Rua Kēnana's descendents gather for official pardon at Maungapōhatu

12:34 pm on 19 December 2019

Descendants of Tūhoe prophet Rua Kēnana are preparing for over 200 people guests to arrive at Maungapōhatu Marae for the official signing of the pardon bill.

Rua Kēnana, pictured about 1907, and Maungapōhatu Marae in 2016.

Rua Kēnana, pictured about 1907, and Maungapōhatu Marae in 2016. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library (Rua Kēnana) / Edward Gay

Over 100 years since he was wrongly convicted of moral resistance, the Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill has passed its second and third readings.

It is a bittersweet moment for Rua Kēnana's great great grandson and project manager for Ngā Toenga o ngā tamariki a Iharaira charitable trust, Nika Rua.

"Our moemoeā are finally becoming realised and this is a turning of a page in our history."

"There is a sense of grief, and hurt and mamae for those that began this journey with us and are no longer here."

He paid tribute to his aunty Kirituia Tumarae-Teka, who was determined to see the mana of Maungapōhatu restored, but passed away two years ago.

The descendants planned to return to their whenua in Te Urewera today, where preparations have been under way for the royal assent.

Rua Kēnana's great-great-great granddaugther Te Oriwa Hillman said she could not wait for the big day.

"It means everything because it was wrong of them to do that to him, because he never did anything wrong, so if they give us that pardon, and give him the apology he deserves, then that will mean everything to me."

Kura Rua, 75, is Kēnana's granddaughter and said the apology would provide some closure for her koro.

"He can lie back in his moenga now and [be] at peace - peace at long last."

Maungapōhatu kuia Kohinerakau Ki-Runga Taua agreed that it would see an end to their ancestors' pain.

"You can hear them crying from beyond, the spiritual realms, and hear the voices. That will come to an end Saturday ... and we can all move forward."

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy will be at Maungapōhatu marae to sign the bill into law.

It will be the first time this has taken place on a marae.

Māori King Tūheitia and other government ministers will also attend.

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