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History made as Rua Kēnana vindicated

After 103 years Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu Charitable Trust have cleared the name of their tupuna Rua Kēnana of a criminal conviction in 1916.

Rua Kēnana is the sixth recipient to receive a statutory pardon in New Zealand and the fourth arising from Crown-Māori relations.

Acknowledging the long and intergenerational journey for ngā uri o Maungapōhatu to seek justice, Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says that this is a momentous occasion for Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Today we signed a new piece of legislation that officially recognises the deep hurt, shame, and stigma that was suffered as a result of the invasion here at Maungapōhatu on April 1916, restoring the character, mana, and reputation of Rua Kēnana and his descendants which is quite unique to our country,” says Nanaia Mahuta.

“There have only been four other statutory pardons that have been achieved in Aotearoa which has arisen as part of the Crown-Māori relations, it’s a sign of our progress as a nation to be able to look at the ugly parts of our history and be mature enough to be able to correct historical wrongs.

“For ngā uri o Maungapōhatu they have long lived and suffered from the effects of the invasion of their sacred maunga and never truly recovered from these atrocities. They have shown great tenacity, resilience and courage over the century-long process to pursue a pardon and today is the end of this process for them.”

In a first-time in the history of legislation the Royal Assent was given by the Governor General at Maungapōhatu marae in front of hundreds who gathered to witness the occasion.

Minister Mahuta says Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu should be proud of their work over multiple generations to clear the name of their ancestor.

“There is no greater honour that you can give your tupuna, than vindication for an act that he did not commit, for an act he was incorrectly imprisoned for and the atrocities that took place at a site of cultural significance.

“This I hope will bring closure for all those people who first pursued this pardon and will enable the whānau to move forward to take a step further towards reconciliation,” Minister Mahuta says.

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