Monday, June 10, 2013

Mike Butler: Tuhoe deal just? You decide

Were Tuhoe innocent victims of crafty colonisers or did their 19th century leaders make a series of bad choices that exposed their people to the sharp edge of the British Empire? This article compares some Office of Treaty Settlements rhetoric that alleges “Crown behaviour made a harmonious relationship with Tuhoe impossible” with historical fact.

The settlement, signed on June 4, 2013, includes Crown acknowledgements of breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles, a Crown Apology for those breaches, an agreed historical account of the relationship between the Crown and Tuhoe, redress relating to Te Urewera, Mana Motuhake redress incorporating a social service management plan for the Tuhoe district, and a financial and commercial redress package totaling $170-million.

This payment is on top of $60-million that Tuhoe received as part of the Central North Island forests collective settlement in 2008, and £100,000 received in 1958 as compensation for a road that was not completed.

Brimming with social justice fervour, Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said the "past breaches against Tuhoe are some of the worst in the story of our nation", and challenged critics by saying “if you have any questions about Tuhoe, go and read your history”. Finlayson utters the “worst in the story of our nation" line at every settlement signing.

Read the facts and decide whether those who claim to descend from the Tuhoe described here were entitled to the $170-million payout.

“Serious breaches by the Crown of its obligations.”
Obligations cut both ways but the Waitangi Tribunal rules as if the Crown alone is bound by obligations. Tuhoe did not sign the Treaty of Waitangi, argue that they were never presented with the opportunity to do so, and Tuhoe leaders acted as if they were not bound by the terms of the treaty. When Tuhoe and other tribes fought against the government, governments up to 1985 and tribes themselves regarded such actions as treaty breaches, excluding those tribes from the terms of the treaty.

Tuhoe were aware of the changes brought by the settler government. For instance, by 1848 many Urewera Maori, having heard of the high rate of wages paid at Auckland for Maori labour, had left the area to work on the public roads.

Tuhoe leaders chose to oppose the Pakeha government. Tuhoe chiefs were among the 37 tribes to give their allegiance to the Maori King at Pukawa on the shores of Lake Taupo in 1857. This was around the time that the Native Districts Regulation Act 1858 sought to provide for the limited introduction of British law into what were termed “native districts”.

Some Tuhoe (especially the Ruatahuna community) decided to send a fighting force to the Waikato in 1864, after an approach from Rewi Maniapoto of the Maori King movement. Some Tuhoe groups fought against the government at the Battle of Orakau, from March 31 to April 2, 1864, to be defeated with significant loss of life

Tuhoe further put themselves against the government when they sheltered the Pai Marire-Hauhau leader Kereopa Te Rau from June 1865 after the murder of missionary Carl Volkner in Opotiki.

Tuhoe–Ngai Tama chief Erueti Tamaikoha waged a guerilla campaign against soldiers and military settlers on Tuhoe confiscated lands that lasted several years from 1866.

The Ngati Ruapani–Tuhoe and Ngati Kahungunu people of Waikaremoana and upper Wairoa became involved in Hauhau hostilities from October 1866 as they sheltered refugees from the fighting in the Poverty Bay district. Government and pro-government Maori forces then subjected the upper Wairoa to an intense military campaign.

Tuhoe made a formal commitment to anti-government guerrilla leader Te Kooti at Tawhana, in the Waimana Valley, on March 20, 1869. Some Te Urewera tribes supported Te Kooti in an attack on Mohaka on April 10, 1869, where about 60 Maori and seven settlers were killed.

The 1927 Sim commission inquiry into land confiscations was instructed not to consider those who had rebelled and denied the authority of the Queen as having a claim to the benefits of the treaty. The Waitangi Tribunalreversed 120 years of government policy by extending the benefits of the Treaty of Waitangi to Tuhoe despite the fact that Tuhoe had never signed it and wilfully resisted the colonial government.

