May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Tuhoe history acknowledged by Crown, Waitangi Tribunal

2 min read

(TV3) The Crown is being urged to remedy its historic treatment of Tuhoe – including a 1916 raid to arrest spiritual leader Rua Kenana Hepetipa – in a damning new Waitangi Tribunal report.

The tribunal released the fourth part of its report on Te Urewera district claims on Friday, identifying several Treaty breaches by the Crown during the 20th century.

It is critical of a bloody police raid on Maungapohatu in April 1916, which saw Rua arrested amid a shootout that killed two young Maori, and injured three other Maori and four policemen.

The invasion “effectively destroyed” the functioning and vibrant community at Maungapohatu, the tribunal said.

The Crown acknowledges it breached the Treaty by not acting in a reasonable manner toward the community.

The report says that between 1840 and 1920, the Te Urewera people “suffered Treaty breach upon Treaty breach and loss upon loss” due to poverty, famine, disease and war.

There were ongoing economic issues, including with farm development schemes, which saw the Crown retain control of land until loans were repaid.

That lead to heavy levels of debt among Maori – more of which “could and should have been written off”.

While that did not breach the Treaty, the schemes were unable to reach their full potential because so little land was left in Maori ownership beacause of earlier breaches.

The report says a breach occurred when the Crown wrongly transferred a Ruatoki water scheme – which it didn’t own – to the Whakatane City Council in 1960, while a further breach took place when the Crown refused to pay compensation for a ban on milling in Te Urewera.

The tribunal said problems remain between Tuhoe and the Crown, and those need to be addressed.

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