Friday, March 22, 2013

Mike Butler: Moon twists Urewera history again

Historian Paul Moon’s claims on TV3’s Third Degree show on Wednesday and in his New Zealand Herald column “The past must be remembered for us all” on Friday, that Tuhoe underwent “ethnic cleansing”, fails to remember key facts of our history. When questioned by Guyon Espiner for the Third Degree current affairs show about Tuhoe history, Moon said:

“The government confiscated land that was vital to the people’s survival. It imprisoned people without trial. In some cases, the bodies of Tuhoe killed by the Crown were desecrated. Crops were destroyed, animals killed. It was ethnic cleansing. The atrocities were made all the worse because these acts were committed by NZers against other NZers”.
Let us examine Moon’s statement. His closing remark was that “these acts were committed by New Zealanders against other New Zealanders”. But Tuhoe do not regard themselves as New Zealanders, according to a statement by an Urewera inhabitant elsewhere in the item, and struggle to identify as Maori.

How about Moon’s comment “it was ethnic cleansing”? The United Nations Commission of Experts, in a January 1993 report to the Security Council, defined “ethnic cleansing” as “rendering an area ethnically homogenous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.” It said ethnic cleansing was carried out in the former Yugoslavia by means of murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extrajudicial executions, rape and sexual assault, confinement of the civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property.

Was the Ureweras “rendered ethnically homogenous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area”? There is no evidence that Tuhoe were removed from the Ureweras by force or intimidation.

Government forces have entered the Ureweras on three occasions. Besides the arrests of 18 terrorism suspects by 300 armed police on October 15, 2007, 1300 government troops entered the Ureweras in 1869, and three contingents of armed police went there, April 2, 1916, to arrest the Maori messiah Rua Kenana.

The 1300-fighter force (including non-Maori and Maori) that advanced into the Ureweras from May 4 to May 18, 1869, went there to capture the renegade guerrilla fighter Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. Te Kooti had escaped from custody on the Chatham Islands on July 4, 1868, attacked the settlement of Matawhero on November 8, 1868, killing 70 people, including more than 20 Maori, withdrew to the Ureweras and gained a formal commitment from Tuhoe on March 20, 1869, raided the Whakatane area in March 1869, and attacked Mohaka on April 10, 1869, murdering men, woman, and children, both settlers and Maori.

Te Kooti was at war with the colonial government and Tuhoe supported and sheltered him. The destruction of crops and buildings was associated with this campaign. The only sign of an atrocity was at Mohaka in which, according to historian James Cowan, Tuhoe fighters were the main protagonists because they were ancient enemies of their largely Ngati Pahauwera victims.

The “confiscated land that was vital to the people’s survival” includes their best land confiscated in the Bay of Plenty after the murder of missionary Carl Volkner in 1865. Tuhoe cite this confiscation as a reason for supporting Te Kooti.

There is a lot more to the Tuhoe story, but Moon’s “ethnic cleansing” assertion has no foundation in fact, to the extent that I wondered whether Guyon Espiner asked Moon to say it for dramatic effect. After all, the item was a beat-up, with the only news being Tuhoe’s plans for a $15-million headquarters in the wilderness.

There was more Tuhoe news around at the time this current affairs clip was made, and that did not make it to this item. On the day Third Degree aired, the Whakatane Beacon published a report headlined “Tuhoe defend intimidation claims”.

Kruger, who is the chairman of Te Kotahi a Tuhoe, denied that there was anything to be concerned about after claims that 600 Tuhoe members intimidated voters at a hui where the Te Toi Kura trust sought a mandate to negotiate a Ngati Ruapani ki Waikaremoana settlement. At the hui, Tuhoe performed a haka calling for the killing of Tuhoe opposition, and a Ngati Ruapani aspirations document was burned. Kruger swore an affidavit that noted opposition at two meetings, one in Rotorua and one in Tuai, with strong opposition at Tuai.

Although Ngati Ruapani claims have been widely reported since Tuhoe’s $170-million settlement appeared likely, Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner did not bring this up in their supposed grilling of Kruger.

Instead, Espiner and Garner wanted to know whether Kruger thought it was good use of $15-million to build an elaborate headquarters in the remote interior. Kruger responded that they were using money from another settlement. What settlement was that? Tuhoe have benefited from three settlements.

Tuhoe received £100,000 in 1958 via the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 to settle unfinished business over Tuhoe contributing £20,000 worth of land for roading and the government failing to complete the road. The Act set up as the Tuhoe-Waikaremoana Maori Trust Board and the beneficiaries of the board were declared to be the persons to whom land was allotted under section 7 of the Urewera Lands Act 1921–22.

Tuhoe have fisheries quota. The tribe was allocated quota that was confirmed in the Maori Fisheries Act 2004 and receive a share of fisheries income. Tuhoe listed their population in 2004 at 29,726, according to schedule 3 of that Act, or 4.377 percent of total notional iwi population. Aotearoa Fisheries Limited and its subsidiary companies reported a net profit after tax of $17.1-million in the 2011-2012 year. Tuhoe received its share of the annual profit, plus its share of the $526-million allocated to iwi by March 31, 2012.

Tuhoe received a forestry windfall. The tribe was one of seven tribes to share in the 2007 Central North Island Forest Iwi Collective deal which transferred land worth $149.6-million, released forestry rentals worth $223-million that had been held in trust since 1989, and began an agreement that paid forestry rentals worth $13-million a year. Tuhoe would have received around $32-million in accumulated rentals in 2007, and receive an on-going annual forestry cash flow of around $2-million.

This all goes to show that Tuhoe are not the poor and downtrodden that the seriously run-down buildings shown in all television footage would lead you to believe. After all, the wobbling jelly bellies on display in numerous Tuhoe protest hakas show they are definitely not short of food.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on this article. Mike you have a very broad understanding of these kinds of issues. Your articles need more coverage so that the general public will become better informed and not so easily manipulated by the rhetoric of biased historians and TV journalists who are complicit in lopsided presentations.

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that a party of Tuhoe also fought against the Government in the Waikato (at Orakau) in Feb 1864 and were also involved with their Whakatahea allies in a battle against Te Arawa at Maketu in August the same year, whilst trying to head back to rejoin the Waikato war.
In terms of land confiscations according to the Royal Commission in 1926 (the Sims Report) Tuhoe had approximately 15,000 acres out of 1.25million acres confiscated. Hardly unreasonable given their aggressive behaviour.

Anonymous said...

It is also worth noting that Ngati Ruapani are taking a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, against the Crown for failing to protect them at the meetings where they claim they were intimidated by Tuhoe

There's no prizes for guessing what the outcome of Waitangi Tribunal's finding will be and you can guarantee we will soon be paying compensation to Ngati Ruapani.
Would it occur to anyone to deduct the compensation we will likely be paying from Tuhoe's treaty settlement?

Anonymous said...

Right on dude; imagine the headlines if the 'boys in blue' turned up before the hui started. lol
It is a pity this news wasn't reported as you say.
I don't know Tuhoe history but intimidation is intimidation no matter what went before it.
Appreciate NZCPR contributors views and blogger comments now that I no longer feel guilty as taught at school.

Ron Melville said...

Butlers assertion that Government troops entered the Ureweras on only three occasions is demonstrably wrong. In the period 1885/86 Government troops or Maori militia under Gov orders entered Te Urewera on at least 7 occasions.
Not all atrocities where incurred by Tuhoe. Ropata Wahawaha shot two prisoners one after the other in one of those invasions. Troops dug up burial grounds exposing bodies as well burning crops, houses, killing and displacing people. One wonders if these action were those of civilized people? Or had they become what they despised?

Novo said...

Eye opening article. If factual is Chris Finlayson ill-informed and who is advocating for the greater NZ.

Mike Butler said...

Ron Melville, why don't you list the dates that government forces went into the Ureweras with the reasons why they went in there.

Ron Melville said...

Yes quite happy to do that with the dates. In that period it was mostly troops looking for Kereopa Te Rau but I also included a Govt survey party, prior to confiscation, who also captured 30 Tuhoe prisioners. I'd call that a hostile invasion. And I haven't even got to the period of the invasions you mention or Ropata's invasion looking for Kereopa.

Mike Butler said...

And why were troops looking for Kereopa Te Rau?

Ron Melville said...

