Regional | Apology

Rua Kēnana followers and descendants want to revive Iharaira faith

Followers and descendants of Tūhoe prophet Rua Kēnana want to revive their Israelite religion. They gathered for their last whānau hui in Rotorua, ahead of a statutory apology they will soon receive, for the illegal wrong-doings by the crown to their spiritual leader and his followers over a century ago.

Rua Kēnana followers and descendants are elated the mana and reputation of their leader will be restored.

"We want to erect a new Israelite church as in the times our elders. A central place for our children and grandchildren to uphold our faith," said Dan Hiramana-Rua, great grandson of Rua.
Peho Tamiana Tawa, elder of Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki o Iharara me Ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu trust committee says, "By the sweat of your brow will you have food. That ethos was birthed from scripture. Erect a shelter. Your sustenance comes from the land. That starts with prayer. Prayer for turning soil, planting, cultivating, gathering and harvesting. That's how Maungapōhatu thrived. These customs aren't happening, bring it back. "

The descendants and remaining followers of Rua's Israelite religion gave their submission for a Statutory Pardon for Rua at last years 100-year commemorations of the invasion of Maungapōhatu

Researcher, Taiarahia Black says, "For the crown to say that we will never return to terrorise as we did that day. We were wrong. Hearing this will settle their wrong-doing."

In 1916 crown troops invaded Rua's Maungapōhatu community. They arrested him and seven others. His son Toko and relation Te Maipi were shot dead. Rua was imprisoned for nearly two years.

"Our research validates the wrong done by the crown centuries ago. To highlight in writing this is the law you created which violated our rights and the year it happened, such as the Rebellious Act 1863," said researcher Black.

There are four parts to the Crown's apology:

-  For the illegal arrests, detention, interrogation and unwarranted incarceration of their tūpuna;

-  The irrefutable damage to the character, mana and reputation of these tūpuna, Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki o Iharaira and the Maungapōhatu Community;

-  The deep hurt suffered as a result of the illegal invasion;

-  The deep shame and stigma they have carried.

The government will soon set a date for the apology to take place at Maungapōhatu next month.