whose services are still retained are many in whom we cannot believe. Mr Wilkinson, on the contrary, has our entire confidence, and we thoroughly believe in him. We do not think the Government can do away with the Native Office in Waikato yet, and the only conclusion we can come to is that some one is to be put in Mr Wilkinson's place, and we strongly beg you to reconsider your determination. Wahanui said they had only time to state the principal matters, and Mr Ormsby had exhausted the subject, but they intended to tie a string to Mr Ballance's, leg so that they could draw him back again to settle other matters, when a meeting would be held, at which all would be allowed to speak. Mr Ballance commenced by expressing the pleasure it gave him to know the proceedings of the Land Court had been so satisfactory, and quite agreed that Judge Mair should preside over the sub-divisions, as asked for, for he quite agreed with Mr Ormsby that the work of sub-division should be at once commenced. Wahanui would remember that this was the course he had advised before. He was rather surprised at Mr Ormsby's logic with reference to the £1600 charged for survey. The agreement to pay this was hampered by no conditions, and the Taupo portion had been taken separately for good and sufficient reasons. Had it been delayed, the probability was that Tawhiao would have held his manaover it. However, the course had been approved by Taonui and Rewi at a feast at Taupo. What the Maniapoto ought to do therefore was to pay their share of the £1600. Wahanui indeed had once offered it to him at Alexandra. He did not get it because Wahanui did not press him to take it, and he did not press for it. No doubt it would be forthcoming. He was sorry to hear the Administration Act had not given satisfaction, aud surprised at the reasons given. He was aware that a pamphlet had been circulated against it, but he knew its originator as a disappointed party, and therefore thought no weight should be attached to it. The Act was virtually the same as the bill circulated. The principal objection was that the mana to sell was given to the Government, but really it was given to tho committee and the commissioner.
Mr Ormsby said he referred to preemptive right. Mr Ballance replied it was hardly that, as the people could sell through the committee every acre of it if they wished. Mr Ormsby : But the Government could send an agent to buy the land before it was subdivided. Mr Ballance said such was the case, but before any land would be sold a meeting of the owners must be held. This provision was put in to protect the people. Before the passing of this Act none but the Government could purchase any of the land along this line. 4.V millions acres. The position of the natives wa si m pro ved. Head mi tted th ere were difficulties in the Act, as there were jn all Land Acts, but he was satisfied that fcbe principles of this Act were greater ilian those ot any other similar ones since, and he believed that would be Mr Ormsby's opinion on reflection. Regarding the presence of lawyers in the Land Court, he might say the clause had got in by mistake, and fie himself did not approve of it. He trusted they would not be allowed to practise without the full consent of all parties. The Government would not purchase any land until the sub-divisions had been made, but lie advised the natives, in their own'interest, to set aside blocks of land for European settlements, and thus advance the value of the remainder.
At this Wahanui laughed, whereupon Mr Ballance caused some amusement by remarking that Wahanui was evidently rejoiced at the proposal. Referring to the land taken for railway purposes, he said the agreement was that the land required outside the chain, and the three acres for the stations, should be paid for at a fair valuation, and he was prepared to go into that matter at once. Under the provisions of the Public Works Act contractors taking timber were bound by the schedule of prices. As to what steps should be taken to compel payment, he would be glad to confer with Mr Ortnsby afterwards. He thought a fair portion of the work on the line should be given to the natives, and if it was too late to arrange for the contract now being let, he would see that one of the next sections was set apart for them. He would see that a vote was put on for constructing the road from Kopua to "Okorohe station. A boarding school ■eould only be established and maintained £jut of endowments. Concerning the rerferves spoken of he would confer with the Minister of Education. He was glad to find the Ngatiinaniapoto entertained such a high opinion of Mr Wilkinson, and proinised to give their request the fullest consideration, They could not expect him to discuss the matter in Mr Wilkinson's promise, but all they had said would be carefully weighed. He admitted that Mr Wilkinson was an able and efficient officer, and he was was pleased that such a high value had been placed upon his services. In conclusion he regretted he had not been able to visit this settlement on a former occasion. He was glad to meet them there now, more especially as he caine to see them by railway. He congratulated them on the completion of the railway so far, and he hoped the remainder would be as satisfactorily carried out. It was pregnant with great .benefit to the native race on this island.
