Prophet Rua Kenana gets his pardon but for the family it was bittersweet

By Taroi Black

Despite the efforts of the Crown to hold an apology day for Tūhoe and pardon Rua Kenana's name of false charges, his descendants say the event was bitter sweet.

As Taroi Black reports, some questioned where Pākēhā members of the Crown were today.

The historic agreement brought closure to 101 years of conflict between Tūhoe and the Crown. 

Historian Pou Temara says, "Now we can move on from the atrocities of 1916. Our hapū of Tamakaimoana can move positively forward as well as followers of the Iharaira faith."

However, the memory of the 1916 invasion of Maungapohatu is still fresh in people's minds with descendants of Rua Kenana looking to move forward.

One of Rua Kenana’s descendants Dan Hiramana Rua says, "I'm a little concerned in regards to today knowing that the Minister Te Ururoa was here to do the Crown’s work when really it should be the Minister of Treaty Settlements, Finlayson."

Kīngitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa says the Crown still needs to be present at occasions like these.

Minister for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell responded by saying, "That's what the family wanted despite things not going to plan. I think it's best that the Crown attend important matters like this."

The agreement sees a legislation that shows the Crown's acknowledgement of the invasion of Maungapohatu leading to bloodshed and the arrest of Rua Kenana.

Flavell says, "Last year at this marae, people were speaking out in regards to removing the stigma that has haunted this iwi for so long which is why I am here on behalf of the Crown so that they can move forward."

Moving forward, Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne also wants to see ends meet for both Māori and Pākehā.

Mayor Tony Bonne says, "Well it’s basically recognising what has happened in the past and they can get their apology and for me it is actually working with them to move forward because yes, there has been a lot of things done wrong in the past and we're going through an era where we're recognising those and then we have to move forward as one people."