Te Rangiwaituhi - Maniapoto apology

Mihi

Ko taku rourou iti a haere, maringi kai whenua

Ko taku rourou iti a haere, maringi kai moana

kia mau ki te kawau māro, whanake ake! kō Maniapoto e!

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Greetings and Thanks

As we gather here this morning I want to acknowledge the significance of the Crown apology to Maniapoto.

It has been a long time coming. The fact there are more than 3,000 people in attendance today is a testament to this. It was only a few months ago that Maniapoto came to parliament, many by train, to witness the third reading of the Maniapoto Claims Settlement Bill. The eruption of celebration that rang out that day will not be easily forgotten.

Maniapoto also presented Parliament with te taiaha Maungārongo, which is being cared for and on display at parliament where he will be for the next five years.

Acknowledgements

I want to acknowledge the significance of this day for Ngāti Maniapoto, which you have named ‘Te Rangiwaituhi’ to commemorate today’s events.

I would like to extend my greetings to Te Kāhui Ariki and representatives of Kīngi Tūheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Te Tuawhitu. It is an honour to be sitting on the mahau with you this morning.

I recognise the many people who have worked so hard on this settlement. The Maniapoto negotiation team: Glenn Tootill, Peter Douglas, Mook Hohneck and my ministerial colleague Nanaia Mahuta, prior to her role as a Cabinet Minister. I also acknowledge all of those who have supported them. We remember with sadness the late Tā Wira Gardiner who contributed greatly to the negotiations.

To all those who have served on the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board. I especially greet past Chairs who are here today: Rore Stafford, Tiwha Bell and Keith Ikin. I also acknowledge the new Trustees of Te Nehenehenui, especially its Chair Bella Takiari-Brame.

On the Crown side, the Maniapoto negotiations began under the previous administration and the leadership of the Honourable Chris Finlayson. When the government changed, Andrew Little picked up the negotiation and faithfully moved it to completion. I acknowledge both Ministers and the work they have put into the Maniapoto settlement.

150th Anniversary of Tokanganui-a-Noho Marae

The Crown ope and I are grateful to be hosted by Ngāti Rōrā and Maniapoto today, knowing that it is the 150th anniversary of Tokanganui-ā-noho marae. I am told Te Kooti built this wharenui 150 years ago in recognition of the manaakitanga and shelter you provided to him. You extend that same generosity and hospitality to all of us here today. The hau kāinga has cared for this incredible taonga over those many years.

The Significance of Apology

When Maniapoto invited me to come to Te Kūiti Pā today, I knew it was important for me to attend. To be here with you kanohi-ki-te-kanohi to take responsibility for the Crown’s actions. For more than 180-years your people have carried the hurt, grievance, and suffering as a direct result of the Crown’s actions that left you disadvantaged in your own whenua.

The Crown ignored and denied the prejudice it caused Maniapoto. The apology I present to you today is long overdue.

The path to apologising

Te Rangiwaituhi is the culmination of all the Crown has heard from Maniapoto over many years. Your people began submitting numerous Wai claims setting out the Crown’s harms as early as the 1980s. They then testified before the Rohe Pōtae Tribunal inquiry, laying their take before the Crown. Over the past six years of the settlement process, your negotiators were determined the Crown recognise the harm it has caused.

Through these processes, the Crown heard about the injustices it committed against you. I appreciate that sharing your deepest hurt with the Crown has not been easy and everything you have told us demonstrates the clear need for the Crown to apologise. And while we have listened and heard of the pain and hurt of Maniapoto, we have also heard of your aspirations for your people and the future.  It is only through these conversations the groundwork for reconciliation has been laid.

Over the past six years we have undergone a rigorous process of understanding the Crown’s wrongdoing in its relationship with Maniapoto. This, as well as the Crown’s breaches of Te Tiriti, have been recorded in the deed of settlement.

Now is the appropriate time for the Crown to honour its commitment and responsibility as a Treaty partner.  The COVID pandemic restrictions at the time meant we could not have a deed signing ceremony together or hold an event to deliver the Crown Apology. We committed to come to your rohe to deliver the Apology kanohi-ki-te-kanohi so as many Ngati Maniapoto as possible could be present to witness this significant day.

In apologising, the Crown takes responsibility for the pain and hurt it has caused and makes commitments to you which it will uphold.

