Rua Kēnana pardon details released

  • Te Ururoa Flavell
Economic Development Maori Development

The Crown and descendants of Rua Kēnana and Ngā Toenga o ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me ngā uri o Maungapōhatu will sign the agreement at Maungapōhatu on Saturday 9 September which bring the statutory pardon a step closer to reality.

Mr Flavell and whānau of Rua Kēnana met in Rotorua today ahead of the historic signing to outline details of the agreement.

“The agreement contains much more than the pardon. It acknowledges the lasting effects the events 2 April 1916 had on the descendants of Rua Kēnana and Ngā Toenga o ngā Tamariki a Iharaira and apologises for that,” says Mr Flavell.

“It is what his uri and followers of the Iharaira faith deserve. It goes some way to putting right a wrong from a century ago.”

The Agreement notes the Crown’s intention to introduce legislation to provide:

·         a summary of the circumstances around the 1916 invasion of Maungapōhatu;

·         Crown acknowledgements to the descendants of Rua Kēnana and Ngā Toenga o ngā Tamariki a Iharaira;

·         a Crown apology to the descendants of Rua Kēnana and Ngā Toenga o ngā Tamariki; 

·         a pardon to Rua Kēnana for the conviction he sustained for moral resistance to arrest; and

·         a declaration to restore the character, mana and reputation of Rua Kēnana, his uri (descendants), and Ngā Toenga o ngā Tamariki a Iharaira.

The statutory pardon for Rua Kēnana will not be made official until legislation enacting the terms of the agreement is passed by Parliament. It is a pardon for the criminal conviction.

Once passed into law the statutory pardon will be only the fourth arising from Crown-Māori relations.

In 1988, those of Ngāti Awa descent who were arrested, tried and labelled as rebels in or about 1865, received a statutory pardon in the Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Act; in 2013, Mokomoko received statutory recognition of a previous Royal Prerogative of Mercy pardon for his involvement in the murder of

missionary Carl Volkner in 1865, and in 2014, Kereopa Te Rau also received a statutory pardon for his role in the murder of Reverend Volkner through the Treaty settlement with Ngāti Rangiwewehi.

Background: On 2 April, 1916, a contingent of 70 armed police invaded Maungapōhatu to arrest Tūhoe prophet and leader Rua Kēnana. In an exchange of gunfire, his son Toko Rua and Te Maipi Te Whiu were killed and other Māori and four police were injured.

Charges laid against Rua Kēnana over the invasion were either dismissed or resulted in his acquittal, but he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on an earlier charge of “moral resistance”. The Iharaira faith went into decline after the events and has never fully recovered.

The Waitangi Tribunal in 2012 determined that excessive force was used in the arrest of Rua Kēnana and it was unlawfully carried out as it was on a Sunday.