'Maori champion' condemns land grab

Pleasant Valley Sanatorium, Palmerston South, Otago, showing the administrative quarters. It has 42 beds and was opened in July 1910. - Otago Witness, 13.11.1912.
Pleasant Valley Sanatorium, Palmerston South, Otago, showing the administrative quarters. It has 42 beds and was opened in July 1910. - Otago Witness, 13.11.1912.
Mr W. Burnett, always a stalwart champion of the Maori, when presiding yesterday over a meeting in the interests of a Maori mission college near Kaiapoi, paid a striking tribute to the Native race.

He had known the Maoris, he said, in peace and in war, and, speaking of them as he first knew them, a nobler, more chivalrous, and kinder-hearted race of people he had never met in all the world. They were essentially gentlemen and gentlewomen. Their manners were perfect, and it amused him sometimes to hear ignorant people talking of the Maoris as "savages."

"I never, in my whole experience," said Mr Burnett, "met more polished ladies and gentlemen than I met 40 or 50 years ago among the natives of this country."

It was merely a matter of common justice that we should see now to do something for the Maori race.

Trading Europeans had come here in the early days with their trained intellects and had taken advantage of the Maoris' ignorance of the values of land.

They had bought enormous areas round about Dunedin for, he thought, 1d an acre - land on the Taieri that now ranged in value from 20 to 40, and even 100, an acre. He thought that on the lowest ground something was due from us to those people whom we had - he would not say "swindled" - but at any rate deprived of their land.

• Our Greymouth correspondent states that the chairman of the Westland Charitable Aid Board was very emphatic yesterday in urging upon members the absolute necessity of economising. In this connection he said that in at least one of the hospitals under the board's jurisdiction afternoon tea was serviced in a wholesale manner at the institution to friends of the staff. Mr Kennedy remarked that he did not wish to take a cramped view of such matters, as relatives and friends of patients could expect a little attention of the sort, but it had been stated that something like 20 visitors had been entertained in this manner in one day at one of the hospitals.

• A start has been made by the Mount Cargill Timber Syndicate to cut out a block of 200 acres of virgin bush at the head of Bethune's Gully.

There is a good quantity of building timber in the block, some of the pine and totara trees having a girth of up to 18ft.

The syndicate intends to cut the black pine and heavy broadleaf trees into lengths and split them for fencing posts, and other timber will be cut for firewood and carted to a yard in the city.

- ODT, 8.11.1912.

 


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