Maori prophet to receive pardon

Tuhoe prophet and leader Rua Kenana is up for a posthumous pardon in parliament. Photo: Wikipedia.

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Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has released a summary of an agreement which will progress a statutory pardon for Tuhoe prophet and leader Rua Kenana.

The Crown and descendants of Rua Kenana and Nga Toenga o nga Tamariki a Iharaira me nga uri o Maungapohatu will sign the agreement at Maungapohatu on Saturday September 9, bringing the statutory pardon a step closer to reality.

The minister and whanau of Rua Kenana met in Rotorua on Wednesday ahead of the historic signing to outline details of the agreement.

“The agreement contains much more than the pardon. It acknowledges the lasting effects the events of April 2, 1916 had on the descendants of Rua Kenana and Nga Toenga o nga Tamariki a Iharaira and apologises for that,” says Te Ururoa. 

“It is what his uri and followers of the Iharaira faith deserve. It goes some way to putting right a wrong from a century ago.”

The Agreement notes the Crown’s intention to introduce legislation to provide, among other things, a Crown apology to the descendants of Rua Kenana and Nga Toenga o nga Tamariki; a pardon to Rua Kenana for the conviction he sustained for ‘moral resistance’ to arrest; and a declaration to restore the character, mana and reputation of Rua Kenana, his uri (descendants), and Nga Toenga o nga Tamariki a Iharaira.

The statutory pardon for Rua Kenana will not be made official until legislation enacting the terms of the agreement is passed by parliament. It is a pardon for the criminal conviction.

Once passed into law the statutory pardon will be only the fourth arising from Crown-Maori relations.

In 1988, those of Ngati Awa descent who were arrested, tried and labelled as rebels in or about 1865, received a statutory pardon in the Runanga o Ngati Awa Act; in 2013, Mokomoko received statutory recognition of a previous Royal Prerogative of Mercy pardon for his involvement in the murder of missionary Carl Volkner in 1865, and in 2014, Kereopa Te Rau also received a statutory pardon for his role in the murder of Reverend Volkner through the Treaty settlement with Ngati Rangiwewehi.


On April 2, 1916, a contingent of 70 armed police invaded Maungapohatu to arrest Tuhoe prophet and leader Rua Kenana. In an exchange of gunfire, his son Toko Rua and Te Maipi Te Whiu were killed and other Maori and four police were injured.

Charges laid against Rua Kenana over the invasion were either dismissed or resulted in his acquittal, but he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on an earlier charge of ‘moral resistance’. The Iharaira faith went into decline after the events and has never fully recovered.

The Waitangi Tribunal in 2012 determined that excessive force was used in the arrest of Rua Kenana and it was unlawfully carried out as it was on a Sunday.

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@ kellbell

Posted on 16-09-2017 16:35 | By MISS ADVENTURE

You would appear to be understating the facts of it! The article reflects how history of hundreds of years to date has changed in the last decade or two.

The Facts

Posted on 13-09-2017 22:12 | By kellbell

Maybe this will help -Rua Kenana apart from his outstanding offences was fronting a dangerous cult. Expedition of 1916 sent Maungapohutu to arrest Kenana is dealt with in a Police News article July 2013 dealing with a report by GJ Maloney in Police Journal November 1937.Looking at the mugshot looks wild eyed and deranged.At the arrest there were shootings resulting in the wounding of at least 4 police officers and 2 maori killed in the attack on police - the pa had firearms cache available and guns were used by maori against police .There followed a 2 month trial at the SupremeCourt Auckland and Kenana was convicted and sentenced to 2 years in prison -a pittance.The statutory pardon or any pardon is a farce. It is the same category as Kereopa Te Rau pardon (eye swallower) involved in the murder of Rev.Volkne

Learn from history, or repeat it!

Posted on 11-09-2017 15:12 | By Papamoaner

I wonder what Simon Weisenthal would have thought about this. He left no stone unturned in his search for justice and never gave up. Nothing wrong with never giving up after high trauma events around injustice. Justice is not like an old wheel that wears out over time. To quote the late Alan martin; It’s the putting right that counts!

@Colleen Spiro

Posted on 08-09-2017 11:13 | By Laurie

Yes history should be correct as far as possible but if the facts of the incident are not recorded at the time there is always an element of ’Chinese Whispers’ - the point I was trying to make is why do we always seem to hear one side of the story. If we’re going to drag up past wrong doings it should be a full frank & open account of what actually happened without trying to apportion blame. Reverend Volkner was brutally murdered in cold blood - hung, shot & decapitated then had his eyes taken out & eaten - did his descendants receive an apology??


Posted on 07-09-2017 20:50 | By Colleen Spiro

This is history of Aotearoa....History should be CORRECT.

@ Laurie.........

Posted on 07-09-2017 20:39 | By groutby’s history, pure and simple as I see it, but not for some it seems who just cannot move on to the future...if this catches on, there will be meaningless apologies and no doubt financial retribution flowing for a long, long time....


Posted on 07-09-2017 16:06 | By Laurie

When will all this playing the ’blame game’ stop - no one alive today was involved in this or directly affected by these events - did the murdered Reverend Volkners descendants receive an apology or compensation??