“Large-scale confiscation of the best land”
The Crown confiscated 448,000 acres of land in the eastern Bay of Plenty, on January 17, 1866, under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863. This involved 124,300 acres (50,300ha) of Tuhoe land, according to one calculation, or 59,655 acres (24,147ha) according to the Waitangi Tribunal. The Urewera district comprises 775,000 acres (313,631ha), according to the Waitangi Tribunal. The total population of the area was about 2100 people in 1841, with about 800 fighting men.

The confiscation was a consequence of the murder of Lutheran missionary Carl Volkner at Opotiki on March 2, 1865, by Pai Marire-Hauhaus under Kereopa Te Rau and Patara Raukatauri, the murder of James Te Mautaranui Fulloon and a seaman named Ned, , who were sent to investigate Volkner's murder, on July 22, 1865, and the subsequent warfare around Opotiki in September and October of that year.

Tuhoe deny involvement but in early 1865, before the Opotiki murders, Te Rau and Raukatauri converted a number of Urewera people at Tauaroa and at Te Whaiti, and a number of these converts went with Kereopa to Opotiki and were there during the killing of Volkner.

Kereopa and his party fled, in June 1865, to Urewera, where many had adopted Pai Marire-Hauhau teachings. A party comprised of Ngai Tuhoe, Whakatohea, Ngati Whare, and Ngati Haka Patuheuheu then joined Kereopa on a journey to Waikato, another staunchly anti-government area.

Tuhoe had only just won rights to the land that was confiscated in 1866 since they had battled Ngati Pukeko and Ngati Awa for 200 years to 1840 for a corridor to the sea. From 1824 to just before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Ruatoki–Waimana area was deserted – a “no-man’s land” controlled by Ngati Awa and Ngati Pukeko.

Tuhoe’s volatile relationship with the Government prejudiced their standing in the Compensation Court where claims of wrongful confiscation were adjudicated. The fact that Tuhoe had not “come in” to take an oath of allegiance, and ongoing participation by some Tuhoe hapu in guerilla activities, meant that they were to be largely ignored in arrangements concerning confiscated territories. Their claims were dismissed because of their participation in the defence of Orakau in 1864, their alleged participation in the killing of Volkner and the sheltering of Kereopa, and their illegal possession of firearms.

The only land in the confiscation district granted to Tuhoe individuals or hapu was 142 acres at Whakarae to Rakuraku Rehua and his hapu, and two one-rood sections in Opotiki to Eru Tamaikoha

“Brutal campaigns targeting Tuhoe settlements.”
Tuhoe appeared confident that their remote location would protect them from government incursions, but four such government incursions from 1869 to 1872 to capture proved otherwise. Government troops found the terrain tough so set about starving the elusive Te Kooti and his Tuhoe protectors out.

Three columns with a total force of 1300 men entered the Ureweras from May 4 to May 18, 1869. Pro-government Maori forces made the second Crown foray into the Ureweras from February to March 1870.

One leader of this force, Major Kemp, and Tamaikoha (a Tuhoe chief who did not support Te Kooti) made peace at Maungapohatu on March 10, although this peace was not recognised by Wahawaha or Native Minister Donald McLean.

An attack on a pa called Maraetahi, on March 25, where Te Kooti and his followers were entrenched resulted in about 300 prisoners being taken, and 19 summarily executed. Te Kooti escaped with about 20 or 30 followers.

A third Urewera expedition was mounted from April 6, 1870. Surrenders began as the cold, the attacks, and lack of food took its toll. A large party of Ngati Whare (23 men, and 22 women and children) surrendered to Captains Mair and Preece at Galatea on May 20, 19 men and 23 women and children of Ngati Haka Patuheuheu surrendered to Preece on June 7, and about 34 Ngati Ira submitted at Opotiki on June 17.

All the inland sub-groups of Tuhoe met at Ruatahuna on July 27, 1870, where two chiefs presented Tuhoe with the government terms for their surrender. Tuhoe had to leave the land, abandon their arms, and go to the coast. By doing this, they would be spared and the Government would take no more land. The confiscation line, however, would remain where it was. The chiefs were assured that they would not be treated as criminals (as Te Kooti and Kereopa would be).