Reconciliation is a process and Te Rangiwaituhi marks a turning point in the Maniapoto-Crown relationship.

I will now read the apology on behalf of the Crown:

Reading of the Maniapoto Apology

To Ngāti Maniapoto me ōna hapū maha, to your tūpuna, your rangatira, your kaumātua, your tamariki and mokopuna, ki a koutou katoa o Te Whare o Te Nehenehenui, the Crown delivers this long overdue apology. Nō te Karauna te tino hē (the Crown was at great fault).

The Crown is truly sorry for its many breaches of te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. The Crown especially apologises for failing to uphold Te Ōhākī Tapu, through which Ngāti Maniapoto had sought to establish a relationship with the Crown in which your mana motuhake would be respected. I takahia te mana o Te Ōhākī Tapu (the mana of the Ōhākī Tapu was transgressed).

The Crown profoundly regrets its horrific and needless acts of war and raupatu, which have caused you and your hapū inter-generational suffering. Instead of respecting your mana whakahaere, the Crown killed and injured your people, and pillaged your land and property.

Nowhere did you fight with more courage and tenacity than at the battle of Ōrākau. However, you were labelled as "rebels" by the Crown and left to care for the many refugees seeking your shelter. Kei te nui te aroha (Great was your generosity).

Following the wars, you established an aukati or puru to protect your mana motuhake. The Crown regrets that, instead of respecting you, it placed a kapua taimaha, a heavy cloud of pressure, upon Ngāti Maniapoto to induce your people to open up your lands to Te Ara-o-Tūrongo, part of the North Island Main Trunk railway line, and European settlement. Despite the Crown's hara or wrongdoings, you wanted to plant a tree of goodwill, tētahi rākau pai.  You were willing to trust the Crown and entered into Te Ōhākī Tapu. I whakapono koutou ki ngā kī tapu a te Karauna (you trusted the Crown's solemn words).

The Crown regrets that it quickly disregarded the solemn promises in Te Ōhākī Tapu it had made to you and sincerely apologises for breaching them. Instead of respecting your mana whakahaere, the Crown prevented you from managing your lands as you saw fit.  The Crown promoted Native land laws that led to the award of your tribal lands to individuals and aggressively acquired huge areas of your rohe. I rarara ngā ringaringa raweke a te Karauna (The meddling hands of the Crown spread out).

The Crown apologises for the devastating long-term prejudice its acts, omissions and violations of Te Ōhākī Tapu nd te Tiriti have caused you. Ngāti Maniapoto did not receive the economic benefits from Te Ōhākī Tapu that the Crown had led you to expect. As a result, your hapū and whānau have faced significant socio-economic deprivation and lived in worse conditions than non-Māori. You were prevented from reaching your full social and economic potential and had to fight to maintain your Maniapoto identity and language. I rawa kore a Ngāti Maniapoto, I whara nui tō reo me ō tikanga (Ngāti Maniapoto were impoverished and your language and customs greatly affected).

The Crown broke your trust and the whakaoati made to your tūpuna.

The Crown now seeks to make amends for the wrongs it has committed against you. He rapu murunga hara tēnei (this is to seek atonement).

The Crown looks forward to the future and forging a renewed and enduring partnership with Ngāti Maniapoto in accordance with the spirit of Te Ōhākī Tapu and based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles. The Crown commits to working with you in good faith to revitalise and rebuild Ngāti Maniapoto me ōna hapū maha.

In the words of your great rangatira Te Wahanui:

Hanga paitia tatou kia piri ai ki te piringa pono.

Let us conduct ourselves in a proper way so that we may be bound together by a bond of faith.

Concluding remarks

The Crown will not forget the past or the breaches it committed against Maniapoto.

Today’s apology represents the beginning of the renewed partnership between Maniapoto and the Crown, based on mutual trust, co-operation and respect. A partnership that doesn’t neglect the past but that acknowledges it.

I am humbled to have delivered these words to you today. I know many of you will be thinking of those loved ones who were lost before they had a chance to hear the Crown apologise for its wrongdoing. I pay tribute to your tūpuna.

Today marks the start of the bright future Maniapoto has ahead. I look forward to seeing Ngāti Maniapoto continue to grow and develop a prosperous future for generations to come.

I would now like to present Maniapoto with a framed copy of the Crown apology. This gift represents the Crown’s renewed partnership with Maniapoto and the work it will do maintain your trust.

Nā reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.