TWM

1.4 Autonomy or Self-Government Destroyed
The following is an extract from the Waitangi Tribunal's Taranaki Claim Report.
 
COMMENT:  At the time of initiating war against Maori, Pakeha were a minority group - possibly 1-2% of the Maori majority. Through a combination of military force, deception, 'divide and rule' tactics, Pakeha settler government succeeded in overcoming Maori resistance. That fact may have been ignored by successive administrations, but not by Maori. If Pakeha (despite their minority status) believed they had the right to use force to overthrow the Maori majority then they should expect the same treatment from Maori.
It constitutes an irrefutable precedent that is central to the campaign for
Tino Rangatiratanga and restitution of stolen resources.
 
We see the claims as standing on two major foundations, land deprivation and disempowerment, with the latter being the main. By 'disempowerment', we mean the denigration and destruction of Maori autonomy or self-government.3  Extensive land loss and debilitating land reform would likely have been contained had Maori autonomy and authority been respected, as the Treaty required.
Maori autonomy is pivotal to the Treaty and to the partnership concept it entails. Its more particular recognition is article 2 of the Maori text. In our view, it is also the inherent right of peoples in their native territories. Further, it is the fundamental issue in the Taranaki claims and appears to be the issue most central to the affairs of colonised indigenes throughout the world.
The international term of 'aboriginal autonomy' or 'aboriginal self-government' describes the right of indigenes to constitutional status as first peoples, and their rights to manage their own policy, resources, and affairs, within minimum parameters necessary for the proper operation of the State. Equivalent Maori words are 'tino rangatiratanga', as used in the Treaty, and 'mana motuhake', as used since the 1860s.
The acquisition of Maori land in the pre-war purchase era falls foul of the autonomy principle. Questions arose as to which Maori owned what and who could effect a sale. The problem is not only that the Government's answers were wrong but that the Government presumed to decide the questions at all, for it is the right of peoples to deterrnine themselves such domestic matters as their own membership, leadership, and land entitlements.Remarkably, it was presumed that the Government could 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 custom by those who did not understand it but the introduction of a profoundly wrong process. The process, which still applies today, is one where decisions 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 traditions. Administrators, for example, may be proposed by landowners but have still to be approved by a court, whether or not there is a dispute.
The Government also determined the protocols and terms whereby Maori land might be bought and sold, when these were also matters that ought to have been mutually agreed. The Government's presumption in unilaterally determining these matters led directly to war, with consequential property loss and personal suffering. The option, never pursued, was to support or develop customary institutions to provide a negotiating face. Not only was that not pursued but it was opposed. Maori collectivities were branded as unlawful combinations; for without collectivity, the Government could divide and rule and Maori could not be strong.
The rhetorical question 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 from the leadership of Wiremu Kingi, Te Whiti, and the Maori King, was how the respective authorities of Maori and Pakeha were to be recognised and respected and the partnerships maintained. To the governors of the day, such a position was an invitation to war. To Maori, it was the only foundation for peace. It was peaceful purpose that the Maori leadership most consistently displayed.
This dichotomy of approach permeates all the claims. Through 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 destroy it.
The irony is that the need for mutual recognition had been seen at the very foundation of the State, when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. At no point of which we are aware, however, have Taranaki Maori retreated from their historical position on autonomous rights. Despite the vicissitudes of war and the damage caused by expropriation and tenure reform, their stand on autonomy has not changed. Nor can it, for it is that which all peoples in their native territories naturally possess. If the drive for autonomy is no longer there, then Maori have either ceased to exist as a people or have ceased to be free.

1.5 Muru
Few Maori have been as inhumanely penalised for standing by their rights as the Taranaki hapu. Perhaps this was because the war was not only longer there but more intense and severe and because, despite the marshalling of several thousand Irnperial troops, it was in Taranaki that a Maori ascendency was most maintained.
During its course, the war passed through stages of intensity characteristic of prolonged hostility. Chivalry gave way to attrition. Eventually, military expeditions traversed the length of Taranaki to destroy all homes and cultivations in the way. A cavalry charge on a party of boys, 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 emerged 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 beyond Taranaki to establish a pa near Whanganui, where settlers and soldiers had taken refuge. The anticipated attack on Whanganui never came. In 1869, 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. Never again did they raise arms in aggression; only in defence when pursued. They placed their faith instead in the pacifist prophets of Parihaka, Tohu, and Te Whiti, and even Titokowaru joined them. With more than 2000 adherents, the prophets developed new arts of cultivation and cultivated new arts of peace.
Accordingly, Taranaki Maori, unlike Maori of other places, do not use 'raupatu', or conquest, to describe confiscations resulting 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 of Maori after such prolonged and indeterminate warfare. Even in such high places as the superior New Zealand courts, Maori were characterised as 'savages' 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 commitment to pacifism for the previous 12 years meant sureties were not required.
Because of the independence Maon had shown in the war, 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 imprisoned. Such land as was returned from confiscation was broken into discrete parts and allocated to individuals in prescribed shares.
Maori protested but, true to a new policy of peace, did not resort to arms. Despite every provocation and dire consequence, they maintained peaceful roles. Protest came after no less than 12 years, when, with the whole of their lands confiscated and their habitations given over 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 soon spread throughout Taranaki.
They were no ordinary ploughmen who first took the field but the leading Taranaki chiefs, 'loyal' and 'rebel' alike. They disdained 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 ploughmen swelled the gaols of Dunedin, Lyttelton, Hokitika, and Mount Cook in Wellington. The Government was confronting organised and disciplined passive resistance and the dogma of moral right.
Again, no resistance was offered when the Armed Constabulary took possession of the remaining Maori land to divide and sell it for European settlement. Included was the very land that Maori were cultivating or had planted in crops and on which whole communities depended in order to survive. 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 were put up again. There was no violent response to the consequential cajoling and arrests. As happened with the ploughmen, new fencers replaced those who were incarcerated, until over 200 Taranaki fencers joined the ploughrnen in the South Island gaols.
Throughout this period, the rule of law and the civil and political rights of Taranaki Maori were suspended. By special legislation, all rights of trial were denied in all but 40 cases. Several hundred were sent to gaol for indefinite periods at the Governor's pleasure. This was well after the 'end of the wars' in 1869.
At all times the Maori protest had been peaceful, when eventually a force of 1589 soldiers invaded and sacked Parihaka, the prophets' home, dispersed its population of some 2000, and introduced passes to control Maori movements. This large and prosperous Maori settlement, 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 so.
When the cavalry approached, there were only two lines 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, despite the rape of women, theft of heirlooms and household property, buming of homes and crops, taking of stock, and forced transportations that ensued. There was no resistance again when Tohu and Te Whiti were imprisoned and charged with sedition. The prophets had only one question of their accusers: 'Had the people been shown their reserves?' To this, the answer could only have been 'no', for in truth none had been made. None had been made, though 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, marching throughout Taranaki so that a home might be found.
Then, when it appeared the charges of sedition might not be sustained against the prophets and the actions of the Armed Constabulary might be questioned instead, legislation was passed to make any action the soldiers had taken legal and beyond review. By the same legislation, the trial of Te Whiti and Tohu was terminated in order to avoid an acquittal and ensure their incarceration for as long as the Government might wish.
Only then were reserves made, years after they were due, 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 settlers on perpetual terms. Thus, the conflict has not ended in Taranaki. To this 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 hectare 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 base for Maori autonomy and representation. In the governance of the Taranaki province, since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, land has been reserved for the bush and the birds but not one acre could be guaranteed as a haven for Maori.
 
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