Urewera 4: Day 17 March 8 (part two)

Article – Annemarie Thorby

After morning tea Mr Fairbrother announced that he was going to produce about 15 documents, but first he wanted Tamati Kruger to comment on the ‘exercises’. These are the exercises usually referred to by the crown as the ‘camps’.Tamati Kruger continues

By Annemarie Thorby

After morning tea Mr Fairbrother announced that he was going to produce about 15 documents, but first he wanted Tamati Kruger to comment on the ‘exercises’. These are the exercises usually referred to by the crown as the ‘camps’.

No Fear

Mr Kruger said that the exercises were ‘general knowledge.’ There was ‘no fear’.

They did ‘not generate fear’ but ‘there were some people that may have been disagreeable with it…and others that thought no ill of it and still others that were very supportive of it and participated in it.’

As an employer of Tame Iti, Mr Kruger felt no need to take it up with Tame Iti. He explained he understood ‘as the chairman of the board… the Hauora were supportive of that programme and the general manager allowed Tame Iti to take the time to be part of that programme.’

Excerpts from the Waitangi Tribunal Report – A Disjunction

The report is ‘a thousand odd pages’ in two volumes.

The first page of the report produced as evidence was a comment from the Auckland Star in 1981. It was an article stating that ‘Tuhoe independence should be recognised and appreciated’.

Part of the next document was read aloud by Mr Kruger: ‘Pakeha New Zealanders know little about Tuhoe and its area…it remains geographically and culturally remote…it evokes images of a misty mountain enclave, scenic lakes….Pakeha have always regarded the people as highly independent, somewhat hostile…’

Mr Fairbrother wanted to know how Tame Iti’s ‘symbolic activism’ related to the quote.

‘Tame Iti is one of the people…that is bringing that to…New Zealanders,…wanting them to respond to it…and react to it. The irony is…the contradiction is we are strangers in our own land.’

Mr Tamati agreed there has ‘been a disjunction between te Urewera people and Pakeha perceptions…it cannot be resolved by covert watching of activities in te Urewera.’

More portions of the report were read, but this time silently by Mr Kruger,he only commented on a few points, including the fact that ‘approximately 85% of the tangata whenua of the inquiry district live outside it .’

However, most of the people outside the area ‘do not live too far away, most live in Rotorua, only an hour drive away…the next group in Auckland…not such a great distance that you can call it people completely severed from Tuhoe…’

One statement was about the area of Urewera enduring greater poverty than most of New Zealand.

Another concern elaborated upon is ‘the health services that the crown offers Tuhoe is one fortnightly visit by a doctor to Murupara, it’s been like that for a 100 years.’

Tame Iti has been ‘engaged in that for the last 7 years’. He and his colleagues are ’employed by us to bridge that gap as much as he can’.

The Hauora is based in the old hotel. The hotel was closed and turned into a health centre.

‘It signals new direction, a re-emphasis of stronger virtues and values that one can argue have been missing for a long time.’

One of the next documents concerned Ruatoki remaining a magnet for people to return home to.

The Powhiri in 2005 and Tuhoe Tikanga

A quote was read from the Waitangi Tribunal about the powhiri in 2005.

The visit …’began with great drama the point of which was to convey Tuhoe’s sense of loss and anger at the raupatu….Unfortunately the message was misconstrued by the media and…and wider New Zealand public as…unfocussed hostility. In fact, our hearings were conducted with complete propriety and in accordance with tikanga.’

Another section in the report Mr Kruger was asked to tell in his own words was ‘the permanency of Tuhoe tikanga…it is at the heart of Tuhoe people…we are against our extinction, our poverty, our powerlessness. We are against those who wish us to remain ignorant, we are against those who take our property.’

That particular section of the report also made reference to the relationship between Tuhoe and the land.

‘…it is permanent and cannot be circumvented…the crown always wanted to hurdle Tuhoe and have a relationship with te Urewera without…having a relationship to Tuhoe. We have argued it is impossible. When you’re in Fiji, you see Fijians.’

Mr Fairbrother asked, ‘…can Maori alienate their land? Can they sell off their land? Is that a desirable characteristic?’

‘I refer to it as moral sovereignty…there is an English saying, “an Englishman’s home is his castle.” It’s the same concept…your home is your moral sovereignty…there may be others who may have the lawful right to intrude or trespass but in the main…your home is your sovereignty. We don’t intend to shift or move anywhere else.’

After silently reading another document, Mr Fairbrother asked Mr Kruger to comment what would the tikanga be to any breach of the subtle code that exists between Tuhoe people.

‘It would be taken very, very seriously, it would injure and erode the good will…and security of such relationships that existed before. There would be damage if that…is breached.’

‘That is well-known to people who are steeped and learned and live the life of being a Tuhoe.’

Falloon and Volkner

Another document highlighted the fact that the crown changed its position during the negotiation on the killings of Falloon and Volkner. By the time the report was published, the crown had accepted the Tuhoe version of history.

