'An Act to grant a representative constitution to the colony of New Zealand' was passed by the British Parliament in 1852. The act set up six provinces to be governed by elected councils. Section 7 stated that eligible voters were males aged 21 or over who owned freehold land worth at least £50, or leased land for £10 or more a year. This act therefore did not exclude Māori males from voting, and some Māori voted in the first elections held after it was passed. However, Māori traditionally owned land on a tribal basis, and only a small minority owned or leased freehold land in the 1850s. Therefore, non-Māori voters far outnumbered Māori.
This extract from the act was published in several successive issues of the Taranaki Herald from 8 December 1852. Section 71 was never implemented.
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Reference: Sydney Taiwhanga, Proposals of Mr. Sydney David Taiwhanga, M.H.R., for the colonization and settlement of Maori lands. Wellington: Edwards & Co. 1888
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