Search Site
Our People
Home >> Te Uru Taumatua >> Our Kōrero >> News >> Tuhoe Settlement >> Minister Finlayson Address to Tuhoe-Crown Settlement Day in Taneatua
Minister Finlayson Address to Tuhoe-Crown Settlement Day in Taneatua
22 August 2014

Tuhoe whenua
Tuhoe tangata
Te mana motuhake o Tuhoe
Mihi mai, whakatau mai

(Tuhoe land
Tuhoe people
The special mana of Tuhoe
Greet(us) Welcome (us))

Te reo Maori has many wonderful sayings, for example:

"Whaia te iti kahurangi
ki te tuohu koe
Me he maunga teitei"

Translated, I believe it means:

"Persue the treasures of your heart
If you should stoop let it be to a lofty mountain."

Today we bow to your sacred mountain - Maungapohatu

Ngai Tuhoe - it is your day.

I address you all, as descendants of Chiefs.  As the descendants of the statesmen and stateswoman of these homelands, the tangata whenua of Te Urewera.  I address you the people of the Iwi – Tuhoe.

I am so very privileged to be here with you on this historic occasion to celebrate your  settlement and to deliver the Crown’s formal apology to Tuhoe for breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. 

We have achieved a great deal since we started these settlement negotiations in July 2008.  While it is not possible to undo the harm the Crown has caused, or fully compensate Tuhoe for the losses you have suffered, your settlement provides the foundation for a more prosperous future for Tuhoe and a better relationship between us. 

I am of course acutely aware that there have been previous agreements between the Crown and Tuhoe that the Crown has broken.  The Crown must work hard to regain the trust of Tuhoe.  I am thankful that, through your settlement, you have provided the Crown with the opportunity to do this.

When I signed the Crown – Tuhoe relationship agreement at Mataatua marae in Ruatahuna in 2011 I spoke of the need for the Crown to acknowledge our shared past.  It is a past that you live and breathe.  It is a past that I find deeply troubling.  It is a past that is now recorded for all time in your deed of settlement and legislation.  It will never be forgotten by Tuhoe or by the Crown.  Thanks to the efforts of many Tuhoe people and others like the late Judith Binney, your history is now more widely understood by all New Zealanders.  

In 2011 I reflected on some of the wrongs the Crown has inflicted on Tuhoe.  I expressed the Crown’s deep sorrow for the way in which Tuhoe has been treated and for the failure of the Crown to make amends despite the endeavours of Tuhoe leaders.  I stated then that Tuhoe would receive a formal apology from the Crown once we had reached a deed of settlement.  We have achieved this and your settlement has now passed into law.  It is now fitting for the Crown to publically and formally apologise to Tuhoe.

History of Crown interactions with Tuhoe

I want to talk first about some of the events in the history of the interaction between Tuhoe and the Crown.   This history is the reason we are here today.  I know that for the Crown to regain any honour in your eyes an apology is due.  An apology is deserved. 

In 1840 you did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi.  You weren’t asked to.  You continued as you had for centuries before living within and respecting Te Urewera for your lifestyle; prosperity and advantage.  Up until the 1860s the Crown had no official presence in Te Urewera.  Although we did meet up briefly - on the battlefields of Orakau at Kihikihi.

Despite a proclamation of peace in 1865 martial law was issued to arrest those responsible for the killing of Reverend Volkner and the Crown official Fulloon.  Tuhoe had no part in this, yet you suffered the confiscation of a huge area of land from Ruatoki, Waimana through to Ohiwa.  Tuhoe lost the bulk of your most productive lands even though you were not  in rebellion and the confiscation was not directed at you.  Eru Tamaikoha  and Te Puehu  were amongst those who led non-violent resistance against the confiscation of Tuhoe land, pulling out survey pegs and seizing stock from military settlers around Waimana.  The Crown responded with military action attacking your Pa in Waimana in 1868.

The ‘confiscation line’- which runs just a short distance from here - is an ever present and painful reminder of that shameful event.  Your re-enactment of that scene during the Waitangi Tribunal inquiry was a most vivid reminder of a time that today we must begin to heal.  

Compensation Courts were established to make up for these wrongs.  However, yet more injustice was served as their decisions awarded Tuhoe land to other Iwi.   None of your traditional lands taken through confiscation were returned despite the best efforts of tipuna such as Rakuraku Rehua , Te Makarīni Tamarau and Akuhata Te Hiko whose claims were either rejected for rebellion or dismissed without cause.  They were deported from their lands here in Taneatua and held captive in Te Ana o Muriwai without trial.

Life in Waikaremoana and southern Te Urewera was not faring any better.