The Judge interrupted and wanted to clarify that was not only the ‘most fertile land taken, but also land that gave access to that coast?’

‘Yes…we agree with the crown that it was both a tactic to close off support of Tuhoe from other Maori and to starve them into submission.’

Tuhoe were left ‘effectively left without access to the sea.’

The Judge also asked if ‘the murders at that time was the the sole basis for confiscation?’

‘That and the…assistance Tuhoe gave to Ngati Maniapoto at the stand at Orakau…Rewi Maniapoto had come to Ruatahuna before 1864 and asked for Tuhoe assistance based on compacts….Some of Tuhoe felt obliged to meet their obligations, others felt they would rather wait until the invasion was right there immediately before them before responding.’

‘The conclusions to the report published in 2009 reflect that the confiscation was not justified.’

The change in the crown’s position is ‘unprecedented…we want to take advantage of that opportunity of good will and openness.’ ‘At the very basis of claims, that what it’s about – the durability of relationships into the future…’

Mr Fairbrother asked about the significance of the remarks.

‘…such remarks uplift the spirit and hope…because for so long and inter-generationally Tuhoe has been…surrounded by feelings of hopelessness and continued oppression. To hear those words opens up sunlight into a very dark place. Everything starts from that.’

‘I think all Tuhoe people that follow what has happened in the last five years…know the importance of these negotiations.’

John Key’s U-turn

‘With John Key’s U-turn there was an expectation that Tuhoe people would rush out and burn every DOC hut and…and destroy bridges and tracks…I think people felt that they had justification because here another example of the crown’s betrayal…there was this expectation that hikers fisherman and so on would be harassed. There would be some sort of a showdown because of what John Key had done.’

‘There was not because Tuhoe met and discussed these issues…and their response was to give the government time to get their breath and their senses back and continue…negotiations.’

‘That is to illustrate to you…that these negotiations and what they entail are very, very important.’

‘The solution is negotiation.’

Tame Iti was regularly involved in the negotiations, ‘he turned up to meetings. Today he is in receipt of regular reporting on the negotiations.’

That was the end of Russell Fairbrother’s questioning of Tamati Kruger.

Ngati Maniapoto and Tuhoe

Next was Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara’s lawyer, Jeremy Bioletti.

Mr Kruger said that he knew Mr Kemara and that Kemara was affiliated with Ngati Maniapoto and Tuwharetoa, and then explained the historical connection between Ngati Maniapoto and Tuhoe.

‘In 1865 the crown invaded Waikato, Governor Grey was tired with general Maori resistance to settlement and sale of land…Governor Grey had spent some time pleading to the British government for armed military assistance…he told some little lies and said Auckland was under imminent threat. He got the military assistance and…invaded Waikato….Rewi Maniapoto led the resistance to repel the British forces. And the last battle was at Orakau…and he had asked Tuhoe using whakapapa…for Tuhoe assistance.’

Mr Bioletti asked about whakapapa.

‘…it can capture blood relationships but also relationships through treaty into marriage and words. ..much like international treaties.’

The Concept of Manuhiri

Mr Bioletti then asked about the concept of manuhiri being visitors, ‘visitors would manuhiri and they would be waiwaitapu. How does that relate to people coming into Tuhoe area?’

‘Waiawitapu is literally sacred footsteps…that means this person has never been to that place before….That means special care, certain things should happen in the welcome.’

‘Certain things should be seen and heard and occur…’

Mr Kruger agreed with Mr Bioletti that ‘once welcomed people are subject to Tuhoe tikanga…there are consequences for disregard or non-obedience of Tuhoe tikanga.’

‘The first thing a Tuhoe person says to a stranger is who are you with? Not what is your name, where are you from?…and there is immediate suspicion around their presence if that person is not there at the invitation of another Tuhoe.’

The person who invited the stranger has to ‘explain to their visitor the dos and don’ts, and then be available to assist the manuhiri and to be accountable not just for what they do but also to the proper hospitalities be offered.’

‘I would be in trouble…be regarded by my fellow Tuhoe as despicable…if I brought a visitor to Tuhoe and abandoned them by going north…’

‘That’s not what Tuhoe people do.’

‘Who is He With?’

The second to last defence lawyer was Urs Signer’s, Christopher Stevenson.

Mr Stevenson wanted to know about the expression of manuhiri in relation to Mr Signer.

Mr Kruger understood that he was Tame Iti’s guest and agreed ‘that Ruatoki is a good area to go to for someone interested in immersing themselves in learning language and tikanga’.

‘One of the things I was alerted to by Tame Iti, was that Mr Signer was very interested in learning te Reo…when I met him I thought ‘gee that sounds like Tuhoe reo.’

Mr Bioletti also said that Ruatoki is an area ‘we talk about where some people may have been self-sufficient…hunting for kai is not uncommon and people’s homes are commonly built with gardens attached.’

