22 Jul 2013

Kuia says Tohunga Act damaged her mother

6:35 am on 22 July 2013

A Whangaroa kuia has told the Waitangi Tribunal the 1907 Tohunga Suppression Act had terrible consequences for her mother.

Ani Taniwha gave evidence this week at the Tribunal's Ngapuhi inquiry, Te Paparahi o Te Raki.

Mrs Taniwha said her mother could foresee the future, but her father feared she would be punished and tried to rid her of her gift, with help from the church.

She says her mother's abilities as a matakite or a visionary were misunderstood by health professionals and eventually she was committed to the psychiatric ward at Porirua Hospital.

Mrs Taniwha says her mother once warned her whanau to look after their land at Ngawha, now the site of a geothermal power station, because she foresaw something electrical being built there.

She said in the days gone by, people like her mother would be trained as tohunga and their gifts developed.