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Oral testimony of Tamati Kruger presented during the Te Urewera Inquiry of the Waitangi Tribunal


The history of Tuhoe shows that entrenched within the vigilance of their liberties was essentially a concerted effort to protect themselves from being enslaved within the philosophy of others, Tuhoe's presence is not an adhoc and spurious accident, their presence was motivated and driven by purposefulness to maintain the integrity of how they saw themselves and their lifestyles, to protect their abilities to dream their own dreams rather than being forced to live the dreams of others.

Our great ancestors carried the desires and dreams of Tuhoe, symbolising the Tuhoe presence. They held the mauri, the internal drive, and the courage to holdfast to their dreams and their way of life. These leaders grew leaders, not followers there was a great number of those who died to maintain the solidarity of the Meta-Autonomy of Tuhoe any negative actions directed at these people were negative actions against Tuhoe, and the consequences that would have flowed with deterrence that helped to maintain a Tuhoe presence.

I reassert the position that the territories of Ngai Tuhoe must be seen in the light of Mana Motuhake o Tuhoe, not real estate.

Te Urewera our territory is our Marae and you are responsible for your Marae, you situate yourself where your strength is besides your ancestral house, this is your genealogy, your skeleton, your backbone as you look across your Marae, your customs and traditions become the rules of behavior, the code of conduct within the designated grounds.

The rigid customs of the Marae is the model to welcome new guests; we are quite familiar with that. The perpetuation of customs and traditions within Te Urewera is a clear indication of the ongoing flame of Tuhoe that has never been extinguished. This flame is visible to all as I enter into our Marae in Te Urewera.

The oppressive nature of the crown and its agents is a grim reminder of the nature of the crowns disposition to us, people who sought to be free in our own world, in our own lives, the messages and position that Tuhoe have placed before such organisms have remained consistent for as long as we have been forced to stand before them.

These bodies themselves have in turn consistently trivialised and marginalised the communications that have been transmitted on the breath of great Tuhoe ancestors.

The oppressor however cannot erase the reality of what can clearly be seen as Te Puru, echoes through the valleys of Te Urewera. While the oppressor has attempted to usurp the Mana of Tuhoe, we have remained in our customs, our traditions have remained, we were here first, we have remained here, we are not leaving.

We are fighting for our own meta-autonomy, those practices that gave rise to our current existence within our own sovereignties. The face of our ancestors, the divinity of gods and humanity.

We remain resolute in maintaining the boundaries of our Marae, the Marae is an example of the dominion of Tuhoe over its lands - the meeting house is what gives the value to the origins of the mountains and the mist.

The price of the liberty that the many peoples of Tuhoe sort to maintain was then and remains to this day, the will and purposefulness of knowing, being, and protecting the integrity of who you are, and not in the explanation of ourselves to others. The earth does not explain itself to the human race, it was here first. If you want to find our who we are, my response may not be of much help.

The Tuhoe vista of our universe was therefore driven by that purposefulness, Te Mana Motuhake O Ngai Tuhoe, the right to be Tuhoe.

For such behaviour, Tuhoe have been criticised and deprioritised in the written records of those who have sort to drag us from Te Urewera. We have been scorned as slow in coming forward and unwilling to accept development and we have been labeled as selfish and fundamentalists.

Nevertheless it is now becoming clear to others why Tuhoe have conducted themselves in the way in which they have, as it is upon this conduct that their liberty depends. I want to, we want to, be able to claim that we are free!


This haka was composed in 1864 as a Tuhoe response to the encroachment of the colonial invasion of the British Empire. Tuhoe met the colonial forces at Orakau in the Waikato where they engaged in battle. Although this battlefield was a couple of hundred miles from their own lands, Tuhoe felt the need to meet the aggressor therefore their own space was threatened.

Te Puru or literally 'the bull' was a metaphor used to describe the arrogance of the colonial forces. Tuhoe used the image of a bull to belittle the invaders.

'Whakatanga ki runga i whakatanga ki raro'
The haka describes how the bull in its arrogance with its insatiable appetite to devour everything within its reach. Leaving nothing for anyone else.

'Pukawautia koa'
As a result we Tuhoe like the shag who wonders aimlessly about like a nomad. The conditions of its home are such that does not support Ahikaroa or mana whenua.
You become a lost people.

'Nga ngaira ngira, nga hota hota'
The context of this statement illuminates the technical advantages that the colonial powers had over Tuhoe in this instance and how the invaders was to wreak havoc upon an otherwise technological inferior opponents, this bull showed no mercy.

'O te whitau, Tapahia'
This line alludes to the damage caused by such arrogance on an otherwise fragile community. The image is of the bullet slicing through the flax bush killing the heart of the flax, which of course was the metaphor for the heart of a community.

'Awhea awhea, te rua tamariki'
The reference is to the young generation of that time who were prepared to die in order to maintain their liberty.

The last section of this Haka makes reference to how Tuhoe were totally committed to resist the arrogant bull with its insatiable appetite. This haka is left for the Tuhoe generation as a reminder as to the commitment of Tuhoe ancestors. The haka is the commitment to follow the legacy of those great ancestors caught in the wake of the arrogant bull.



Re: Oral testimony of Tamati Kruger presented during the Te Urew

hmm. nice.
kia kaha e nge hoa. kia kaha.

Re: Oral testimony of Tamati Kruger presented during the Te Urew

Kia Ora, The work on this site is a beauty alot of good things on this site you can't really find anywhere else especially the bull and information leading to the composers info and background.


Re: Oral testimony of Tamati Kruger presented during the Te Urew

kia ora ahh kapai mo to whaakaro just doing some research for my kauwhau kapai