If it is good for the goose

The Herald reports:

Tuhoe leaders say a Crown apology for 19th century injustices would be meaningless unless tribes who fought with colonial forces also say sorry.

The Herald understands Treaty settlement negotiations have explored what shape a formal Crown apology might take, but sources say if an apology is owed then Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu and Te Arawa should also show some contrition.

Of course the Crown can not compel such apologies, and this is a process to settle historical grievances against the Crown.

AUT University pro vice-chancellor Maori Pare Keiha has Rongowhakaata tribal links to Te Kooti and had ancestors who were killed by the religious and guerrilla leader.

But he was wary of the concept of an apology.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that our own people were not all kind and caring – but that’s also the history of humankind.

“I’m always very cautious to revise history because whether you call it civil wars or internecine fighting, none of us were there.

“With hindsight, history often has a habit of distorting the truth. If we carry around [that] hurt, none of us would get out of bed in the morning.”

Now I am very much a supporter of the Crown making historical settlements. I supported these under both National and Labour Governments.

But it strikes me that the arguments from the AUT pro-chancellor about why Iwi should not apologise for acts against other Iwi, can also be used to argue against apologies from the Crown.

If the Crown is going to apologise for decisions taken by Government leaders 150 years ago (which it should), then I don’t see why Iwi should not apologise for the decisions of their leaders, which disadvantaged other Iwi.

Surely settling grievances by way of apology is good for everyone?

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