The Native Land Court in Te Paparahi o Te Raki


This report provides an overview of the Native Land Court in Te Paparahi o Te Raki between 1865 and 1900.

The following document is a summary and synthesis of the many pieces of technical evidence to this inquiry that deal, in differing ways, with the Native Land Court. This report aims to bring together, in one readily accessible document, some of their key findings and investigate how the Court impacted upon Maori communities in Te Raki.

By 1900, Maori life in Te Raki had been transformed. The Court system was major factor in the alienation of most Maori-owned land in the region and the landlessness or nearlandlessness of many communities. The Court system had altered almost beyond recognition the communal structures and land tenure of most local communities. It had failed to replace this traditional tenure with a stable and appropriate form of land
ownership that allowed Te Raki Maori to thrive in the new colonial economy.

Te Raki Maori resistance to the Court had, against considerable odds, achieved some significant victories. An estimated 17.8 percent of Maori-owned land in the region in 1865 remained under customary tenure in 1900.1 This made Te Paparahi o Te Raki one of the few parts of New Zealand at the turn of the twentieth century with substantial areas of customary land. As other reports to this inquiry discuss, Te Raki Maori would, in the early part of the twentieth century, continue to be at the forefront of Maori attempts to find an alternative to the Native Land Court.

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