25 May 2017

Govt to apologise for Parihaka atrocities

4:10 pm on 25 May 2017

The Crown is to formally apologise for atrocities during the sacking of the pacifist settlement at Parihaka in Taranaki in 1881.

Parihaka Pa, circa 1900, with Mount Taranaki - taken by an unidentified photographer.

Parihaka Pa, circa 1900, with Mount Taranaki - taken by an unidentified photographer. Photo: Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand / Ref 1/2-056542-F, Alexander Turnbull Library, http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23078293

The Parihaka Papakainga Trust has agreed to a reconciliation package that will be signed during a ceremony at the settlement on 9 June.

The package includes $9 million, which the trust initially rejected as being not enough.

It also includes help in establishing a governance structure, the creation of an intellectual property framework and deals for services from 10 Crown agencies and three local councils.

Puna Wano-Bryant, who chairs the trust, said this had been a long time coming.

"It's been many, many years in the making of Parihaka and the Crown working towards an agreement, what we've called it is a process of reconciliation addressing the hurts and grievances of the past but looking more into the future, our relationship in the future."

In the 1870s, under the leadership of Te Whiti-o-Rongomai III and Tohu Kākahi, Parihaka became a centre of non-violent resistance to land confiscation.

In 1880 the government began building roads through land it had confiscated, and the West Coast Commission recommended creating reserves for the Parihaka people.

The people were imprisoned if they rebuilt fences in the areas, but were released in early 1881.

About 1600 government troops invaded the settlement on 5 November 1881, and the village was destroyed while several thousand Māori sat quietly.

Its leaders were arrested and detained without trial for 16 months.

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