Paddy Gower (or Patrick as he uses on air) has joined the blogosphere with Gower on Politics, which is on the Three News site.
There is no doubt Tuhoe suffered at the hands of the Crown, who unleashed a “scorched earth campaign” against them in the 1800s; their homes were destroyed, their people jailed and killed. They were run off their land and have spent the time since trying to get it back.
Now they are close; very close.
For those who are not aware of the extent of the wrongs done, Te Ara says:
The government waged a bitter campaign in Te Urewera in its search for Te Kooti and his followers. Old enemies of Tūhoe fought on the side of the government; they carried out most of the raids into Te Urewera during a prolonged and destructive search between 1869 and 1872. In a policy aimed at turning the tribe away from Te Kooti, a scorched earth campaign was unleashed against Tūhoe; people were imprisoned and killed, their cultivations and homes destroyed, and stock killed or run off. Through starvation, deprivation and atrocities at the hands of the government’s Māori forces, Tūhoe submitted to the Crown.
Negotiations are incredibly delicate, involving issues like the ownership and control of the Urewera National Park and Tuhoe’s desire for self-rule. It’s a combustible combination, especially when thrown on the race relations fire that is always burning away in the background of middle New Zealand. Put simply, this is about the weight of history coming up hard against the pressure of day-to-day politics.
And the details:
Mana Motuhake means self-rule or self-government. This is Tuhoe’s dream. It had it once before and never signed the Treaty of Waitangi. Now the Government has quite predictably ruled out Tuhoe becoming a separate nation – or as Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson put it the ridiculous notion of “a Liechtenstein in the Ureweras”.
But Finlayson has also referred to “complexities” in the negotiations. Enter, Mana Motuhake. Mana Motuhake is on the table on the form of some devolution of public functions.
Plus there is more on the quantum of compensation and management of the Ureweras. Gower obviously has good sources and it will be very interesting to see, if a deal is done, the details.
Of all the historic grievances (and anyone who thinks there is no justified grievance should read history books on what happened) this is probably the most complex and difficult. If they manage this one, then the aim of settling them all by 2014 may be achievable after all.