November 2018 Māori Law Review

Ka kuhu au ki te ture, hei matua mō te pani – Hon. Justice Joseph Williams

Hui-a-Tau Conference 2018 - Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa

Hon. Justice Joseph Williams, judge of the Court of Appeal

October 2018

Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa (the Māori Law Society) held its 30th annual conference at Rotorua in October 2018. The theme of the conference was “Ka kuhu au ki te ture, hei matua mo te pani – I seek refuge in the law, for it is a parent of the oppressed” – Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki. The conference provided an opportunity for lawyers, law students and members of the judiciary to discuss a wide range of legal issues relevant to Māori.  The Māori Law Review is proud to support Te Hunga Roia Māori and to publish a selection of the presentations from the conference. The following speech was given by Hon. Justice Joseph Williams, Te Kōti Pīrā.

Ka kuhu au ki te ture, hei matua mō te pani - I seek refuge in the law for it is a parent to the oppressed

Judges of the District Court, Family Court, Youth Court, Māori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal, President of the Law Commission, Madam Solicitor, learned friends (aku hoa mātau), students, welcome along to this, the 30th year of Te Hunga Roia Māori Aotearoa.  It’s easy on such an auspicious occasion to slip into self-congratulations.  I’m not going to do that.  Although, my last two speeches to you in 2016 and 2017 were notable for the fact that I harangued you relentlessly for not doing enough.  I said you weren’t thinking big enough or dreaming big enough.  I was starting to worry last year you wouldn’t invite me back!  But, hey, this is our 30th, and I think I'll be nice this year!

On Friday the 25th July 1988, according to the late John Chadwick’s memoir – I’m not suggesting that Chad is the most accurate of historians, but he got the date right! - we all gathered at Tunohopu Marae down the road.  This is what Chad said.  The registration fee was set at $25 for lawyers and $10 for students.  What is the registration fee this year?  Early bird $850.

Given the short notice, of the 43 who enrolled, 42 actually turned up.  Five students and others slipped in under the cover of darkness.  There were two Judges: Ken Hingston and Hoeroa Marumaru.  Eddie Durie was there too but Chad seems to have forgotton.  Five Judges in waiting, Chad says: myself, Jim Rota, Caren Fox, Stephen Clark and Denise Clark.  A future MP, Georgina Te Heuheu, two barristers sole: Wiremu Puriri and Charl Hirschfeld, and ten apologies - including Judge Mick Brown, John Tamihere, Denese Henare and Winston Peters MP.  This is apparently, Chad says, the only apology from Winston ever recorded.

I’m pretty sure Annette Sykes was there and I know Moana Maniapoto was there because she gave me a ride down from Auckland.  And Te Hunga Rōia was born but it was then called the Māori Law Society.  It was called the Māori Law Society because it was to be a radical organisation.  Because there already was a Law Society.  And Chad and John Tamihere (who drafted the rules – but didn’t turn up but who may well have been the source of that name, considered that we should stand on our own mana in accordance with the idea of the Treaty partnership.  Well we eventually changed our name to Te Hunga Rōia Māori which was cool on the Reo Māori side, but probably a little safer politically.  So there you have it, I’m not going to complain. Hunga Rōia very quickly became “Hungas” and has stayed that way for, I don’t know, 20 years or something.  Anyway, I had just started at Kensington Swan in 1988 when this organisation was born.  I was at the beginning of my career, in the same place in my career that many of you are now.

So I was thinking about those 30 years, and it caused me to look back, rather morosely I think, at the things I’ve seen and heard that have inspired and guided me over those 30 years.  30 years of working with communities in their search, really for some sense of justice and therefore for some hope of rebirth.  But that got me to thinking about the people that I have worked with, and for, over those years and I decided I’d just tell you some stories.  Because they are really cool stories and this was a great opportunity to remember them before they became compost in the back of my demented mind!

