26 Oct 2012

Legislation to restore mana of pardoned Maori leader

5:33 am on 26 October 2012

A Maori leader wrongfully convicted and executed for the murder of a missionary in 1866 is finally to have his mana restored by legislation.

Te Whakatohea Rangatira Mokomoko was hanged in Auckland and buried there, following his conviction for being involved in the murder of Reverend Carl Silvius Volkner.

In 1989 his remains were returned to Opotiki and three years later he was pardoned.

However the pardon fell short of restoring his character, mana and reputation and that of his descendants.

This is rectified by the Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana and Reputation) Bill, which passed its first reading in Parliament on Thursday morning.

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says the legislation enforces an agreement he signed with representatives of Te Whakatohea Rangatira Mokomoko's whanau last year.

"The bill is a sign of the Crown's commitment to restoring the relationship with the whanau by expressing its regret that the shame and stigma carried by the whanau was not remedied by the pardon provided in 1992."

The legislation does not prevent the whanau of Mokomoko from pursuing further claims under the Treaty of Waitangi.