Editorial: Deal with Tuhoe a beginning to healing

By Greg Taipari

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Imagine if you will, you are dragged off your land by a military force. Your family, neighbours and community were either murdered or starved and the land you owned was confiscated from you.

Let's just stretch that imagination a little further and pretend you aren't happy with the treatment and you decide to protest about it and the government arrests you and your children and places you into a cold prison cell. It's a terrible thought and thank goodness it doesn't happen here - now.

For Tuhoe, a wound which has been festering for more than 135 years will begin to heal, when the iwi sign their Deed of Settlement with the Government in Wellington this morning.

For some, Pakeha and Tuhoe, there is some resentment to the Treaty settlement. Some Pakeha believe the colonial past should be consigned to the history books, while some Tuhoe believe it is too little, too late.

Both sides could argue they have legitimate arguments to claim they are right and no matter what compromises were brought, they would never agree to this historic event.

Although these two parties are from the furthest sides of the spectrum, what they should remember is Tuhoe's $170 million financial package and a significant influence over the management of Te Urewera National Park doesn't entirely make up for the confiscation of the iwi's lands, the execution of unarmed prisoners or the scorched earth policy used on Tuhoe. But it is a start to helping the healing process.

What does need to be acknowledged is Tuhoe's willingness to compromise and the Crown's commitment to settling the iwi's Treaty claims.

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi (with your basket and mine the iwi will live).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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