Te Roroa

My first clients within three months of getting back from study in Vancouver, were Te Roroa, the iwi/hapū – depending on whether you’re from Ngāti Whātua or not.  Located on the West Coast of the Taitokerau between the Waimamaku Valley and the Kaihu Valley, centred on the Waipoua Forest.  I got a phone call from David Baragwanath QC who was trying to offload them.  I had no idea what I was doing.  David knew that but was trying to offload them and I said oh yes please, I'll take them.

Jolene Patuawa’s people – and you see her footprints all over their work. Thinking of Te Roroa always makes me think of Jolene who passed away way too soon.

I was really struck by their quiet, dogged, heart breaking struggle to keep the land.  I thought of a kuia named Mere Paniora.  She would have been in her early 60s, not particularly old – well not from my perspective now anyway. She spoke very poor English, much more comfortable in that thick guttural Ngāpuhi lingo that they speak up there in the forest.

She talked of her father.  They had been fighting with the New Zealand Forest Service over a small block of land in the Waipoua forest.  The New Zealand Forest Service ran Waipoua, including the tiny enclave of Māori land within it upon which a few Roroa families lived.  The Forest Service said they owned this 30 acre block of land in the middle of the forest, and her father, Aata Paniora, said they didn’t.  And every year he and his little daughter, Mere, then aged 4 or 5, would go and plough up a couple of acres of this land the Forest Service claimed, to plant kumara.  And every year the New Zealand Forest Service Inspector – I guess he was Superintendent or whatever– called Mr Biggs (who they called Te Pīki Poaka!) would walk along behind Aata and Mere and pull out the kumara tupu on the mounds. Just pull them out as the old man was planting.  And Mere was standing there giving this evidence and she said she was so embarrassed.  She said she’d say to her father “Why are you doing this?  Pīki Poaka is pulling them out! Stop!”  He would say to her every year, and by this time Mere, now a kuia, was crying because she remembered – she had transported herself back to that garden.  And she said the old man said to her “Nō tātou tēnei whenua, nō tātou tēnei whenua - this is our land”.  He did it every year until he died.

And the New Zealand Forest Service never got around to planting trees on that block.  I was so struck by the steadfastness, the quiet humble doggedness of these people, and of Aata himself.

He was charged with trespassing in the 1950s in a block, a wāhi tapu called Manuwhetai, at Maunganui Bluff.  In the 1980s the land became a cause celebre because it was a privately owned farm.  It was a wāhi tapu in the middle of a farm owned by a man named Titford.  About 30 acres of burial grounds.  And the tribe had always said this had been reserved from the sale of the much larger Maunganui block.  But it was not reserved in fact and was by Aata’s time a privately owned Pākehā farm.  Aata was charged with trespass when he went in and established his little kāuta in there to protect the wāhi tapu.  I found the transcript of the trial.  The Police Sergeant was prosecuting and he says:

“Is your name Arthur Paniora?”  I’m faking the bad pronunciation, but I think it’s likely don’t you think?

“Is your name Arthur Paniora?”

“Yes.”

“Do you reside in the Waipoua Forest?”

“Yes.”

“Were you on the 26th August 1961 in the vicinity of the land at Maunganui Bluff?” And he names the owner of the land – I don’t know who that was at the time.

“Yes.”

“Did you know the land was owned by that person?”

“Yes.”

“Did you nonetheless enter that land?”

“Yes.”

“Did you establish a shelter there?”

“Yes.”

“Have you been there for x number of days?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Yes.”

Aata couldn’t speak English!  And it reminded me how important Te Reo was.  There was no translator there and Aata had no idea what was going on.  He was fined, then when he couldn’t pay the fine, he spent a short while in jail.

The old people in Te Roroa said to me in the middle of the forest – something that I'll always remember – kei raro i ngā tarutaru, ko ngā tuhinga o ngā tupuna - beneath the vegetation, are the writings of our people.  And they believed that.  They worked by that dictum.  That was Te Roroa opening a world, almost another dimension.  A dimension utterly invisible to New Zealand.  Yet alive and vibrant amongst these people.

