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TE WANANGA. Karaitiana Takamoana

The Te Wananga. Published every Saturday SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1876.

CONCERNING THE NATIVE DEPARTMENT. OF all the mysterious institutions which the world has seen, none can bear comparison with the Native de- partment of New Zealand. Although it is a public office, supposed to be under the scrutiny of public opinion and the surveillance of Parliament, the public, and the representatives of the public, know as much, about its internal organisation as they do about the social economy of the inhabitants of the moon. Efforts without number have been made for many years by some of the leading public men of the Colony to unveil the mazes of the Native office, to lift the veil which obscures the movements and functions of so many well paid and easy going public servants from the light of day, but the task has always been beyond the strength of those who have undertaken it, to perform. Attempt after attempt has failed signally, and each failure has left the venerable institution a greater mys- tery than before. Bat while the public are completely in the dark as to the internal constitution and organisa- tion, of the Native Department, they have a knowledge only too full and painful of its corrupting influences and its bungling work, and of the enormous cost at which it is perpetuated at the expense of the country. It is not necessary to quote authorities as to the cor- ruption and bungling which pumeate the whole de- partment. Such things are matters of contemporary history, verified by the unanimous verdict of the country from the North Cape to the Southern boundary of the "Colony. There may be differences of opinion about the wisdom of sinking the Colony into debt, or about the necessity for abolishing the Provinces, but there baa been for years but one opinion as to the honesty or usefulness of the Native office. Now, at to the question of cost, when we said that the question of cost was one upon which the people of the Colony «rere well informed, we do not mean to imply anything more than that they know to their sorrow the lump tam which they have to pay for the maintenance of an institution which they distrust and defeat. Although for years past the Colony has been called upon to find money by hundreds of thousands of pounds for Native purposes, the people have never had the slightest information or detail of the expenditure and distribution of the amounts banded to the Native office. Of course any one with his eyes open can form some idea of bow the money goes. It is only necessary to glance at the vast array of over paid and incompetent mischievous officials who hold the North Island like an army of occupation, to be satisfied that an enormous burden is entailed thereby on the tax-payers of the Colony. It is not only that situations are given to European friends of the powers that be, but there is besides in existence a system of paying salaries to Natives for no earthly object that we can discern, except to stop their months. In come districts of the North Island a short time since, nearly every adult member of a tribe held a paid appointment under the Govern- ment. Then were Magistrates, Magistrates clerks and policemen, and then to make sufficient vacancies, there were policemen's clerks also. Through, a channel so capacious, and so absorbing any amount of money would disappear rapidly, and it would require the financial genius of a dozen Vogels to keep ihe supply equal to the demand. Then again look at the large amount of money doled oat to the Natives in supplies of food and clothing. We only can say one thing with, certainty of this, namely, that these favors are generally con- ferred upon the least deserving of the many applicants to the Native Minister. A case now happening under our very eyes will also throw some light upon the comparatively unknown favoring of the Native De- partment. We refer to the visit of the Native Minister to this place. For a period of nearly four months the Province of Hawke's Bay has rejoiced in the personal presence of the Native Minister. With the Native Minister has been an under-secretary, a private secre- tary, an accountant, and a couple of orderlies. To see the Native Minister, a large number of functionaries of the department, have come from all parts of the North Island. All this is done at the expense of the public. The travelling allowance of a Minister is three guineas per day, and the other officers will have been performing the koutou in the august presence at rates varying according to rank from two guineas a day to ten shillings. Then there is the cost of passages and a heap of miscellaneous expenses, in the contract- ing or constructing of which the officers are faciles principes. We leave the reckoning of the cost of this single visit to those who are fond of figures, but we will hazard the assertion that an amount has been thus expended which, would go a long way towards paying the cost of the " Bridge " so long talked of, and so frequently promised to connect Port Ahuriri with, the Taupo road at the Spit. Another question, viz., how