Abolish the Waitangi Tribunal.

Over the years the Waitangi Tribunal has developed into a racist and biased body that accepts false versions of history based on hearsay and even story-telling so as to establish a “grievance” that is then “compensated” by millions of taxpayer dollars.

The Tribunal is racist in that it can hear only grievances from Maoris. The descendants of settlers in places like Taranaki, whose houses were burned by rebel Maori, their stock destroyed and, in some cases, family members murdered, have no standing with the Tribunal. Instead it recommends grants on spurious grounds to such people as the descendants/tribe of Te Kooti for “loss of his good name” when, on the night of 9-10 November, 1868, he and his fellow Hauhau terrorists crossed a ford on the Waipaoa River, near Gisborne, and rode into Matawhero, murdering by bayonet, tomahawk and patu (stone club) 33 European settlers, their children and 37 friendly Maori. In the words of James Cowan, the leading historian of the New Zealand wars, “The place (Matawhero) was ablaze with burning homes, and the blood maddened Hauhaus were galloping over the country, shooting indiscriminately, looting and destroying….The various raiding parties united at Patutahi, after sweeping all life from Matawhero, Makaraka, Repongaere, Makauri and other settlements” (“The New Zealand Wars” Vol II, Page 268) Five months later – 10th April, 1869, Te Kooti attacked nearby Mohaka, killing seven Europeans and forty friendly Maori. And yet the Waitangi Tribunal recommended – and the government,  accepted – that the loss of the “good name” of Te Kooti, the second worst murderer in our post-1840 history after Te Rauparaha, should be “compensated” by $250,000 of your money, along with vesting of the Matawhero Reserve in the tribe’s name.

To get some idea of the Tribunal’s bias, hysteria and sense of unreality, one needs only recall that in its 1996 interim Taranaki report it referred to the government’s necessary takeover of the vermin infested settlement of Parihaka in the following terms, “The invasion and sacking of Parihaka must rank with the most heinous actions of any government in the last century (Referring to the 1800s)” This has given rise to allegations that Parihaka was a “holocaust”.

 By 1840 there were only about 150 Maori left in Taranaki. One third had been killed by invading Waikato tribes, another third had been taken back to the Waikato as slaves while the remaining third had fled to the Wellington area. Of this last lot some 900 of them invaded the Chatham Islands in 1835, killing and all but exterminating the peaceful Moriori who were living there. In the wake of the peace that was brought about by the Treaty of Waitangi the Maori who had fled started to drift back to Taranaki, adding to the confusion of who owned the land, with the result that the British had to pay for some pieces of land four times over.

 After Wiremu Kingi’s rebellion in Taranaki was put down with considerable loss of life some of the rebels’ land was confiscated as a punishment for rebelling against the State. The rebels had been warned that this would happen and confiscations were in accordance with their own practice, as demonstrated in the Chatham Islands and elsewhere. According to Sir Apirana Ngata, the greatest Maori scholar, these confiscations were not in breach of the treaty and were accepted under the Maori concept of utu. Pre-1840 the fate of a losing side in war would have been much worse than mere confiscation.

 When cult leader, Te Whiti, squatted on some of this confiscated land at Parihaka, he was warned to leave by the government. For fourteen years the government tried to evict him and his followers, who were ploughing up neighbouring farmers’ land, stealing their livestock, harassing local storekeepers and extorting a one pound toll from passing travellers. About a thousand Maori were huddled in this unhygienic place where about a dozen died from disease and lack of food.

On 14th November, 1881, 959 Volunteers and 620 men of the Armed Constabulary reclaimed Parihaka without firing a single shot. There was no loss of life and no injury to anyone apart from a young boy who accidentally had his foot trodden on by a trooper’s horse. Inside this “republic of peace” was found 250 weapons, including breechloaders, Enfields, revolvers and a variety of ammunition.

So, yes, there was a “holocaust” in Taranaki but that was when Maori fought Maori pre-1840. There was also a “holocaust” by Taranaki Maori of the peaceful Moriori in the Chathams. And a “holocaust” of animals occurred when Wiremu Kingi’s rebels slaughtered and burned large numbers of the settlers’ livestock. But there was no “holocaust” at Parihaka. The Waitangi Tribunal’s description of this lawful and peaceful repossession of a piece of land that was being illegally squatted on by Te Whiti as ranking with “the most heinous actions of any government in the last century” is more than ample evidence that this Tribunal is distorting the truth.

After the Tribunal is abolished any remaining tribal claims should be examined the normal court system.

For further reading on why the Waitangi Tribunal must go, download Mike Butler’s informative article here: