Te Urewera raids not forgotten

  • 15/10/2017

Ten years ago, armed police stormed the tiny Bay of Plenty settlement of Rūātoki, in what became known as the Urewera raids.

The trauma visited upon the people of Rūātoki that day was the third time in 150 years the Crown had invaded Tūhoe.

A decade on from the raids the relationship between Crown and the tribe known as the 'Children of The Mist' is still shrouded in mistrust and mamae.

Resident Huka Williams remembers the terror of that morning like it was yesterday.

"When you've got guns and when you've got the red lights on your heart and on your head, then you know there's something wrong. You know if you do something wrong then you're going to be shot," she told Three's The Hui.

Ms Williams' granddaughter Whetumarama Purewa was six years old at the time. Ten years on she still hasn't forgotten the ordeal of Operation 8.

"I still feel hurt, I think all of us still feel hurt, we all still feel that trauma that they done to us, not just to us, the things like they pointed guns at them and they didn't even do anything wrong."

Tūhoe believe the raids were the latest affront to an already fractious relationship with the Crown since the 'scorched earth' campaign where police burnt down houses and crops, killing hundreds of Tūhoe people.

Tamati Kruger, chairman of Te Uru Taumatua, says they managed to progress their Treaty claim despite the pain and have since settled.

Mr Kruger says that although Tame Iti is looking to have his name pardoned, he doesn't think it's necessary as Tūhoe never did anything wrong.

"Something I'm very proud of - to be a descendant of people that fought the Crown and fought the tyranny of colonialism. I would never ever think that I would need to seek a pardon for that."

The Hui