He then asked Mr Kruger about ‘the incident where Tame Iti discharged a gun, it is shown in the movie Tuhoe Resistance.’

‘Yes, the you can find the cartridges in the home of Judge Savage and the flag in the home of the lead lawyer that defended the crown. She souvenired it…worth a lot of money.’

Scottish Self-determination

Finally it was Val Nisbet’s turn. He is Emily Bailey’s lawyer.

He told Mr Kruger that he was of Scottish descent.

‘I say that because I understand that there’s been some contact recently with Scotland as both the Tūhoe and Scottish are seeking
elf-determination and self-governance…’

‘We’re planning to send a delegation of Tuhoe people there to do a little bit of studying, ask questions and do observation.’

Mr Nisbet then asked Mr Kruger about Tame Iti’s forms of protest, wanting to know if he was ever concerned about it.

‘I learnt to live with him over the years…I do not believe Tame Iti is a violent person as he is anti-violence, anti-drugs, anti-alcohol…’

The Judge then told Mr Kruger that he could not express personal viewpoints.

Mr Nisbet concluded by, as Russell Fairbrother had done, about the theatrical and symbolic nature of Tame Iti’s protest and activism.

It was described by Judith Binney as the ‘ theatre of protest’

Cross-Examination by Ross Burns Crown Prosecutor

‘Mr Kruger,’ said Ross Burns, ‘We’ve had close to 3 hours telling of you us about the grievances and aspirations of the Tuhoe people…but the settlement of your grievances is for other tribunals and other forums.’

‘What we here to determine here is whether or not these 4 people committed criminal offences.’

‘You have told us that 2005 is an important year…prior to 2005 the relationship between the crown and Tuhoe was one of prejudice, misunderstanding and indifference…’

‘Characterised by long-standing grievances being handed down in generations…you used the term hatred and betrayal…a consistency is that the Crown has betrayed Tuhoe…not just back in the 1860s but also over the years….Betrayal in the context of the decision in 2010.’

‘But not withstanding that…the path now has been a peaceful approach to solve these grievances and there is a mandate of 97% to follow it….’

‘You recognise yourself, even if there is a physical resolution it would nevertheless take generations until there is truly peace between Tuhoe and the crown. There may need to be other ways to resolve the differences?’

In answer, Mr Kruger said, ‘No.’

‘…even if Tuhoe is not delivered the answer they are proposing to Crown, the view is we can out wait the crown. We will wait for a more enlightened government. So it’s not critical that we win te Urewera back this year…we just defer the plan.’

‘We started negotiating with the crown around 1897, I am one person mandated to speak on behalf of Tuhoe…there will be others that will follow…we will win justice…however long it takes.’

‘So,’ said Ross Burns, ‘a plan for peaceful justice, no plan B.’

‘Yes.’

Ross Burns then asked about the ‘occasion when Mr Kruger went to Te Tawa road.’

Mr Kruger said there were about 8 to 10 people present, he couldn’t say if any people had balaclavas on. He talked to the group for about 20 minutes. He could not see any guns.

‘After they dispersed I talked to Tame Iti for about 10 minutes…I asked what it’s about – he said a walk through the bushes to build impromptu camps, that kind of thing.’

After further questions, Mr Kruger explained ‘…my understanding was that the training going on was a combination of bush craft bush survival, living in that kind of terrain, firearm training…people interested in learning how to use fire arms, others interested in firearm licences, others interested in security type jobs…’

He said it would concern him if people were playing with Molotov Cocktails in the bush.

Mr Burns asked if ‘military violence was not part of the Tuhoe plan’ and ‘if was someone was doing that without your knowledge that would be something Tuhoe would not embrace.’

Tamati Kruger agreed.

He also agreed with Mr Burns, that Tame Iti has ‘…strong beliefs not just about the right of Tuhoe but also the rights of indigenous people around world.’ That he is ‘strongly opposed to any type of colonial oppression, people invading countries and preventing self-determination of indigenous people.’

Mr Kruger has not had a ‘serious debate about the American presence in Iraq with Tame Iti.’

Under re-examination Russell Fairbrother also asked about Tame Iti’s ‘attidtude to the Iraq war and his work in the Mission House and his interest in employment issues in the area.’

‘His iwi would always come first.’

As to balaclavas in Ruatoki, Mr Kruger said, ‘some people prefer them because they can be a beanie at other times and in inclemental weather you can roll them down and use them for the weather…There are signs out in the local bank – ‘please remove your balaclavas and hoodies.’

The End of the Day

The next witness for Tame Iti was Auckland Law Professor David Williams.

He spoke about the language of change, using terms such as imperialism and revolution.

And like Tamati Kruger and the witness from yesterday, Dr McHugh, David Williams spoke about the history of colonisation and its effect on Tuhoe. He also spoke about the Treaty negotiations.

There was no cross-examination.

Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara Kemara elected to not give evidence and the court was adjourned until Monday 10am.

ends

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