Tame Iti should apologise

Tame Iti should apologise for the trouble he brought upon the Tuhoe people. The police raids were not without cause – and Tame Iti bears prime responsibility. Iti and his colleagues in crime were were found guilty by a jury. He and the media treating him like some Maori Mandela seem to have forgotten that.

The High Court judge who sentenced Iti and his colleagues to a term of imprisonment summed up the situation perfectly. Justice Hansen described the “bushcraft” explanations provided by Iti for his paramilitary activities in the Ureweras as “utterly implausible”. He went on to note that,

“As I view the evidence, in effect a private militia was being established. Whatever the justification, that is a frightening prospect in our society, undermining of our democratic institutions and anathema to our way of life.” NZ Herald 14.02.13

Justice Hansen said he could not understand why Tame Iti was developing “military capability” at the same time as negotiating Tuhoe claims before the Waitangi Tribunal.  Hansen further noted that the media focus on police actions,

“…should not divert attention from the unlawful activities which necessitated the investigation in the first place.”

The Police Commissioner and now the Minister of Police, have both apologised for police actions which overstepped the mark in the Urewera raids. Will the media now turn their attention to the one who caused all the angst and drama (and taxpayer cost) in the first place?

In spite of the provocative and stupid actions of Tame Iti and co. the Crown has had the good grace and sense to progress settlement negotiations with Tuhoe to a successful conclusion. Historic injustices have been addressed with financial compensation of $170million, vesting of Te Urewera National Park in a new entity overseen by Tuhoe, and a formal Crown apology for its past actions.

So the Crown has taken responsibility for its actions, made redress, and apologised.         Will Tame Iti ?

Ewen McQueen
May 2013

This entry was posted in Treaty of Waitangi and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tame Iti should apologise

  1. Rebekah Ririkopata says:

    The Protaganist Tame Iti

    I really wish someone had told the Tuhoe that the day the Labour lead government lead by Helen Clark, who gave sanction for the then over the top commando invasion of Ruatoki citizens, could hear nearly a decade later, about what an anthema to their way of life, the police actions were to this town and indeed these peoples.

    How in the world did we end up thinking that the threat to democracy was being maligned by a bunch of activists who held to an ideaology that caused them to take up ‘training’ and debarking on a ‘military exercise ‘ for the purposes to impose their will upon the good folk of N.Z.

    If there is anything to be said about apologising for wrong thinking , it would be that of the police commissioner at the time, the judicial governing bodies of Crown prosecutor, and the half baked idealism of policies that cover the tracks , and stupidity of Government offices that repeatedly use misimformation as a gage to reel in so called ‘dissendents’ of the democratic freedoms most N.Z.s’ take for granted.

    History does repeat itself ad nauseum. Tuhoe have not been unscathed or removed from foriegn policies that have left them disempowered and disengaged in the making of a nation. Their rights and freedoms have been deliberately and unrelentedly threatened and denied.

    When you enter the Tuhoe Nation you are reminded that they did not give up their rights and freedoms to live as their ancestors had guided and intrusted the generations after. They understand how to guard the land and protect it from invaders. They set about to form a community that worked on every level of their society, with Rua Kenana, who through his leadership, transformed the lives of his people, following and embodying biblical principals for producing a society that lived in peace and a totally self- sufficient prospering future for all. Using the best of Pakeha practices and Maori customs.

    Pure fearmongering of the media and other avenues who use misimformation to feed the mythology of one land , one people, is part of the rhetoric that keeps us grounded in these epic saga’s of them and us mentalities.

    An apology from Tame Iti, if required by his people, is not for the public arena. But the idea that he should apologise is naive. He represents Tuhoe legacy. At the heart of this man , is the idea that his people will be able to have the self rule that all nations take for granted , and that he will defend the sanctity of his tribe and their freedom to govern themselves without the interfernce or as little as possible government interference , as possible.

    Tame Iti is a distinct folk hero to most New Zealanders. With his distinct distaste of N.Z. law and flamboyant activism, people have grown accustomed to his seemingly ourtageous actions and behaivours. He is a warrior in Tuhoe ways. But a terriost?

    There are many forms of ‘terroism’ and the disenfranchisement of a people is definitly a form. Our laws should protect Tuhoe as much as anyone. Tame Iti did not choose the actions of the police (all 300 of them) to invade Ruatoki. Tame Iti served his time and was held accountable for his ‘crime’. The ‘way of life’ we enjoy in this country, is not for all and indeed is not the reality of many.

    Rebekah Ririkopata


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