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Tamati Kruger on the negotiations, the raids and Mana Motuhake


Tamati Kruger has been the face of the Tūhoe negotiations in the media over the last few years. In the interview below, he gives an update on where the negotiations are at and shares his views on Mana Motuhake and the October 15 raids.

"Tūhoe have inherent powers of self government, despite the fact that capacity has been denied and impaired by Crown colonisation, today, Tūhoe communities consent to Mana Motuhake, and it is their natural orientation to have maximum autonomy, to live by their own traditions, way of life and aspirations. [...] We would expect of ourselves excellent welfare and social care services, self directed development opportunities and fair distribution of wealth system."

Links: Oral testimony of Tamati Kruger presented during the Te Urewera Inquiry of the Waitangi Tribunal | Tamati Kruger and the Nation of Tūhoe | 'The Nation': Tamati Kruger interviewed by Garner | Te Mana Motuhake o Tūhoe


The last minute announcement in May last year by PM John Key over the return of Te Urewera to Ngai Tūhoe must have been a big disappointment for your iwi and yourself, as one of the negotiatiors, and once again a damper in the Crown-Tuhoe relationship.
- Where are things at now with the negotiations?
- What is the feeling amongst Ngai Tūhoe about the state of the negotiations?

In May 2010, Prime Minister John Key scuttled the imminent Agreement in Principle [AIP] worked out over two years of hard negotiations between Ngai Tūhoe and the Crown. That AIP was to be the foundation for the full and final settlement of our treaty claims.

The subject of the Prime Ministers anxiety was the proviso about the return of Te Urewera to Ngai Tuhoe ownership, the cause for that intervention is not yet open to debate. From May to October, the Crowns awaited new approach for negotiating Te Urewera did not eventuate; nevertheless, both parties agreed to talks in the hope of saving and resuming negotiations. Most certainly, trust, confidence and dependability were the greatest loss; the politics of expediency had predictably triumphed over principle and virtue, namely justice, truth, freedom and peace.

In November, a projected work programme, calendar and assignment targets were drafted for 2011 negotiations. In point, discussions were to be about the same matters, but, now digging down into the details, implementation process, logistics, this suggested a direct track towards a Deed of Settlement[DoS]; bypassing the AIP phase.

The Crown stated in December 2010 that it is committed to achieving a full and final settlement with Ngai Tūhoe, therefore acknowledging that Te Urewera is back on the negotiation table.

Tūhoe has been in negotiation with the Crown since 1872; post military warfare and land confiscation. Not since the 1890’s negotiations to formalise by statute a self governing Te Urewera territory for Tuhoe, has popular interest, commentary and involvement soared. The John Key U-turn was visibly upsetting and withering in so many ways to all Tuhoe people; the waste was the Crowns loss of courage and virtue.

Since then, Ngai Tūhoe have affirmed the same original offer to settle it’s treaty claims with the Crown in the belief that it is a fair, just, honourable and enduring fix. Tuhoe have welcomed the resumption of negotiations for a full and final settlement. The people accept this struggle, it is our generation’s battle and toil, and it will cost no less than our lives. Peace, justice, truth and freedom give value to our lives and so are always costly but, well worth the expense.

Several members of Ngai Tūhoe, including Tame Iti, will be among 18 people on trial later this year in relation to the so-called 'terror raids' of 15th October 2007.
- Have there been any further discussions with the Police Commissioner about a police apology and compensation?
- Do you think the defendants will be able to receive a fair trial?

There were never direct discussions with Police Commissioner, Mr Howard Broad. The talks were with representatives of Mr Howard Broad and took place over a 10 month period.

The nature of those discussions was to explore relationship fixing strategies rather than debating the events of October 15, 2007.

The conversations took place at Whakatane and were always open, honest and respectful and lasting about 2-3 hours per session... Discussion topics covered updates on mood and attitude of parties, compensation framework, apology arrangement and process to rebuilding trust and restoring confidence. Regrettably, the progress to attaining a reality was always eclipsed and trumped by the court case.

No meeting has taken place in the last seven months.

I believe the legal pronouncement of the last three months means a major setback for the defendants, a serious worry for Ngai Tūhoe and a miracle for the police.

