Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, alongside Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little, has delivered the Crown Apology to Maniapoto for its historic breaches of Te Tiriti of Waitangi.
The ceremony was held at Te Kūiti Pā, hosted by Ngāti Maniapoto with an estimated 3,000 in attendance.
In recognition of the event Maniapoto named today ‘Te Rangiwaituhi’ (Maniapoto Deed of Settlement Ceremony) and The Prime Minister and Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister also unveiled a plaque.
“This is a momentous occasion for both Maniapoto and the Crown and marks the beginning of a renewed relationship,” Ms Ardern said.
“The Crown is truly sorry for its many breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and profoundly regrets its horrific and needless acts of war against Maniapoto.
“The Crown commits to working with you in good faith to revitalise and rebuild Ngāti Maniapoto.
“Today’s apology represents the beginning of the renewed partnership between Maniapoto and the Crown, based on mutual trust, co-operation and respect. A partnership that doesn’t neglect the past but that acknowledges it.”
Minister Little said that when Maniapoto rangatira signed the Treaty in 1840, they expected to build a partnership with the Crown – an expectation reinforced in the 1880s through a series of agreements between the iwi and the Crown called the Ōhākī Tapu.
“But for more than a century after this, the Crown repeatedly broke the promises it made leading to devastating loss of life and land, and social and economic deprivation,” he said.
“Te Rangiwaituhi marks a day of restoration, partnership and heralds a new beginning in realising the promises made to Maniapoto in 1840. I hope that through the apology we can lay the groundwork for a new partnership to provide for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Maniapoto.”
The ceremony follows a two-day 150th anniversary celebration of the whare tupuna, Te Tokanganui ā-Noho, built in gratitude by Ringatū prophet Te Kooti for Maniapoto who provided him shelter in 1872 following the New Zealand Wars conflicts.
Maniapoto is based in Te Rohe Pōtae (the King Country), in and around Te Kūiti, Mōkau, Ōtorohanga, Te Awamutu, and Kāwhia. Their area of interest extends out to the marine environment and part of the exclusive economic zone. Maniapoto has an estimated population of 45,930 members (2018 census).