Te Pire Haeata ki Parihaka (Parihaka Reconciliation Bill) passes first reading

  • Hon Kelvin Davis
Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti

The first reading of bill recording the history and legacy of Parihaka is an important step in righting past wrongs, Crown Māori/Relations Minster Kelvin Davis says.

Mr Davis said Parihaka has come to symbolise, for many New Zealanders, the most regrettable aspects of this country’s colonial history.

“The peaceful Parihaka community was invaded by colonial troops, its members attacked and imprisoned without trial. These actions were appalling and it has taken far too long to set things right.

“Last year the Government formally apologised for the Crown’s historic actions and today marks the next important step in the reconciliation process.

“As the Bill moves through Parliament we have the opportunity to reflect on what happened at Parihaka. We owe it to people before us and those to come to keep those stories alive so we never make those mistakes again.”

The Pire Haeata ki Parihaka Bill, drafted in both Te Reo Māori and English, records the elements of Te Kawenata ō Rongo (Deed of Reconciliation) signed at a ceremony at Parihaka on 9 June 2017.

It establishes the formal apology in law and records the Acts of Parliament which the Crown used in its attempts to end Parihaka’s resistance to the loss of their Taranaki lands.

“The Bill is designed to improve the understanding of Parihaka’s history, recognise the mana of the community, promote its legacy and enshrines the Crown’s commitment to a new relationship with Parihaka,” Mr Davis said.

“It is fitting that the authority of Parliament is now used to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and to place on the public record the legacy of Parihaka."

“Today would not have been achievable without Te Ururoa Flavell’s strong advocacy for Parihaka and Christopher Finlayson’s commitment to justice, which made this Bill and this reconciliation process possible. It’s an honour for me, as Crown/Māori Relations Minister, to carry this forward.” 

The bill has been referred to the Māori Affairs Committee.

Other elements of the deed of reconciliation, which are already operative and are not included in the bill, are:

  • a Parihaka-Crown leaders’ forum;
  • a relationship agreement with 10 agencies and 3 Taranaki local authorities; and
  • a $9 million contribution to Parihaka’s development.

A copy of the deed of reconciliation is available online at: https://www.justice.govt.nz/maori-land-treaty/parihaka-reconciliation/