The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court decision and now allows the police to use in their submissions, illegally gained evidence. Whilst the terrorist charges were dismissed by the Solicitor General, what is now not ruled out is that the defendants may be terrorists.

The four years of legal wrangling and tactical manoeuvring has precluded a just and fair outcome already; justice may be served up, but it will not be seen to be done. The denial of trial by jury is frightful to civil rights. We sense that the public no longer support the police charges and believe Tuhoe to be the victims of an awful case of incompetence. The Court of Appeal decision censors the public’s interest and knowledge about the case; the timing distracts attention away to the Rugby World Cup, it isolates Tuhoe from its NZ public allies and attempts to devalue the matter.

The defendants are stigmatised and prejudiced. They and their families carry a burden of legal costs, emotional pain and spiritual injury. As a direct result of October 15, 2007 many Tūhoe, especially the younger generation have no faith, respect and trust in government and the police.

Can you explain how Tūhoe is organised (iwi and hapu level) and how decisions are made (ie. is it through representation of marae or hapu? or something diferent again?)?

The Tūhoe population is about 40,000. The iwi, its 60 hapu and marae, whanau infrastructure remains the source for representation, leadership and decision making over tribal matters.

Te Urewera is Tūhoe homelands where we are about 90 percent of the residing population. Te Urewera is presently regionalised into four Tūhoe community settlements, each having a number of hapu-marae. The hapu population of each community form and mandate a tribal executive committee forum to represent their collective will and politic. This assembly of appointed hapu representatives meet monthly to deliberate and resolve matters of interest to their populace and to Tūhoe. Those Tūhoe living at distance from the homelands continue to be represented through their elected marae–hapu infrastructure and officials.

At this time, the three Tūhoe iwi organisations managing iwi assets are working towards a 2012 consolidation outcome with the view it will coincide with a deed of settlement. Iwi owned funds and holdings will be combined to strengthen the new Tūhoe iwi authority to be established at the end of 2011.

In their modernising programme, Ngai Tūhoe is eager to keep what has served them so well, their traditions, customs and culture; hapu and whanau is the medium and hub of real tribal affairs action.

In October 2007 you said: “Tūhoe nation describes the culture, language and identity of a people who still have a memory, through oral tradition, of pre-european Tūhoetanga and remember that free men don’t volunteer to be slaves.“ A lot of people wonder what exactly self-governance for Tūhoe could look like. Could you explain what your vision is for mana motuhake?

Tūhoe have inherent powers of self government, despite the fact that capacity has been denied and impaired by Crown colonisation, today, Tūhoe communities consent to Mana Motuhake, and it is their natural orientation to have maximum autonomy, to live by their own traditions, way of life and aspirations.

Mana Motuhake is not a protest or defiance movement to New Zealand-Kiwi culture; neither is it feudalism, separatism or apartheid. Tūhoe and Tūhoetanga are now reinforced by shared diverse cultures, ideas and heritage. We are cosmopolitan, global, rural and urban, Tūhoe and New Zealander. Mana Motuhake means improvement in Tūhoe household-hapu income and health and education outcomes, quality housing and living standards. We would expect of ourselves excellent welfare and social care services, self directed development opportunities and fair distribution of wealth system.

Mana Motuhake must deliver prosperity and outperform mainstream and government institutions in the effective exercise of control, governance and management over natural resources, political leadership, social responsibility and economic enterprise. Mana Motuhake is for us and we will pay for it, not the general public. Realistically, we see the need to plan for at least a two generation [40 years] transformation timeframe.

The restoration of Mana Motuhake is a permanent Tūhoe aspiration, not a provisional negotiation strategy.

There is a lot of support around the motu for Tūhoe, from different iwi, from social justice activists and also from Pakeha who can see the injustice. What can people do to support the aspirations of Tūhoe?

We are sincerely grateful for the support received over many trialling matters. Tūhoe value that support especially because it was given freely and accompanied by friendship that touches our hearts. We agree that among friends the time to do right is all the time.


Tena koe Tamati

Tena koe te rangatira

Tena koe Tamati

To me you are one of the great people of Aotearoa. You are leading your people with strength and courage. Ngai Tuhoe have suffered enough. The theives should return what was stolen. The government see the law strangely it seems. They as the agents of the theives (the crown) will now decide when and in fact if the things they stole will be returned. The thieves run the country. Lets not forget the murders, rapes burnings and raupatu.