Crown forces warring with East Coast Maori arrived in Waikaremoana attacking Tuhoe people defending their lands at Te Kopani.  At least 25 of your people were killed and executed and no one was punished for the crime.  In 1866, the Crown used scorched earth tactics destroying 10 kainga and taking your food stores to make life there impossible.

There was summary execution of prisoners and the killing of non-combatants. Rangikumapuao was one those Tuhoe who were executed.  Your tipuna Hikihiki Noa is a symbol of the cruel displacement and dispossession of Tuhoe people from their lands at Waikaremoana.

I know the grievous harm you feel at the Crown’s actions in the attacks at Waikaremoana.  Your ancestors like Eria Raukura were captured, labelled “political offenders”, and exiled indefinitely.  These are the things that demand the justice you have called for today.

I turn now to the Scorched Earth actions and Te Kooti.

Conflict returned to Te Urewera in 1869 as the Crown pursued Te Kooti following his escape from the Chatham Islands.  Some 15 Tuhoe people were killed at Ngatapa.  Your resentment over land confiscation created alliances between some Tuhoe and Te Kooti.  The Crown responded harshly.  A three-pronged military operation was implemented and while Tuhoe and Te Kooti moved inland, women and children were captured at Te Harema.  The women were given to a Maori contingent and taken out of Te Urewera.

At this time Crown forces also killed Tuhoe people collecting kai near Te Whata-a-pona pa at Omaruterangi.  The bodies were desecrated.

Scorched earth tactics were used to punish all Tuhoe for the sanctuary Te Urewera provided Te Kooti.  Crown forces destroyed food stores, crops and livestock at almost every village of note.

In 1870 the desire of Tuhoe for peace was strong.  This is not surprising.  You had been engaged in fairly constant warfare for nearly a decade.  In the winter after the scorched earth campaigns you had no food, no shelter and approximately 200 people died hungry, cold, succumbing to an influenza epidemic.

Even though Te Kooti by now had left the area, a new military campaign was planned. A Rongopai, was brokered by Tamaikoha in an attempt to save lives.  The Rongopai was almost immediately broken by the Crown causing the death of his uncle at Whakarae.  Eventually a peace compact was forged under which the Crown withdrew from Te Urewera and agreed to leave Tuhoe to manage your own affairs.

However, the Crown’s conditions for peace were unfair and unworkable – the Crown demanded the surrender of all Te Urewera leaders and the exile of all Urewera communities to costal reserves.  Many Tuhoe were forced from their homes and detained at Te Putere where they were subjected to further hardship. Those that remained on their land suffered from hunger and illness.  

The Crown’s military campaigns in Te Urewera had severe and lasting impact on Tuhoe.  At least 12 percent of the population died as a direct or indirect result of the Crown’s conduct.  

Te Whenuanui, and others helped to maintain the uneasy peace established by the 1870 Rongopai – seeking to “come under the wings of the bird of peace”.

In 1872 a council of chiefs, Te Whitu Tekau, was established to uphold Tuhoe mana motuhake in Te Urewera.

Te Whitu Tekau objected to all forms of land alienation in its many guises – surveying which enabled land division and titles and roading that created access and therefore demand for land.  But above all Te Whitu Tekau was opposed to the Native Land Court.  Between the 1870s and the 1890s Crown pressure and the claims of other iwi led to the introduction of the Native Land Court in Te Urewera – permitting land surveys and Crown purchasing - despite the opposition of your chiefs Tutakangahau, Paerau, Tamaikoha, Hetaraka Te Wakaunua, Kereru Te Pukenui, Tamarau Te Makarini, Te Ahikaiata and others known by you as Te Whitu Tekau.

Today the Crown acknowledges that it did not formally recognise Te Whitu Tekau as a Tuhoe political institution; that the Crown did indeed exert pressure on Tuhoe to open up Te Urewera for settlement and introduced the Native Land Court despite the consistent rejection and opposition of Te Whitu Tekau.   During this period more than 1 million acres of land in which Tuhoe claimed interests were surveyed and put through the Native Land Court.  The bulk of which was sold within a few decades.

The Native Land Court has its imprint over many injustices inflicted on Tuhoe.

In 1875 the Crown forced Tuhoe to sell a large area of land at Waikaremoana by threatening to confiscate their interests if they did not sell.  Some forty years later Eria Raukura recalled that “the Government told us we would have to sell or else it would be taken from us.” 

