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Catherine Delahunty speaks on the Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana, and Reputation) Bill - Second reading

Catherine Delahunty MP
catherine [dot] delahunty [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
But the Greens would also just like to say that we believe that the name Mokomoko shall never be forgotten and will always stand for a reminder of the need for justice not only to be done but to be seen to be done throughout the generations.
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CATHERINE DELAHUNTY (Green) : Tēnā koe, Mr Deputy Speaker.

It is a great privilege to have spoken on the first reading of the bill and to acknowledge the whānau and the long moments that have led to this moment since the terrible act in 1866. I also acknowledge the issues in 1992 when a first but not sufficiently consultative attempt at redress and apology was made. I also acknowledge the importance of the bill before us today. The Māori Affairs Committee has obviously done good work and is on board. Tau Henare said maybe 90 percent of what was asked for by the whānau is included.

The recognition of Mokomoko is more than a heartbreaking story of the hurt and pain of a whānau that led to an unjust hanging and raupatu of 490,000 hectares of Whakatōhea land because Mokomoko was falsely accused of what happened between Völkner and Kereopa and others. As a strictly non-historical expert, I would like to acknowledge some of the possible context for the actions of Kereopa Te Rau of Ngāti Rangiwewehi, who was not from Ōpōtiki but who had suffered from the actions of the Crown in 1864 in a manner that drove peace and the philosophies of Paimarire from his heart.

We have already heard this morning about the burning and bayoneting of the women in the church at Rangiaowhia in 1864, including the burning of Kereopa's daughters, and, some have also said, of his hoa rangatira and, a few days later, his sister. This terrible act in 1864 by the troops of General Cameron, who refused to accept that the church was a sanctuary, possibly led to Völkner's murder in the church at Ōpōtiki. But what makes it so much worse is that all of this tragic violence was then compounded by a guilty State deciding to kill an innocent man and stigmatise his descendants. It took the opportunity to confiscate the land, and so it has stood until today.

But today, at least, the manner of Mokomoko's death is being acknowledged, and the mana of Mokomoko has been re-examined and recognised, and his status as an innocent and proud rangatira upheld. The Green Party is more than happy to support this bill and any future bills that shed light on injustice and unfinished business. We particularly acknowledge the leadership of the whānau in demanding that Te Reo Māori was the language of the bill, and that is great leadership for our House and for the future. I am very appreciative of that effort. It is so important that we keep moving.

We do not believe in using the word "final" around these laws because, with the best will in the world, each generation has limited knowledge and tools at its disposal. As new information, hurts, or creative opportunities evolve around best practice in terms of this truth and reconciliation around Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we believe that Parliament has an obligation to review the past—that is why this bill is so important—and to look at redress in terms of the inherent justice and fairness at every stage. Te Tiriti issues need to be looked at in terms of consistency and best practice over time, and mistakes like this one need to be rectified, as we do not need to compound our hurts. When we are not returning whenua and when life cannot be returned, the least we can do is to be sorry and to say sorry as wholeheartedly as we can.

But the Greens would also just like to say that we believe that the name Mokomoko shall never be forgotten and will always stand for a reminder of the need for justice not only to be done but to be seen to be done throughout the generations.

Tēnā koutou katoa.

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