Wahanui : Don't forget about the string. Mr Ballance said it would Hot depend upon himself, bat on Wahanui. who held the end of it. But even without the string the magnetism of Wahanui was so great that he would be drawn back. He would probably visit them again before leaving for the session, on his return to Auckland from the north. Taonui said he had applied to the Land Court at Otorohanga to have the Ngatimaniapoto portion of the Taupo land cut off from Te Heu Heu's block and added to the Rohi Potai. He would repeat the request to Mr Ballance. JVlr Ballance thought the request a reasonable one, and promised to telegraph to the court now being held at Taupo, asking that the base be put off in order that Taonui or a representative might be present. One or two other little masters were discussed, and Mr Ballance having thanked those present for the attention given to him, the meeting separated. The Hon. the Native Minister and par.ty, which included representatives of The Waikato Times and Herald left Otorohanga at 5 o'clock. Taking coaches at Te Awamutu, they arrived at Kihikihi shortly before 7 .o'clock. Mr Ballance put up at Bond's Hotel. Mr Ballance at Kihikihi. In the evening a deputation waited upon the Minister in connection with the proposed bridge oi/er the Puniu on the road to the Pepohi railway station, Trunk Railway. In the ahsence of the chairman of the town board, Mr J. G. Elinsley, and other naemfccib of the board, the deputation consisted of Messrs "Bond, (a member of the boapd); J. Parrel 1, (formerly chairman of ,tne board): J. W. Ellis and Moncreiff, (mjem.ber of the county council). Mr Farrell said the bridge in question was very badly panted. Ballance said it was not so
long since tho Government built a bridge over the Puniu. Mr Farrell said the bridge already built was a very useful one, as it opened up the country to the south, and had been of great value to tho tunnel contractor, but the bridge proposed would put Kihikihi within 2A miles of a railway station over a good level road, whereas they were compelled at present to go four miles over what was in winter one ■ of the worst roads in the district, namely, that through Te Awamutu. The town board were quite willing to contribute £300, half the cost, but unfortunately the work lay outside their boundary. The board was wishful to extend the town boundaries to the river, but they were afraid the Rangiaohia Road Board and the Waipa County Council would oppose them, owing to the preponderance of Te Awamutu influence in b»>tli bodies. Mr Ballance could not promise that the Government would give any assistance. Such works should be done out of funds raised locally. Mr Farrell said he believed the town would be willing to hand over the 10-acre reserve, lately granted the board, to the Government if the latter would undertake to construct the bridge altogether. Mr Ballance said the offer was a very plucky one, but he did not think the Government would do the work. He thought the wisest course to pursue would be to ask the County Council to do the work out of a loan raised under tlie provisions of the Act of last session, the residents of Kihikihi and the surrounding district undertaking to nay the annual charges on such loan out of a special rate levied for the purpose. The members of tho deputation were of opinion that the people of the district would be quite agreeable to this, but expressed some doubt as to whether the County Council would fall in with the proposal. Mr Ballance did not think the council could have any objection if the people interested agreed to pay the annual charge of £30 for 26 years, the more especially as it would tend to relieve the traffic on a road which was very expensive to keep up. The deputation having expressed their intention of advising the Town Board to adopt the suggestion, thanked Mr Ballance for his courtesy and withdrew.
Mr Ballance left Te Awamutu for Auckland on Thursday morning. The Special Settlements. We learn from the Heraid that on his way down to Auckland by train Mr Ballauco stopped at Ngaruawahia, in order to see what was being done in the way of special settlement in tho territory between that township and Raglan. One of the Government surveyors met him there with maps, etc. Two of the special settlers (cabinetmakers) came in to see and welcome him, and from the station he could see the neat and comfortable residences they had put up on their sections. The sections thrown open for selection are being keenly competed for by ballot, and in three months it is expected that one hundred families will be settled there on fifty-acre sections. A punt for ferrying of stock is to be built at the expense of the Government, but to be hereafter maintained at the expense of the local bodies. Mr Ballance invited the two special settlers to come into his reserved carriage and point out to him what was being done along the line down to Huiitlv, as also to give any suggestions as to the working of the special settlement scheme they might have to offer. They explained they were but cabinetmakers going farming, but he replied he could see from their neat homesteads that they were the right stutf for farmers, and he wished them every success in their new career. On reaching Huntly, Mr Ballance was then met by another deputation of settlers with reference to a ferry to give access to land across the river, and the matter will receive consideration.
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Waikato Times, Waikato Times, Volume XXIII, Issue 2271, 29 January 1887
MR BALLANCE AT OTOROHANGA. Waikato Times, Volume XXIII, Issue 2271, 29 January 1887
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