Surrender meant taking the oath of allegiance and submitting to relocation. Those who surrendered were held at Te Putere, which consisted of 275 acres of confiscated land, located west of Whakatane. The main problem there was it was difficult to grow crops in the sandy soil, so surrendered Urewera people lacked food.

January 1871 saw the commencement of what was known as the fourth Urewera expedition, to target the epicentres of Tuhoe resistance at Ruatahuna and Maungapohatu.

Kereopa was handed over to Ropata Wahawaha in September 1871 and executed in Napier on January 5, 1872. Te Kooti passed back through Heruiwi, crossed the Rangitaiki River and the Kaingaroa Plains, and on May 15, 1872, forded the Waikato and entered Arowhenua, and safety. Te Kooti was later pardoned and lived a long life.

The so-called “brutal campaigns” were tough on both sides and the objective was to dislodge Te Kooti and Kereopa.

“Unjust land purchases.”
Land sales and purchases took place between willing sellers and buyers. Tuhoe were divided between older leading chiefs who set out the Tuhoe ban on roads, leasing, selling, magistrates, and the court, and another grouping, that seemed to have a more conciliatory attitude to the offers from the Government. A number were more than willing to lease or sell land, and that was exactly what they did.

Urewera tribes had set up a governing council of chiefs known as Te Whitu Tekau in November 1871. Like the Taranaki land league of about 14 years previous, and the Maori King movement, Te Whitu Tekau was resolute in its policy of opposing sales, leases, roads, the operation of the Native Land Court in its district, and surveys.

Tuhoe were under the impression that the Government had promised them the regulation of their affairs within their boundaries in return for handing in the fugitive Te Kooti who had sought sanctuary in the Ureweras.

Without getting into the ins and outs of Native Land Court hearings, which appeared more rigorous in determining land ownership than the Waitangi Tribunal appears in establishing the facts behind a claim, all 775,000 acres of Tuhoe land apart from the 40 or so blocks that remain in Maori freehold title and the 124,300 acres (50,300ha) around Opotiki, was SOLD.

“Important to settle genuine grievances.”
While there is no doubt Tuhoe have nursed grievances for 147 years, it appears the facts surrounded the incidents complained of differ from the handed-down oral histories that have morphed over time.

Guilt-ridden government bodies have accepted Tuhoe tales at face value and have handed over a huge amount of money in a move that would send many of those in those 19th century campaigns spinning in their graves.

Britain took control of New Zealand by occupation, treaty, proclamation and conquest. A more dispassionate look at the Tuhoe tale shows it is very much a story of conquest.

Rangahaua Whanui District 4 TE UREWERA report.


I.M Fletcher said...

So what is the takeaway? You think they deserve the compensation or no?

Anonymous said...

Of course they don't.

If you didn't sign the Treaty of Waitangi, how can you get a Treaty settlement?

Tuhoe brought it to the Crown, it got brung, and Tuhoe lost. They were then dealt with by Ngati Pakeha the same as they would have been had they been defeated by another Maori tribe: loss of land and loss of mana.

End of story!

Anonymous said...

"A lie will go halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its pants on" -- Winston Churchill

Wigger-in-Chief and Minister of Treaty Negotiations, Chris Finlayson (together with his mental-deficient advisers) clearly failed to ask the obvious question: “How can Tuhoe, who never signed the Treaty of Waitangi, qualify for a Treaty settlement?”

On behalf of the rest of us who are taxed to pay for the Tuhoe settlement, the Crown should have told Tuhoe to go see a taxidermist.

Mike Butler said...

A total of 772 Anti-government Maori were killed during the Hauhau wars (128 British/Colonists/Kupapa were killed), and 399 Anti-government Maori were killed during Te Kooti's war (212 British/Colonists/Kupapa). The facts of history remain unchanged. Financial redress will be paid. Tales of woe will continue. The "takeaway" that I.M. Fletcher is seeking, is that the treaty settlement process is government policy failure on a large scale.