Are you now admitting they went into Te Urewera more than 3 times?
22 Oct 1865, McDonnell,enters upper Waimana with 240 men, looking for Kereopa on a tip off from Rahuraku, Tuhoe chief.
2 Jan 1866 Exploratory force entered Waikaremoana area from Wairoa.
10 Jan Fraser and Wahawaha,520 men entered Te Onepoto from Wairoa. Wahawaha with apparent sanction from Fraser shot 4 prisoners. Troops destroyed 10 villages, stole livestock, destroyed crops.
19 Mar 1866 Maori force led by Kopu & Whaanga, authorised by McLean entered upper Waiau.
24 Apr 1866 Govt survey party acting prior to confiscation entered upper Waiau. Prisioners taken, some sent to Chathams.
12 Feb 1866 Col Lyon with 267 men entered Rakurakus pa, Waimana Valley looking for Kereopa.
20 Apr 1866 Lyon, 100 men plus 50 Ngati Pukeko entered Ruatoki looking for Kereopa.
27 April 1866, Col St John with a regiment and Ngati Pukeko pushed up Whakatane River.
Here I've only covered the earlier invasions. Plenty more.
All sourced From 'Encircled Lands', Judith Binney, 2009.

Mike Butler said...

Yes, I have no problem with your timeline. I also note that the reason troops entered the Ureweras after March 1865 was to capture Kereopa Te Rau, the firebrand anti-government Pai Marire Hauhau leader who orchestrated the murder of Carl Volkner. What was a colonial government to do with a murderer on the loose and hostile Tuhoe sheltering him? Would you expect the government to let Kereopa go free and put up with Tuhoe attacks?

Anonymous said...

@Ron Melville

From my reading of the Urerewa campaigns it wasn't the British troops that dug up bodies and desecrated them but Te Kooti and his Tuhoe mates. There are stories in Elsden Best's and James Cowan's acoounts of the troops burying their dead and then lighting a fire over the top of the grave and cooking their food so as to disguise the grave to stop them being dug up again.
Don't believe everything Paul moon tells you.

Ron Melville said...

Hi Anonymous (a name would be good).
I do my own research on these subjects. Never relied on what Paul Moon said.
You are right it wasn't British troops it was Colonial Troops.
12 May 1869 Whitmores forces joined with St John's forces where they destroyed every kaianga, food source and shot the cattle. At Oputao they disinterred the cemetery and scattered the remains.
Quoting from 'Encircled Lands', Judith Binney 2009.

Anonymous said...

@ Ron Melville
Binney & Moon are like two peas in the same pod. Binney wrote that in 2009 does she reference the information? If so please advise what the reference is.

Anonymous said...

Here is a quote from James Cowan NZ Wars on the habit of digging up bodies for you. Happened before the 12th of May incident Binney mentioned (To date I haven't been able to confirm it even happened)
Does Binney mention this in her book?
"Captain Travers and his fallen comrades were buried on the 9th May just outside the front gateway of the pa, on the east-north-east side, facing the hills.

After the force left the district the Urewera disinterred the bodies, and, after their savage custom, decapitated them and decorated their palisade posts with the heads. When Captain Gilbert Mair and Captain Preece entered Ruatahuna with their Arawa column in 1871 they found some of the skulls stuck on the posts. That of Captain Travers, his old comrade Mair recognized by the gold-filled teeth.

Ron Melville said...

Judith Binney's works are well referenced and she is a recognised authority on Urewera and Tuhoe. You can check the referencing yourself. It may convince you.
To the second Anonymous poster (its a bit hard to tell whose who here). I have always said there were atrocities on both sides. My issue is some of the European side are akin to Halocaust deniers. The Maoris in those days were a savage race so had an excuse, the European side claimed to be civilized.

Ron Melville said...

Judith Binney quotes Cowan frequently. And yes, if my memory serves me correctly I think she does mention that incident. Why don't you get a copy of 'Encircled Land'. Its lengthy but a rewarding read.

Mike Butler said...

To Ron Melville, who said "the Maoris in those days were a savage race so had an excuse, the European side claimed to be civilized", that is the starting point of the Waitangi Tribunal's double standard. Instead of excusing 19th century Maori as savages and holding the government to 21st century liberal-left standards, thereby extracting compensation from the current government, a more honest and accurate approach would be to hold both sides, the post-treaty 19th century Maori and post-treaty 19th century colonial government, to the expected moral standard of that time.