At Waiohau, the fraudulent partitioning and then illegal purchase by private parties of 7000 acres of land, and the eviction of Ngati Haka Patuheuheu members from their homes at Te Houhī in 1907, continues to cause great suffering to Ngati Haka Patuheuheu.  The hapu were impoverished by legal costs spanning from 1886 to 1907.  Opposition was spearheaded by Wī Patene, MEhaka Tokopounamu and HEtaraka Te Wakaunua.   Crops were destroyed and you were required to dig up and remove your dead from the land; and watch while Tama-ki-Hikurangi was disrespected.    

In 1894 Premier Richard John Seddon came to Te Urewera on a fact finding mission.  It is no surprise that by this time Tuhoe ardently sought to protect your dwindling and remaining lands from sale.  He was gifted the  taiaha ‘Rongokarae’ by Kereru as a gesture to reaffirm the 1870 peace compact and to set the scene for discussions on the establishment of a self-governing Te Urewera Reserve. 

It is my great pleasure to tell you that the taiaha gifted by Kereru  to Premier Seddon in 1894, 120 years ago, is to be returned by members of his family who are with us today.  On that note, may I invite the great grandson of the late Premier Seddon, Mr Tim Jerram, to bring forward the taiaha. 

Together with Seddon family, the Crown wishes to reaffirm our mutual desire for peace.  Let the Rongokarae once again be a symbol for renewed trust, peace and quietness between us.

In 1895 a delegation of Tuhoe chiefs met with Premier Seddon again in Wellington.  The Premier reaffirmed that the rohe of Te Whitu Tekau should be kept inviolate and that a protectorate was in place for Tuhoe.  The meetings produced a compact by which Tuhoe renewed your acknowledgement of the authority of the Crown, and the Crown acknowledged and agreed to respect the mana motuhake of Tuhoe.  This was encapsulated in two flags designed by Tutakangahau:

  • One featured a Union Jack with the words Kotahi Te Ture Mo Nga Iwi e Rua (“one law for both peoples”) commemorating the Urewera District Reserve.
  • And the other flag read Te Mana  Motuhake o Tuhoe - later retitled for the Urewera Commission as Te Ture Motuhake o Tuhoe.

The Urewera District Native Reserve Act of 1896 provided for local Tuhoe self-government over a 656,000 acre Reserve, and for decisions about the use of land to be made collectively and according to Tuhoe custom.  The Act guaranteed the protection of Tuhoe lands, which could not be sold without Tuhoe consent and then only to the Crown.  In 1895 the Premier Seddon offered eight outcomes.

But the Crown did not implement the self-government provisions of the Urewera District Native Reserve Act and then undermined its protective provisions.

Between 1912 and 1921 the Crown’s purchasing of land in and around Te Urewera, much of which was illegal, and roading and survey costs imposed on Tuhoe under the 1921 Urewera Consolidation Scheme, resulted in a significant loss of Tuhoe land.  Crown purchasing rendered numerous Tuhoe landless, including World War One veterans such as Te Ihi Te Paerata, Tamati Matiu and Awhena Reha, whose land interests had been purchased shortly before they left to fight.

Harsh tactics were used to acquire further land at Waikaremoana, where the Crown assumed control over Lake Waikaremoana and resisted attempts for decades by Maori owners such as Mei Erueti to secure title to the Lake bed.

Crown purchasing within the Urewera Reserve was resisted by many Tuhoe.  Te Wao Ihimaaera, Te Amo Kokouri and Rawaho Winitana for example were prominent among Tuhoe who led opposition to Crown purchasing around Ruatahuna.   

In 1916, 70 armed police invaded Maungapohatu to arrest Tuhoe prophet Rua KEnana on liquor licensing charges.  The Crown’s use of excessive force resulted in the killing of Rua’s son, Toko Rua, and Te Maipi Te Whiu.   Police took the flag that had been flying at Maungapohatu since the establishment of the Urewera District Native Reserve, as evidence of Rua’s sedition.  Rua was cleared of eight charges including sedition, but was convicted of “moral resistance” relating to an earlier arrest attempt and jailed.  While Rua was cleared of sedition the flag was never returned.

For almost 100 years the flag has been in the Crown’s possession. 

Since 1930 it has been cared for by the Auckland War Memorial Museum.  Today we join together to help restore that injustice by returning the flag to you. 

Following the 1921 consolidation scheme Tuhoe were only left with 16 percent of the Urewera Reserve, much of which was unsuited to settlement or economic development.

Pomare Hori, Wharepouri Te Amo and others protested against the consolidation scheme and the taking of land to pay for survey costs.  Promised roads were never built despite the fact that Tuhoe gave 40,000 acres for that purpose.