Muriwhenua

Then I got dragged into Muriwhenua.  In the Muriwhenua land claim I came to know and revere a man called Rima Edwards, who was the chair of Te Runanga o Muriwhenua and a spiritual leader of his people.  That was partly a claim about a thing called tuku whenua.  These were transactions that were entered into with settlers prior to 6 February 1840, and the question was, what laws applied to these transactions?  Were they tikanga Māori transactions in which local Māori let settlers live and cultivate on lands that Māori owned.  Or as the Crown said, were these simple land sales.  Muriwhenua people said they were tuku whenua not land sales in the Pākeha sense.  So that was the underlying issue.

One day Rima said to me – and you’ve got to remember, I was 18 months out of law school.  I really was just a kid.  18 months out of law school.  No-one should have let me loose on this job!  Rima said to me one day:

“I want to give evidence”.

And I said “Okay, good.”

“I want to talk about Panakareao.”

Panakareao was the big Chief of the whole of Muriwhenua at the time.  He signed the Treaty.  He famously said when he signed the Treaty at Hokianga:  “Ko te atakau ka riro i te kuini, ko te kikokiko o te whenua, ka mau ki āu” - the shadow of the land shall go to the Queen but the substance, shall remain with me. Rima said I want to just explain who Panakareao was.  Panakareao’s signature was on every pre-Treaty deed in Muriwhenua – his mark anyway – was on every single one of those Muriwhenua deeds.  Even though he was not an owner in many blocks, such was his mana.

So I said “Well, what do you want to say?”

“I just want to talk about what kind of man he was.”

“Okay.  Like what?”

“Oh, not much.”

“Like what?”

“Just how much mana he had.”

“Okay.  How long do you think you’ll need?”

“Not long.”

“How long?”

“Not long.”

And of course calling evidence in a Māori setting, you can’t stop a kaumātua!  I mean you’d get shot!  But in a legal setting, even one like the Waitangi Tribunal to stand someone up who refuses to tell you what they’re going to say, or even how long they’re going to take, is suicide!  But I was only 18 months old.  So I said “Okay. Off you go.”  Might’ve been the next week we were in Kaitaia in the famous Far North Centre in Kaitaia before the Waitangi Tribunal.  Rima stands up to give his evidence.  You know what his opening line was?  “I te tīmatanga ka moe a Rangi rāua ko Papa” - in the beginning the earth lay with the sky.

And he gave the whakapapa.  From Rangi – he actually went beyond Rangi and Papa down after several stops to Kupe.  So we were at the morning tea when we got to Kupe.  I’m not joking!  And you could see the people starting to fidget.  And he told the story of the adzing out of his waka Matawhaorua, of how he and Kuramarotini and their children – their son Tuputupu whenua and their nieces Matiu and Mākaro, and all of the others voyaged south with the Kaitiaki Araiteuru and Niwa.

By lunchtime we had got past Kupe (who returned to Hawaiki) to Nukutawhiti, his grandson who of course re-adzes Matawhaorua to become Ngatoki matawhaorua.  Nukutawhiti puts 55 people on it and comes back to Aotearoa.  And gives birth to Te Rarawa, or Ngāti Ruanui as they were then called.  Lunch time.  No mention of Panakareao.  Eddie Durie who was the presiding Judge came up to me in the lunch break because you could do that in the Waitangi Tribunal – unheard of elsewhere, but in the Waitangi Tribunal you could have a quiet chat.  He came up to me and said “What’s this about?”  And boy was I sweating!  Because of course I had no idea!  I said “Well, he’s going to get to Panakareao it’s important you have the full background”.  He said just as I had “How long is it gonna take?”.  I said “It won’t be much longer!”  “Just tell him to hurry up!”

