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Fine Lines

Fine Lines

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Published by Lisa Truttman
Presentation made at Auckland Central Library, 28 April 2010. Power point slides and commentary on land research in New Zealand.
Presentation made at Auckland Central Library, 28 April 2010. Power point slides and commentary on land research in New Zealand.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Lisa Truttman on Apr 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Lisa J Truttman
All images are crown copyright, Land Information New Zealand.
Fine Lines
 Researching land history in ew Zealand 
Presented at Auckland City Library 28 April 2010 by Lisa J Truttman
Slide o. Commentary
1 Title2 New Zealand’s land registry is divided into twelve districts. For Northland andAuckland, the district is North Auckland. Survey plans and land titles for alldistricts are now available online via Landonline.3 A brief history of land registration in New Zealand, by no means all-inclusive.Pre-1840, informal agreements between Maori and non-Maori settlers, traders,merchants etc. took place. These came under the jurisdiction of the Crownafter the Treaty of Waitangi, with Governor Hobson declaring that the Crownalone had the right of pre-emption regarding dealings in land with Maori. Thiswas to ensure some sense of fairness in the land dealings, as decreed byLondon at the time – but also to provide a source of income for the fledglingcolony: land sales to settlers.4 The 1841 Land Registration Ordinance Act led to the establishment of theCrown Grants System. The term “grant” can appear misleading to today’sresearchers, as a grant today is more or less a gift. However, a crown grant isthe granting of a title in return for some form of compensation, either mone-tary, or in the form of an exchange of land claimed. The latter case is oftenseen in the early 1840s crown grants, where those who had the opportunity tolay a claim to land on pre-1840 agreements with Maori in rural areas wereoften granted a title for urban and suburban land in exchange.5 The early crown grant documents are bound together like this in volumes, eachone numbered in a “G” series on the shelves: so, you will see 1G volume 1, 2,3; 2G volume 1, 2, 3 and so on. Each grant within the volume series has itsown number.
A map of the land granted can be seen on the reverse of each grant, and on thefront details of the name of the grantee, the amount exchanged (or descriptionof land exchanged), and legal description of the land to which title wasgranted.6 Map shows land claim by Robert S Thompson for the watershed of Canty’sCreek, next to Henderson. His claim was ultimately only half successful.
In December 1843, Governor FitzRoy arrived after briefings and communica-tions with the Colonial Office in London regarding land dealings in New Zea-land. In 1844, he instituted the waiving of the Crown’s right of pre-emption interms of land dealings direct with Maori landowners, and sparked off a year of confusing edicts and regulations which caused grievance among the settlersagainst him and led, among other reasons, to his recall in 1845.
Old Land Claim maps (OLC series) provide details of file references to seek further information at Archives New Zealand (Wellington), acreages, boundaries – but can also be quite attractive when they are in colour.
37 1860: Land Registration ActWhen conducting land history research, you will often see a deeds index pagewhich contains a series of registrations which appear to be not in date order. Acrown grant, for example, appearing well below later registrations, mortgages,etc. This is due in part to the 1860 act, which collected together transactiondetails (instruments) for each property under private title.8 The system involved: Parish indexes, Deeds indexes, and Instruments.9
Parish Indexes
. Land districts were divided into parishes, most descriptive of the area they included (City of Auckland, Suburbs of Auckland, Waikomiti,Town of Onehunga). But then there is the Parish of Titirangi, in whichTitirangi is not included (it is actually Blockhouse Bay, Avondale, Waterview,Pt Chevalier, and part of Mt Albert/Owairaka).The parish indexes are index books, with the names of the parishes inalphabetical order, divided into allotments, further divided into Lots wherenecessary (Suburbs and City of Auckland is an example), and provide either deeds index references or post 1870 title references for each piece of land.Today, due the extreme fragility of the North Auckland parish index books,they have been scanned, and are available via a computer terminal at the LINZoffice at the moment.10
Deeds Indexes.
 From the parish indexes, you go to the Deeds Index, the index pages for eachallotment within the parish registration district. These provide the referencesfor the instruments, as well as description of type (mortgage, conveyance, etc.),dates of the instrument, dates it was received at the registration office, andfollowing references (in this case, the Parish of Titirangi record leads to a post1870 title.) Note that pages are often shared by other parish information totally irrelevantgeographically to that at the head of the page. Also, there are times,annoyingly, where it seems the poor clerks working by gas or candle light havemade errors in recording the reference details properly. There will be deadends, but hopefully for the researcher not too many.At the moment, deeds indexes have not been digitised. The sooner they are, the better – the books are in an increasing vulnerable state.11
Deeds Books
 12 Early deeds sometimes show more than just the usual information such astransaction parties, sale prices or agreements, land description, whether therewere any buildings on the site …These examples show William Parker’s mark (he was illiterate), and theChinese character signatures of Ah See and Ah Chee when they look out thelease of the Carlaw Park land in the 1880s for a market garden.

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