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The Crown has signed a Deed of Reconciliation with the Parihaka community in a ceremony held at Parihaka, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

“In the second half of the 19th century, the Crown devastated Parihaka which at the time was the largest community in Taranaki and a centre for peaceful protest.

“It is important the Crown apologise directly to the people of Parihaka for the actions it committed almost 140 years ago so we can begin to look forward to a new era of collaboration.”

The Crown’s failings included:

imprisoning 405 Parihaka residents for their participation in the peaceful ploughing and fencing campaigns of 1879 and 1880 and promoting laws that breached natural justice by holding those protestors in jails without trial; invading Parihaka in November 1881, forcibly evicting many people who had sought refuge there, dismantling and desecrating homes and sacred buildings, stealing heirlooms and systematically destroying cultivations and livestock; and arresting and detaining Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, the leaders of Parihaka, for 16 months without trial.

“Basic requirements of natural justice and the rule of law (which are the birthright of all New Zealanders) were denied to our citizens at Parihaka and they were left without any legal remedy,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Signing this Deed of Reconciliation is a significant milestone for the Crown, Parihaka, the iwi and community of Taranaki and many others who believe in Parihaka’s legacy of peace.

“The Crown has previously acknowledged and apologised to iwi of Taranaki, through individual Treaty settlements, for the treatment of their tupuna who were at Parihaka but today’s ceremony is for the community as a whole.”

The Deed provides for a Crown support package of $9 million to assist Parihaka to strengthen its infrastructure and help the community achieve its aspirations. It also includes an agreement with Crown agencies and local authorities to work with Parihaka on development initiatives.

Legislation will be introduced to record the history of Parihaka, the Crown’s apology and the commitment to a new relationship between Parihaka and the Crown.

Parihaka is located in South Taranaki.  It is closely affiliated to Taranaki Iwi and has connections with other iwi whose members sought sanctuary from conflict there. Parihaka is also connected with peace movements both in New Zealand and overseas.  

A copy of the Deed of Reconciliation is available online at: https://justice.govt.nz/maori-land-treaty/parihaka-reconciliation/

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