Ngai Tuhoe i sent my aroha to help and support your hikoi towards the return of Te Urewera......The home land.

The modern right wing catch phrase is "racism"

What you, Tamati, and what Tohoe Nation stand for is nothing but the right of self-determination that was once granted by the United Nations to every people and nation on this planet.

We have experienced over recent decades a most peculiar movement of the right to disassociate itself from outright racism and pretend that they believe strongly in liberalism for economic and business purposes, as well as supposed "multi culturalism" for people living in the administrative systems they continue to dominate.

What does that mean? Indeed there has been a diversification away from the concentration of ethnically or racially based rights to power and dominance towards a new class awareness, where it may not be quite as important "where you come from", but where ultimately the common goal of capitalism is shared.

Hence the new right love to claim they are now really "multicultural", "liberal" and "fair to all".

Indeed it is a change of emphasis from continuing traditional dominance to a "sharing" of some of the power, control and wealth with compromising, favourable people of other immigrant backgrounds. That way the class system can maintain itself and justify itself.

It is not necessarily a matter of cultural or ethnic background to belong to the privileged. As long as the privilege mentality is "maintained and thus shared" the upper class feels quite comfy with this new approach.

We see a lot of this in New Zealand and other countries with a history of conflict between the traditional population and the post colonial population that welcomes large numbers of migrants to maintain their dominance over politics, economy and social trends.

This can only be a great worry to people like Tuhoe.

The terror raids showed the total disrespect the system ruling this country continues to have towards the Tangata Whenua and their aspirations. I do not want to go into legal arguments, because all this is still before the courts. Nevertheless it is highly important to be alert at all times re what actually goes on in Aotearoa and how the commercial elite manipulate the population (NZ born and migrants) to continue their dominance and system of exploitation of the weakest.

My sympathy and heart goes out to all Tuhoe people that aspire to something greater and to fight for the rights to their own land and self determination within a freer and fairer country we all share.


With the headlines dominated

With the headlines dominated by kupapa politicians flushing anyone down the wharepaku that they deem to be a threat to their seat and the table of the wheiwheia, the table of the destroyer, and the table of the institution that still holds three quarters of Tuhoe land in the state of confiscation, it is heartening to see a rohe that still understands the concept of manamotuhake, and still holds to the idea that if you sell your soul you might as well be dead.

Mana Motuhake

Mana Motuhake will embrace and support all, Wonderful!

Restore the matriarchy.

The Maori and in truth the whole pre-conquored world of the Empires, lived and worked in Tribes.  The Conquest of the British Tribes was accomplished around 42 AD and onwards.  The main characterization of that conquest was the destruction of the free lifestyle that the matriarchy and then natural patriarchy upheld. 

The war machine that did the dasterdly deed was the Roman Slaveholders Pens.  This is now called the modern prison, which still retains the war machine characteristic such as alienating man from women and children from their parents.  That breaking of the matriarchy is a huge reason that the present bourgeois democracy is dysfunctional throughout the globe. 

Why the Roman Slaveholders did this was to only allow woman to obey Imperial Mans' rule locally, and the emperor in Rome in the first place.  Succeeding Empires have modelled their selves on this practice while forgetting the natural fifty-fifty genetic laws required by nature.  In fact the empires of the world although long gone, all share the characteristic of discrimination against woman, thus making the femme inferior regarding economics, politics, culture, judicially, and religios wise. 

The British Empire in fact, wherever it imposed on the indigenous world, did break the matriarchy as a pre-condition to their conquoring rule.  Now the problem has this characteristic, that the struggle for liberation and restoration of the matriarchy, which is the material restoration of the natural harmony and joy which is the natural man and woman question and necessitates 50-50 electing of women so they can access half the wealth and half the law making per calendar year. 

That would result in ending aggressive war, poverty, pollution, unemployment, and most all the other exploiting characteristics of the Monopoly Capitalist System on the planet earth.  Viva socialist liberation.  End pollution wars, not endless wars for more pollution.  Re-tool to the renewables such as wind, tidal, and solar power, thusly ending fossil fuel pollution by 97%, and allowing the re-oxygenating of the atmosphere.