Further, the Crown instigated Development Schemes in Te Urewera, at Ruatoki, Waiohau and Ruatahuna during the 1930’s.  All I can say is for Tuhoe and Te Urewera these schemes failed.  Debt and Crown dependence was created, later more land was lost.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s the third stage of the Waikaremoana power scheme and the Kaitawa station was completed.  This involved the use and modification of the Waikaremoana lakebed and lake levels, leading to erosion, destruction of shellfish, and reduction of fish stocks.  You did not consent and were not accorded respect in these dealings.

In 1954 the Crown established Te Urewera National Park.  The Crown neither consulted Tuhoe about the establishment of the Park nor its later expansion.  In fact the Crown did not recognise Tuhoe as having any special interest in the Park or its governance.   Tuhoe leaders like Rewi PEtera, Tuiringa Tawera and Sonny White opposed the expansion of the National Park and the impact of restrictions on Tuhoe owned land adjoining or surrounded by the Park.   

From the 1930’s most Tuhoe left Te Urewera in search of livelihood and opportunity  that your homelands could no longer offer.

Tuhoe, the Crown is remorseful for the suffering it has caused.  We take responsibility for that suffering.  Today I seek your forgiveness.  And I reiterate the Crown’s commitment to your settlement. 

Before I conclude my address with the Crown apology I have several gifts to present.  I hope that these gifts, and the taonga that are being returned to Tuhoe, are symbols of a turning-point in the Crown’s relationship with Tuhoe – we have agreed to settle  past grievances and establish a new relationship – we must now turn our attention to building a better future together. 

The first thing I want to give you is a Koikoi presented by Tame Iti to my predecessor, the Hon Michael Cullen, at Parliament at the signing of Terms of Negotiation in 2008.  The Terms of Negotiation marked the formal start of negotiations.  I understand Tame said at the time that the Koikoi would assist our negotiations and should be returned when a settlement was achieved.  I’d like to thank Tame.  The Koikoi did its job.  Our negotiations have concluded.  We have reached a settlement that reconnects Tuhoe to Te Urewera.  It gives me great pleasure to be able to return the Koikoi to Tame.

To mark this historic occasion and the completion of your settlement, I would also like to present you with the original, signed, copies of your settlement legislation – the Tuhoe Claims Settlement Act and Te Urewera Act.   The Settlement Act records the history I have talked about, the Crown’s acknowledgement of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and the redress provided to Tuhoe in settlement of your historical claims.  The Te Urewera Act reconnects Tuhoe with Te Urewera by giving Te Urewera a legal identity and putting Tuhoe at the centre of the future governance and management of your homelands.


And so to the Crown apology.

“To the iwi of Tuhoe, to the tipuna, the descendants, the hapu and the whanau, the Crown makes the following long-overdue apology.

The Crown unreservedly apologises for not having honoured its obligations to Tuhoe under te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and profoundly regrets its failure to appropriately acknowledge and respect te mana motuhake o Tuhoe for many generations.

The relationship between Tuhoe and the Crown, which should have been defined by honour and respect, was instead disgraced by many injustices, including indiscriminate raupatu, wrongful killings, and years of scorched earth warfare. The Crown apologises for its unjust and excessive behaviour and the burden carried by generations of Tuhoe who suffer greatly and carry the pain of their ancestors.

The Crown is deeply sorry for its failure to make amends for the way it has treated Tuhoe despite the honourable conduct of your leaders. Tuhoe were committed to the peace compact agreed with the Crown in 1871, despite Crown pressure to allow surveys, roads, and the operation of the native land laws to open up Te Urewera. The Crown later denied Tuhoe the right of a self-governing reserve by subverting the Urewera District Native Reserve Act 1896. The Crown purchased much of Te Urewera illegally and its actions left Tuhoe bereft.

The Crown apologises for the exclusion of Tuhoe from the establishment of Te Urewera National Park over their homelands. The Crown also apologises for wrongly treating Lake Waikaremoana as its own for many years.

Despite the hardship Tuhoe and Tuhoetanga endure, your culture, your language, and identity that is Te Urewera are inextinguishable. The Crown acknowledges you and te mana motuhake o Tuhoe.

Through this apology and settlement the Crown hopes to honestly confront the past and seeks to atone for its wrongs. The Crown hopes to build afresh its relationship with Tuhoe and that this new relationship will endure for current and future generations.

Let these words guide our way to a greenstone door—tatau pounamu—which looks back on the past and closes it, which looks forward to the future and opens it.”

To read the original Minister Chris Finalyson speech, click here.

Item Comment

Blog Post Minister Finlayson Address to Tuhoe-Crown Settlement Day in Taneatua
Are you a machine? If not please enter nothing in here:
Your Name