Haane Manahi Victoria Cross Claim
Preliminary Report on the Haane Manahi Victoria Cross Claim
The Waitangi Tribunal today released a preliminary report on the Haane Manahi Victoria Cross Claim as part of its Central North Island inquiry. The claim filed on behalf of Te Arawa in 2000 concerns the recommendation of an award for a Victoria Cross to Lance-Sergeant Haane Mahani for his bravery and leadership at the Battle of Takrouna in 1943. The recommendation was changed, for reasons unknown, and a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) was awarded instead.
The Tribunal heard the claim at Te Papaiouru Marae, Ohinemutu, in May 2005 and acknowledged that a sense of grievance was shared by the whole of Te Arawa, and also by the wider community (both Pakeha and Maori) as represented by the Returned Services Association.
The Tribunal did not make findings or recommendations on this claim, but suggested a path forward to resolve the matter.
It was noted that the claimants can take heart from the Crown's public acknowledgement, during the inquiry, of Haane Manahi's bravery.
The Tribunal also suggested that the Crown and the Manahi VC Committee work together on a joint submission to provide the basis for a formal approach to the Palace, following an informal approach if convention requires it. If this suggestion is not followed, the Tribunal may need to consider whether a Treaty breach has taken place, but trusts that this will not be needed. If an approach by the parties is unsuccessful, the Tribunal may need to consider the ramifications of this.
The Tribunal suggested that the Crown facilitate a joint research effort with the Manahi VC Committee, to assist with the preparation of any future agreed submission to the Palace. A joint publication of research efforts in a memorial booklet might also assist with the recognition that both Te Arawa and the Crown agree is due to Lance-Sergeant Manahi.