|We see the claims as standing on two major
deprivation and disempowerment, with the latter being the
By 'disempowerment', we mean the denigration and destruction of Maori
or self-government.3 Extensive land loss and debilitating land
would likely have been contained had Maori autonomy and authority been
respected, as the Treaty required.
Maori autonomy is
to the Treaty and to the partnership concept it entails. Its more
recognition is article 2 of the Maori text. In our view, it is
inherent right of peoples in their native territories. Further, it
is the fundamental issue in the Taranaki claims and appears to be the
most central to the affairs of colonised indigenes throughout the world.
The international term of 'aboriginal
'aboriginal self-government' describes the right of indigenes to
status as first peoples, and their rights to manage their own policy,
and affairs, within minimum parameters necessary for the proper
of the State. Equivalent Maori words are 'tino
rangatiratanga', as used in the Treaty, and 'mana motuhake', as
since the 1860s.
The acquisition of Maori land in the pre-war
era falls foul of the autonomy principle. Questions arose
to which Maori owned what and who could effect a sale. The problem is
only that the Government's answers were wrong but that the Government
to decide the questions at all, for it is the right of peoples to
themselves such domestic matters as their own membership, leadership,
land entitlements.Remarkably, it was presumed that the Government
determine matters of Maori custom and polity better than Maori and that
it should have the exclusive right to rule on what Maori custom meant.
The result was not only the distortion of Maori
by those who did not understand it but the introduction of a
wrong process. The process, which still applies today, is one where
particular to Maori are made not by Maori but on their behalf, even
in the administration of their land or in the application of their
Administrators, for example, may be proposed by landowners but have
to be approved by a court, whether or not there is a dispute.
The Government also determined the protocols
whereby Maori land might be bought and sold, when these were also
that ought to have been mutually agreed. The Government's
in unilaterally determining these matters led directly to war, with
consequential property loss and personal suffering. The option, never
was to support or develop customary institutions to provide a
face. Not only was that not pursued but it was opposed. Maori
were branded as unlawful combinations; for without collectivity, the
could divide and rule and Maori could not be strong.
in the Government's eyes was, 'whose authority should prevail, that of
Maori or that of the Queen?' The question in Maori eyes, as evidenced
the leadership of Wiremu Kingi, Te Whiti, and the Maori King, was how
respective authorities of Maori and Pakeha were to be recognised and
and the partnerships maintained. To the governors of the day, such a
was an invitation to war. To Maori, it was the only foundation for
It was peaceful purpose that the Maori leadership most consistently
This dichotomy of approach permeates all the
war, protest, and petition, the single thread that most illuminates
the historical fabric of Maori and Pakeha contact has been the Maori
determination to maintain Maori autonomy and the Government's desire to
The irony is that the need for mutual
had been seen at the very foundation of the State, when the Treaty of
was signed. At no point of which we are aware, however, have
Maori retreated from their historical position on autonomous rights.
the vicissitudes of war and the damage caused by expropriation and
reform, their stand on autonomy has not changed. Nor can it, for it is
that which all peoples in their native territories naturally possess.
the drive for autonomy is no longer there, then Maori have either
to exist as a people or have ceased to be free.
Few Maori have been as inhumanely penalised
by their rights as the Taranaki hapu. Perhaps this was because the
was not only longer there but more intense and severe and because,
the marshalling of several thousand Irnperial troops, it was in
that a Maori ascendency was most maintained.
During its course, the war passed through stages
characteristic of prolonged hostility. Chivalry gave way to attrition.
Eventually, military expeditions traversed the length of Taranaki to
all homes and cultivations in the way. A cavalry charge on a party of
all under 13, that killed eight was indicative of the growing excesses
perpetrated by both sides and the developing climate of fear.
Then, in the last year of the wars, Titokowaru
from the slopes of Taranaki mountain to clear the land of all soldiers
and settlers for a distance of over 40 miles. With a taua of over 1000,
larger than any that local leaders had assembled before, he pushed
Taranaki to establish a pa near Whanganui, where settlers and soldiers
had taken refuge. The anticipated attack on Whanganui never came. In
while flushed with victory, and for reasons that have never been clear,
Titokowaru and his forces packed up and left.
That is how Taranaki Maori ended their fighting.
again did they raise arms in aggression; only in defence when pursued.
They placed their faith instead in the pacifist prophets of Parihaka,
and Te Whiti, and even Titokowaru joined them. With more than 2000
the prophets developed new arts of cultivation and cultivated new arts
Accordingly, Taranaki Maori, unlike Maori of
do not use 'raupatu', or conquest, to describe confiscations
from war. They use 'raupatu' for their marginalisation by the organs of
the State, for on this view, they were never conquered by the sword but
were taken by the pen.
