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Minister pays tribute to Mokomoko whānau

Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Minister of Maori Affairs

28 June 2013

Media Release

Minister pays tribute to Mokomoko whānau

Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples paid tribute today to the descendants of Whakatohea Chief Mokomoko, as the Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana and Reputation) Bill returned to the House of Representatives from the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

Chief Mokomoko was tried and executed for his alleged role in the murder of Reverend Carl Volkner in Ōpōtiki in 1866. Seventy thousand hectares of land in the region were subsequently seized, and generations of the Mokomoko whānau have carried the stigma of bringing land confiscation or raupatu to the region. In 1992 Mokomoko was granted a free pardon, although Dr Sharples says it did not specifically restore his character, mana and reputation.

“History lives with us and is in our actions, our minds, our ambitions, and our aspirations,” said Dr Sharples.

“I sincerely hope this (Bill) will help lift the shame, the stigma, felt by the whānau, and be an important step towards restoring the relationship between the Crown and Te whānau a Mokomoko.”

The bill gives statutory recognition to an agreement signed with Te whānau a Mokomoko to rectify unresolved matters relating to the free pardon granted to Mokomoko in 1992.

“The whānau have shown fortitude and resilience in seeking remedy for the wrongs suffered by their tipuna. The return of this Bill to the House marks an important stage in this process of restoration for them”.

“Te whānau a Mokomoko members were not consulted on the wording of the 1992 free pardon, which compounded their original grievance rather than achieving its intended effect of restoring the character, mana, and reputation of Mokomoko and his whānau, who have been stigmatised for so long.

“This Bill is intended to correct those omissions and help to remove the shame experienced by the whānau. The whānau was consulted closely on the wording of the Bill. I am hopeful that it will go some way to resolving this deeply held grievance.”

Dr Sharples also applauded the whānau for their innovation and commitment to te reo Māori, as they have negotiated for the Mokomoko (Restoration of Character, Mana and Reputation) Bill to be enacted in te reo Māori and English. When passed, this will be the first time in New Zealand’s history that legislation has been enacted in Māori and English.

“I mihi to te whānau a Mokomoko for their courage and foresight in proposing to the Select Committee that the recognition for their tipuna be provided in Māori and English. This will be a first for our Parliament, to enact legislation in both Māori and English, and it is fortuitous that the Bill, in both languages, has been returned to the House on the eve of Māori Language Week” said Dr Sharples.

Dr Sharples said “In the past, legislation has been enacted in English and translated into Māori. This was a common practice in the 19th century. This will be, however, the first piece of legislation to be enacted in Māori and English when it has passed through its remaining Parliamentary stages. Currently, Parliament’s standing orders enable Members to conduct many aspects of the business of Parliament in Māori, if they choose. This is the next logical step, and I am proud to be part of it. I would also like to thank the Māori Affairs Select Committee for this important step they have taken”.


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