Under the 1852 constitution the governor retained control over Māori affairs. However, advocates of responsible government believed this area should be under parliamentary control – partly so it would be easier to acquire Māori land. In 1856 a compromise was reached where the roles of native secretary and chief land purchase commissioner were placed under the general oversight of a 'native minister', although the governor retained responsibility. This 1856 memo from Colonial Treasurer Christopher Richmond to Native Secretary Donald McLean asks for a meeting to discuss the organisation of the new Native Affairs department. Richmond served as the native affairs minister between 1858 and 1860, but was unsympathetic to Māori aspirations to retain their land.
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