Taranaki tribe Ngāruahine have completed the final step of their treaty settlement process. As well as $67.5 million cash funds, an agreement was made for the Crown to apologise to the iwi for imprisoning their ancestors.
During the 1800s, Tirohanga Moana in Hokitika is where many of the ancestors of Taranaki and Ngāruahine were imprisoned by the Crown.
Poi and mourning wreaths were placed in front of the monument dedicated to two well-known Taranaki prophets, Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai. This is where the Crown's apology to Ngāruahine took place.
For over 130 years, Ngāruahine have been waiting to hear a formal apology.
Will Edward, Chairman of Te Korowai o Ngāruahine says, “The hurt, heartache, anger, and frustration was evident today. We have endured the pain through sweat and tears, and now we can move forward.”
405 Taranaki prisoners were exiled to the South Island in 1879. The majority of the group of prisoners were sent to Hokitika.
Omahuru Robinson, Chairman of Ngā Hapu o Ngāruahine Inc says, “Our ancestors were so brave. They stood for the right reasons against the Crown and their guns, but they were passive just like Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai and like Tītokowaru from Ngāruahinerangi. That's the path they chose, the end result was they were imprisoned.”
The beat of their poi is a tribute to their ancestors.
Omahuru Robinson says, “There were three songs. The first was 'Kī mai' like the chant used on the Aotea waka, then it was 'Pērā hoki' then it was 'Poua'. These songs were chanted during the confiscation of our land in Waitara and throughout Taranaki.”
After an emotional journey down to the West Coast, Ngāruahine will return home where discussions around the settlement of Mt Taranaki will take place.