Then Rima comes from Nukutawhiti down to Te Pōroa.  That’s – I don’t know – 30 generations.  He doesn’t do it quickly.  He stops every third or fourth generation to tell the story of a particular ancestor.  Then he – cut to the chase, he took a day and a half.  Before we got to questions.  And he said “When Te Pōroa was about to die – and in those days the old people knew when they were going to die – he had to decide to whom he would hand his mana.  Te Pōroa was the big Chief in the southern Ninety Mile Beach area at the time.  The Ahipara area.  He said he had to decide whether to hand his mana down to Te Morenga, a fighting chief, who would later be famous in the Ngapuhi raids south in the 1820s.  Or Panakareao, a statesman, and intellectual.  Te Pōroa decided that he would hand the mana to Panakareao because great tests were coming and Rima said, we needed a peacemaker not a war-maker.  So the mana was handed to Panakareao.  So we finally got to the guy.

And then Rima said “Not long after Panakareao was installed as the leader of his people, two missionaries came over the hill and sat down just by the rugby field over there, he looked through the window from where we were and said there’s a rugby field over there – see that rugby field?  They sat down over there.  Their names were Te Matiu and Te Paki.  Rev Matthews and Rev Puckey.  Panakareao sent his runners out to find out what they wanted, having not seen a missionary before.  They said they wanted to build a mission station so Panakareao bid them come in, sit down and talk about whether some land should be set aside for them for a mission station.

And then Rima said when Panakareao and his people sat down to talk with Te Matiu and Te Paki about whether they should have some land, he was not a blank slate.  He had all the learnings of his people from Rangi and Papa to Kupe to Nuku tawhiti and Te Pōroa.  His connection to this land was as tangible as the umbilical cord of a child.  You cannot tell me that when he said to Te Matiu and Te Paki they could spread the gospel in Kaitaia he was selling them anything.  That was not how Panakareao thought about the whenua.  The whenua was his mana, his ancestor and his chronicle.  And the Tribunal went oh!  I get it now!  And so did I.  Rima had just taught us – taught me – that our first law was Kupe’s Law.  And that it lives still in the ways of the people.  And I knew afterwards – many years later I spoke to Rima about this – that at that point through the patience, courage and learning of that man, we would win that claim.  At that very point we could have packed up and gone home right then.  All he said was Panekareao was a Māori.  Don’t you ever forget that. Panekareao was a Māori. A simple, powerful lesson.

Tauranga Moana

Then Tauranga Moana, Matiu Dickson’s people.  I was acting for Ngāti Hangarau, one of the Ngāti Ranginui hapū  in the Bethlehem area, and of course this was the raupatu claim, and the stories were being told of Gate Pa where the British were soundly beaten and then Te Ranga where Tauranga Moana were routed in a half finished pa.  We went on a site visit as you do in Waitangi Tribunal hearings, and we went to the foot of the Kaimais and looked up and there’s a waterfall there called Te Rere.  And the old people said – the men and some of the women – went into Te Ranga to build the pa to prepare for the second battle after their great victory at Gate Pa.  They sent the women and children and the old people up to Te Rere to wait until the fighting was over.  And they showed us where it was.  Well the women and children and old people waited there at Te Rere, and waited and waited. One woman – I’ve forgotten her name – she was the mother of Te Whareangiangi and the wife of Te Kereti who was fighting at  Te Ranga, was up there waiting for Te Kereti to come back.  After a day or two, the men started coming back.  “E hoki Kuwawa mai” they said.  “Kuwawa” - in a kind of disorganised fashion.  Ma hurehure ana.  In ones and twos, dribs and drabs.  And it was clear that Tauranga Moana had been badly beaten and many had been killed at Te Ranga.  So this woman sat by a rock at the foot of Te Rere and waited and waited and waited.  Te Kereti did not come.  He had been killed.  And on the spot she composed a waiata called Te Tangi mo Te Kereti.  The lament for Te Kereti at which she berates her husband for his stupidity, and leaving her now a widow and their children orphans and probably landless.  It’s the most moving of the old mōteatea.

