Pain felt 100 years on from Tuhoe arrest


One-hundred years ago this weekend, police stormed a Tuhoe settlement to arrest a man known as a Maori prophet.

The arrest of Rua Kenana and the fatal shooting of his son was a blight on relations between Tuhoe and the Crown.

A century on, the incident is not forgotten, and nor is the message of peace he preached.

Sodden skies on a sombre day as Tuhoe recreated a dark moment in its history -- this weekend marks a century since police stormed the hills arresting Mr Kenana and shooting his son and another man dead.

"It's a huge event for them because the stigma that was associated with that day, and also Rua Kenana, the charges laid against his followers, stay with those people right through to now," says Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.

The raid by 70 armed police affected Tuhoe for decades, as told in the movie Rain of the Children.

His arrest was later ruled illegal, but not before Mr Kenana was sent to jail and the village he built was left to ruin.

A century on, and strong emotions remain.

"The pain that the people have carried all these years," says Lenny Te Kaawa from Ngai Tuhoe.

Mr Kenana claimed to be the successor of the rebel Te Kooti -- a spiritual leader and brutal warrior. But while Te Kooti was a fighter, Mr Kenana was a pacifist.

He built a village and a movement at Maungapohatu, with its own bank, courthouse and parliament, but that independence caught the Government's eye.

"The only problem was the Crown actually saw him as a threat because they could see he was managing things like how they would've, and even better," says Kirituia Tumarae Ngai Tuhoe.

While the prophet is long gone, the movement he created lives on among Tuhoe at Maungapohatu.

"The legacy is a staunch belief in the whole notion of peace and living together in harmony," says Mr Flavell.

And though the violence of 100 years ago is not forgotten, peace has returned to this village in the mist.


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