Māori war veterans still seeking justice

By Dean Nathan

The wars may have long passed but the fight of the war veterans and their families continues. Their issues are the subject of a meeting today in preparation for an upcoming hearing before the Waitangi Tribunal. 

Eric Albert says, "In Matauri Bay, 27 Māori from that area went to war.  One got a returned serviceman’s farm and then conscientious objectors tauiwi got the returned serviceman’s farms and it’s those anomalies that I'm disappointed with the government and with successive governments."

It’s alleged that Government made serious transgressions against the Treaty rights of Māori in the armed forces while they were in action overseas.

Pita Tipene says, "The soldiers knew they were fighting for King and Country, but while in action overseas their own lands at home were being swindled."

"Some returned from war to find their lands had be sold or given to non-Māori soldiers while in comparison Māori soldiers received next to nothing, so we're probing these issues," Tipene added.

In the house of Tūmatauenga (the God of War) the veterans prepare for a hearing of the Tribunal early next year that will include issues still affecting the families and descendants of those who went to war.