Apology and settlement for Parihaka sacking momentous

EDITORIAL

In the middle of a huge news week, one of the most significant events in New Zealand’s recent history, the apology by the Crown for the sacking of the Parihaka settlement, may have unfortunately been overshadowed.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson delivered an apology most feel is far too long delayed to the descendants of the victims of the Crown’s actions on November 5, 1881. In doing so he acknowledged that the community leaders Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai had a vision of “self determination, co-operation and peace” in their opposition to the illegal seizure of their lands. Pointedly he also apologised for rapes carried out by Crown troops, a significant first for a Crown apology.

There are so many aspects of the Parihaka situation that are deeply unpleasant. The troops were welcomed with songs from children and offers of bread. Instead their leaders were arrested and imprisoned and the settlement was sacked.

The Parihaka Trust will receive $9 million as part of a deed of reconciliation. The Waitangi Tribunal claim process was not involved because the recipients are from more than one iwi.

Money will never heal the hurt suffered by the descendants of the Parihaka people more than a century ago. Instead, all that can be hoped is that the apology can be a catalyst for them moving forward into a better future.

Perhaps it is not surprising that Parihaka did not get the attention it deserved in mainstream media during a week when world news was dominated by two major events, the British election and the sensational hearing around former FBI head James Comey.

Sport continued to hold centre stage in this country with the Lions rejuvenating their tour — or should that be taking it off life support — by beating the previously invincible Crusaders. The Americas Cup also stays firmly in the spotlight.

All of that also overshadows the efforts of New Zealand’s Michael Venus, whose win in the men’s doubles at the French Open was the country’s first grand slam title since 1979. Another long wait.

In the middle of a huge news week, one of the most significant events in New Zealand’s recent history, the apology by the Crown for the sacking of the Parihaka settlement, may have unfortunately been overshadowed.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson delivered an apology most feel is far too long delayed to the descendants of the victims of the Crown’s actions on November 5, 1881. In doing so he acknowledged that the community leaders Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai had a vision of “self determination, co-operation and peace” in their opposition to the illegal seizure of their lands. Pointedly he also apologised for rapes carried out by Crown troops, a significant first for a Crown apology.

There are so many aspects of the Parihaka situation that are deeply unpleasant. The troops were welcomed with songs from children and offers of bread. Instead their leaders were arrested and imprisoned and the settlement was sacked.

The Parihaka Trust will receive $9 million as part of a deed of reconciliation. The Waitangi Tribunal claim process was not involved because the recipients are from more than one iwi.

Money will never heal the hurt suffered by the descendants of the Parihaka people more than a century ago. Instead, all that can be hoped is that the apology can be a catalyst for them moving forward into a better future.

Perhaps it is not surprising that Parihaka did not get the attention it deserved in mainstream media during a week when world news was dominated by two major events, the British election and the sensational hearing around former FBI head James Comey.

Sport continued to hold centre stage in this country with the Lions rejuvenating their tour — or should that be taking it off life support — by beating the previously invincible Crusaders. The Americas Cup also stays firmly in the spotlight.

All of that also overshadows the efforts of New Zealand’s Michael Venus, whose win in the men’s doubles at the French Open was the country’s first grand slam title since 1979. Another long wait.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the new identity and wellbeing focus of Trust Tairawhiti (formerly Eastland Community Trust)?