We went back to the marae at Bethlehem and we had a week of hearings.  At the end of the hearing, the last of the witnesses stood and spoke.  And then a kuia stood and began to sing Te Tangi o Te Kereti.  The whole place stood and delivered this stunning, powerful, sad waiata.  All crying, all in tears.  And it was so moving Crown Counsel started to cry.  I was certainly crying.  And then the Tribunal started to cry.  I will never forget that moment. Not because of the poignancy, because you get that in Waitangi Tribunal claims – it’s one of the great things about that process.  It’s what happened after that.  It’s when we were cleaning up the whare after the hearings the people looked to me as though a weight had fallen off their shoulders.  Reflecting on it at the time, I think it was because they saw that the Tribunal and the Crown had felt their pain.  They saw it in a very practical way as those people who were supposed to be their enemy were as moved by their loss as Ngāti Hangarau were themselves.  So it taught me that in the work of the law, we can sometimes assist in empowering communities when the sense of their own grief is understood by those who must make amends.

Ahuriri

Then the Ahuriri claim.  North of Heretaunga/Hastings, south of Te Wai o Hinganga.  Sort of Bayview area.  Chad’s people.  Although everyone assumes he’s from Te Arawa, he’s actually Ngāti Kahungunu.  I remember the defining memory I have of that claim before I share it with you, is sitting on the porch of Kahuranaki whare.  In Te Hauke.  Talking to a koroua named Joe Pohatu.  Some of you from that area might remember Joe Pohatu.  He was a really cool guy and man could he whakapapa.

We sat there and I was preparing the case for the Ahuriri claim, and I said “Well can you just explain to me how the tribes are connected?”.  And old Joe sat on his chair and closed his eyes and, boy, I can tell you it was like a screen popped up in front of him.  And he started to weave this whakapapa from Tamaki Nui a Rua (from Dannevirke), all the way to Rongomaiwahine in Mahia.  And centred it on the Ahuriri block.  It was brilliant.  He was Rangikoianake, Whatuiapiti, Te Hapuku’s people.  And he wove Kahungunu together – you could actually see him doing this.  Me tiki atu au ki te tatai o mea – let me reach out for the line of so and so and then he would reach out and grab this imaginary strand of a web with his hands and hold it in front of himself.  Never opened his eyes.  Physically bringing the line to the centre with his hands like this, and then he would get one of the main lines from the Ahuriri people and say join them like that, and say “these were the marriages”.  And he wove the people together from Dannevirke to Mahia.  It took an afternoon to get through it all and, boy, did I wish I had a Dictaphone!

We got to give the Tribunal the essence of his evidence the following week at Omāhu marae but what really struck me was that for this old man and his generation, the whenua is clothed in whakapapa.  Literally clothed in whakapapa.  It’s as if there was a grid sitting over the land of marriages and lines that connected the people to the whenua, whenua to the people, and the people to each other.  It was an extraordinary feat – I don’t know how many names he recited to me, but it would literally have been hundreds.  Until he whittled it down to the five main lines he wanted to work with and he said “We'll use these five lines to explain to the Tribunal how the Ahuriri block was important to southern Ngāti Kahungunu and northern Ngāti Kahungunu.  Just like that.

It dawned on me at that stage that Joe Pohatu was a tikanga lawyer even though he was employed as a freezing worker.  But in the old days, he would have been a custom lawyer. It would have been he who established the rights of people in particular areas.  It would have been he who proved to the communities that such and such a whanau or such and such a hapu were entitled to their land there, or there, or there.  He would have been the repository of that knowledge.  He would have been Joe Pohatu, LLB.

All of this, I think, represented kaumātua and communities expressing their mana in a legal process.  This is – and I think in the last 30 years anyway, and I suggest to you going forward – how Māori lawyers and Māori laws will continue to help in the reconstruction of Māori communities now.

