Rua Kenana officially pardoned 103 years after imprisonment

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy has officially pardoned 20th-century pacifist Rua Kenana.

The religious leader was unlawfully imprisoned during one of the worst Crown invasions in history, where 70 armed officers invaded his Maungapōhatu settlement.

Saturday was emotional for Rua Kenana's descendants. Mana, finally restored for him and his people. A ceremony 103 years in the making.

In 1916, the Crown violently invaded the Tuhoe prophet's settlement in Te Urewera and accused him of trying to stop Māori men being conscripted into the armed forces.

"He was obviously a man of great charisma and passion and great power, but he was unjustly arrested and unfairly treated, but now we have resolved that," Dame Patsy said.

Earlier this week, the Rua Kenana Pardon Bill went to it's third and final reading at Parliament. On Saturday, Dame Patsy signed the pardon. An apology and Crown acknowledgement of wrongdoing is now official.

"As I read the story and learned a little about what Rua Kenana and his people had endured, I found it compelling to come here in person," said Dame Patsy.

Iwi says it finally brings some closure for the atrocities brought upon the Tuhoe people, including murder and rape.

"There's a bit of sadness, in the happiness, I guess in the joy of this occasion," said Poipoi Te Kaawa.

Te Kaawa just wants more New Zealanders to know about what happened.

A 103-year-old pain, now finally able to heal.