There was, however, no end to the dread and fear
after such prolonged and indeterminate warfare. Even in such high
as the superior New Zealand courts, Maori were characterised as
and 'primitive barbarians'. Titokowaru was especially feared. Once all
chance of overt war had passed, he was to be thrice imprisoned for long
terms. Mainly, he was held for failing to produce sureties to keep the
peace, for sums too large for any Maori to find; but in our view, his
to pacifism for the previous 12 years meant sureties were not required.
Because of the independence Maon had shown in the
the Government made efforts to deprive Maori not only of their land but
of all by which their traditional autonomy had been sustained. Dialogue
with established leaders was declined and they were ignored or
Such land as was returned from confiscation was broken into discrete
and allocated to individuals in prescribed shares.
Maori protested but, true to a new policy of
not resort to arms. Despite every provocation and dire consequence,
maintained peaceful roles. Protest came after no less than 12 years,
with the whole of their lands confiscated and their habitations given
to settlers, they were still waiting for promised reserves. The protest
that then came took the form not of arms but of ploughing settler land.
The weapon was the tool of peace - the ploughshare. Protest ploughing
spread throughout Taranaki.
They were no ordinary ploughmen who first took
but the leading Taranaki chiefs, 'loyal' and 'rebel' alike. They
all threats that they and their horses would be shot, and they gave no
resistance when surrounded. As the ploughrnen were arrested, Titokowaru
among the first, others took their place, until over 400 Taranaki
swelled the gaols of Dunedin, Lyttelton, Hokitika, and Mount Cook in
The Government was confronting organised and disciplined passive
and the dogma of moral right.
Again, no resistance was offered when the Armed
took possession of the remaining Maori land to divide and sell it for
settlement. Included was the very land that Maori were cultivating or
planted in crops and on which whole communities depended in order to
When the army broke fences and the crops were exposed to destruction as
a result, Maori simply re-erected them. As they were torn down, they
put up again. There was no violent response to the consequential
and arrests. As happened with the ploughmen, new fencers replaced those
who were incarcerated, until over 200 Taranaki fencers joined the
in the South Island gaols.
Throughout this period, the rule of law and
and political rights of Taranaki Maori were suspended. By special
all rights of trial were denied in all but 40 cases. Several hundred
sent to gaol for indefinite periods at the Governor's pleasure. This
well after the 'end of the wars' in 1869.
At all times the Maori protest had been peaceful,
eventually a force of 1589 soldiers invaded and sacked Parihaka,
the prophets' home, dispersed its population of some 2000, and
passes to control Maori movements. This large and prosperous Maori
rumoured to have been preparing for war, had not one fortification, nor
was there any serious show of arms. That was a fact the Govermnent knew
full well before the invasion began. There were official reports to say
When the cavalry approached, there were only two
of defence; the first, a chorus of 200 boys, the second, a chanting of
girls. On Te Whiti's clear orders, there was no recourse to arms,
the rape of women, theft of heirlooms and household property, buming of
homes and crops, taking of stock, and forced transportations that
There was no resistance again when Tohu and Te Whiti were imprisoned
charged with sedition. The prophets had only one question of their
'Had the people been shown their reserves?' To this, the answer could
have been 'no', for in truth none had been made. None had been made,
l9 years had by then elapsed since the whole ofthe Maori land had been
confiscated and settled, with promises that reserves for Maori would be
provided. A section of the dispersed people began marching the land,
throughout Taranaki so that a home might be found.
Then, when it appeared the charges of sedition
not be sustained against the prophets and the actions of the Armed
might be questioned instead, legislation was passed to make any
the soldiers had taken legal and beyond review. By the same
the trial of Te Whiti and Tohu was terminated in order to avoid an
and ensure their incarceration for as long as the Government might wish.
Only then were reserves made, years after they
but as if to ensure that several hapu would be scattered to the winds,
most reserves were held back from their possession, to be leased to
on perpetual terms. Thus, the conflict has not ended in Taranaki. To
day, Maori have still to receive the lands that were their minimal due
in terms of the promises of that war.
It is a further consequence of this extraordinary
record of expropriation and deprivation that there is not one
of Taranaki land that is now held entirely on Maori terms and by Maori
rules. All that could have been done was done to destroy the land
for Maori autonomy and representation. In the governance of the
province, since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, land has been
for the bush and the birds but not one acre could be guaranteed as a
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