Te Turuki Te Rangipatahi

Let me end with one last story.  One of my favourites.  I’m going to jump now from my time as a lawyer and some of the things that I saw that really changed the trajectory of my life in the hope that you, through that, can see your own role.  Through to my time as a Judge.  I want to tell just one story that has had an equally powerful effect on me.  The story starts on the 17th November 1865 in a place called Waerenga a Hika.  150 settler militia and 500 Ngāti Porou under the command of Major Ropata Wahawaha around the sides of the pa and inside it are 800 locals – 300 of them women and children.  Waerenga a Hika is just outside Gisborne.  The siege lasts for five days.  71 are killed – half of those inside escaped and about half are captured.  A man called Te Turuki Te Rangipatahi of Rongowhakaata is arrested, although he wasn’t in the pa.  He was arrested as a spy, said to be carrying ammunition and guns and intelligence into the pa where his brother was.  He claimed to be fighting on the Crown’s side.  Te Turuki Te Rangipatahi was a skilled, literate, ‘super cargo’, which is the person who organises and manages the loading and shipping of cargo.  He was in competition with a local Gisborne merchant named Read.  Te Turuki Te Rangipatahi was an owner of land called Matawhero.  You’ll recognise the wine.  And wine is grown on that land.  Where the captain of the local militia, a man named Captain Biggs would soon live.

Te Turuki was also known as Te Kooti Rikirangi, that’s how you’ll know him.  He was jailed along with those in the pa and sent off to jail in Napier.  Held there from December until March 1866.  He wrote to the government.  He said look, “What do you say I’ve done?  If you were to try me before a Judge, you will find I am innocent.”  And he signed it Te Kooti.  Kuini Māori.  But no, he along with 180 other Pai Marire Hauhau fighters were sent to the Chathams, to Wharekauri, on board Te Kira, the St Kilda.  Two years held there, no charge, no trial.  Te Kooti contracts tuberculosis and in the fever, has a series of religious visions that transform him into a spiritual leader.  At the end of the two year period they decide that they would hijack the next boat out – the Rifleman.  In July 1868 they hijack the ship, and sail to New Zealand landing at Whareongaonga south of Gisborne.  All 300 of them.  They head to Taupo trying to establish, he says, his tapenekara – his tabernacle at Lake Taupō by the Rev Grace’s mission.  But Tūhoe turned him back. And Tawhiao says “You’re not coming into the King Country”.  Tūhoe had just got their butts kicked at Ōrakau with Rewi Maniapoto.  And wanted no more trouble.  Nor did Tawhaio.  So Te Kooti turns and heads back into Matawhero and wreaks his old testament messianic vengeance on 30 Pakeha, including Biggs, who was living on his land, and 20 Māori who he considered to be turncoats and informers.  He was in colonial Aotearoa, in 1868, Osama Bin Laden.  That is no exaggeration.  He was their version of Osama Bin Laden to the settlors.

A series of battles are fought which culminate in January 1869 at a rocky precipice pa called Ngatapa.  Where 300 of Te Kooti’s people are ensconsed, including about 150 of his people and about 150 prisoners that he had taken from Rongowhakaata up with him.  They were besieged by 313 armed constabulary, 60 Te Arawa Flying Column, under the leadership of Captain Gilbert Mair, and 370 Ngāti Porou under Major Wahawaha.  One mistake – they had no source of water in the pa, and before long the siege breaks.  Te Kooti and 30 others are enabled to escape.  I think what actually happened is the rest of the people in the pa sacrificed themselves in order to allow Te Kooti and his closest supporters to escape.  Most jump off the precipice and are either killed in the fall or recaptured because they’re too weak from lack of food and drink to run.  They are taken back up to the top of Ngatapa.  The Waitangi Tribunal found that between 86 and 120 of them were executed, without charge or trial.  Trooper Tombleson records in his notes his disgust at what he saw.  He says THEY WERE SHOT –capital letters.  THEY WERE SHOT – SHOT LIKE DOGS.  This, he says with shame, is British justice.  Nonetheless, Te Kooti gets away.  He’s adopted eventually by Tūhoe who say that he will be their prophet, and he finds refuge with them, and then Maniapoto and Tawhiao in the King Country on condition that he promises to stop fighting.  While he’s in the King Country he builds the Ringatu church with which you’ll be familiar.

Following the land wars in 1883 there’s a decision in Wellington to pardon the rebels.  In a deal to open the King Country, Tawhiao and Rewi Maniapoto insist, that Te Kooti be included in the deal and pardoned.  So the deal was the King Country would be opened up, but Te Kooti would be included in the pardon.  I think both Tawhiao and Rewi were thinking ‘who would rid me of this troublesome priest?’  He was starting to get on their nerves.

In 1888, Te Kooti decides he’s going to go back to Gisborne.  He leaves with about 40 people from the King Country.  By the time he gets to Opotiki, there’s about 300.  People have come from Hawke’s Bay, Hauraki, the Northern Bay of Plenty and elsewhere to join him in this hikoi back to Turanga.  He’s arrested by Inspector Wirrell at the Waioeka River.  Not charged with anything, but bound over to keep the peace on a surety of £1500 which he couldn’t pay of course.  So he’s taken to Mt Eden.  Two days after he gets out he finds a lawyer named Napier who for the payment of two mere– which I think are now held in the Auckland museum – agrees to argue the case that the arrest and sureties were illegal, that he was being peaceful, that any problem with disturbance of the peace – any disruption – was a problem of the settlers, not the Māori.

In a famous case called Te Kooti v Wirrell, that is fought out.  In the High Court a good Irish Judge named Connolly finds for Te Kooti.  I suspect – I don’t know – but it’s the Irishness that got him there.  He says these people were travelling peacefully, any problem was a problem of the settlers, not Te Kooti.  The Crown appeals and the Court of Appeal overturns that decision.  Justice Richmond says that Te Kooti was not just a dangerous prophet; he was a savage and “a drunken one to boot”.  Interestingly, Richmond’s brother was the native minister at the time of the attack on Ngatapa and himself ordered the attack.  Te Kooti was to be dead two years later.

In those three years he built up the teachings and liturgy of his church.  And it’s one of his whakatauki that is the theme for our hui.  This was a man who was arrested and jailed without charge on a trumped up allegation that was really about resolving the commercial competition between him and Mr Read.  His land was confiscated without proof that he was involved in a rebellion.  The famous house that he helped to build with his uncle Raharuhi Rukupo had been stolen by Richmond, dismantled and sent to Wellington and is now still on display at Te Papa, Te Hau ki Turanga.  His people, hundreds of them, were either killed in battle or summarily executed.  He was pardoned and then arrested for trying to go home - a place to which he was never able to return.  And yet – and yet – he said to his people at the end “Ka kuhu au ki te ture, hei matua mō te pani” – I seek refuge in the law for it is a parent to the oppressed.

When I first heard that story I thought what?  How could he do that?  How could he say that?  The law had given him nothing but grief.  I think he was on the journey that we, at a much safer level, are also on.  You see, he saw hope in the law that surpasses all other paths to justice.  He tried the alternatives, and they led to a trail of blood.  He knew that with all of its problems, with all of its human frailties, with all of its biases and imbalances, the law is our best chance for peace.  So:  Ka kuhu au ki te ture, hei matua mō te pani.  And I hope you do too.

A generation has passed and you are the new generation.  I look around me and all I can do is feel old!  You are the new generation of, if you think of Te Kooti’s waiata,  Pinepine Te Kura, he stole from Ngāti Kahungunu, tēnei te tira hou, tēnei te haramai.  Here is the new generation.  Here you are.  Much has been done in this last generation, learned colleagues.  Much has been done.  But this teaches us only that our journey has just begun.  And the jury is out on whether the end point of this journey will be happy or not.  We’ve come too far to not go further.  We’ve done too much to not do more.  So lift your heads up and look to the horizon now.  Can you see that island yet? Have you given thought to your role in getting us there? Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou.