The people of Parihaka have been given a long-awaited apology by the Crown for actions in the late 1800s at a reconciliation ceremony attended by hundreds.

Attorney General Chris Finlayson delivered the apology, saying acknowledging the suffering the Crown's actions caused for many generations at Parihaka was an important part of reconciliation, but looking forward was also important.

"For the vision of Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai was not one of protest and resistance. Theirs was a vision of self-determination, co-operation and peace.

"In the past, the Crown felt threatened by that vision and sought to undermine it. Today the Crown comes to Parihaka to make a contribution to the fulfilment of that vision.

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"Parihaka has waited a long time for this day."

In a symbolic move, the Crown party was met at Parihaka by children singing - an echo back to the invasion of the township by Crown military forces on November 5, 1881. On that day, the troops were greeted by children performing a haka and singing before being offered loaves of bread baked for them. The troops sacked much of the village and arrested the leaders as well as many of the men.

It was also acknowledged in the formal apology, which referred to the songs and gifts of food as their village was destroyed.

"The Crown now joins Parihaka in paying tribute to the men, women and children who responded to the Crown's tyranny with dignity, discipline and immense courage."

The Crown apology spoke of the goals of Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, saying while Parihaka had promoted peaceful engagement between Maori and Pakeha, "the Crown responded to peace with tyranny, to unity with division, and to autonomy with oppression".

It apologised in particular for imprisoning Parihaka residents for acts of passive resistance, such as ploughing settlers' fields, with imprisonment without trial and for the sacking of Parihaka in 1881, including forcible evictions, desecrating homes and sacred buildings. It also apologised for the rape by Crown troops after that invasion "and for the immeasurable and enduring harm that this caused to the women of Parihaka, their families and their uri (descendants) until the present day".

It addressed the arrests and detention of Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi for 16 months without trial.

The formal apology was part of a reconciliation package for the community, including a Deed of Reconciliation and $9 million for Parihaka to use for their development - including new buildings, as well as archaeological work.

It is aimed at continuing the legacy of the community's founding prophets Te Whiti and Tohu Kakahi, who set up Parihaka in 1866 after being forced off their own lands during the Land Wars.

The Parihaka agreement was not a Treaty of Waitangi settlement because the community is made up of people from several iwi.

Finlayson said despite that, the reconciliation with Parihaka was an important step in addressing the historic grievances in Taranaki.

Finlayson said the events at Parihaka were among the most shameful in the history of the country, but were not well understood. He said the Crown's actions left the people "impoverished, demoralised and vilified," causing harm for generations of Maori in the Taranaki.

Legislation will be introduced to Parliament for the reconciliation package to take effect.

The full text of the Apology in English and te reo Maori:

Crown Apology
In 1866, the settlement of Parihaka was established as a final refuge for Taranaki hapū whose homes and cultivations had been repeatedly destroyed by Crown troops, and who had recently suffered the indiscriminate confiscation of traditional lands that had sustained them and their tupuna for generations, and which formed the very bedrock of their identity.

At a time of unprecedented loss and continuing Crown violence, the people of Parihaka chose to establish their new community under principles of compassion, equality, unity, and self-sufficiency. Under the leadership of Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, the community at Parihaka asserted their customary rights to land and political autonomy through symbolic acts of protest while promoting peaceful engagement between Māori and Pākehā. Parihaka became a place of refuge and a source of inspiration for thousands of people from across Taranaki and from elsewhere in Aotearoa.

The Crown acknowledges that it failed to recognise or respect the vision of self-determination and partnership that Parihaka represented. The Crown responded to peace with tyranny, to unity with division, and to autonomy with oppression.

The Crown therefore offers its deepest apologies to the people of Parihaka for all its failures, and in particular for the following actions:

• For imprisoning Parihaka residents for their participation in the ploughing and fencing campaigns of 1879 and 1880, and for promoting laws that breached natural justice by enabling those protestors to be held in South Island jails without trial for periods that assumed the character of indefinite detention;

• For depriving those political prisoners of their basic human rights, and for inflicting unwarranted hardships both on them and on members of their whānau and hapu who remained behind and sustained Parihaka in their absence;

• For invading Parihaka in November 1881, forcibly evicting many people who had sought refuge there, dismantling and desecrating their homes and sacred buildings, stealing heirlooms, and systematically destroying their cultivations and livestock;

• For the rapes committed by Crown troops in the aftermath of the invasion, and for the immeasurable and enduring harm that this caused to the women of Parihaka, their families, and their uri until the present day;

• For the arrest and detention of Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai for 16 months without trial in the South Island;

• For its imposition of a pass system which regulated entry into Parihaka, denied residents the freedom of movement, and prevented supporters from providing Parihaka with supplies following the invasion;

• For compounding these injustices by returning land under a regime that deprived owners of control and ultimately the ownership of much of the Parihaka reserves, and which remain in place to this day.

The Crown denied Parihaka the right to develop and sustain itself on its own terms, and then failed for many years to address the resulting grievances in an appropriate way. The Crown profoundly regrets these actions, which have burdened the people of Parihaka with an intergenerational legacy of grievance and deprivation, and which have burdened the Crown with a legacy of shame.

On the 7th day of November every year, the whānau of Parihaka come together to remember those tupuna who, in 1881, met the Crown's soldiers with songs and gifts of food, and who honoured their commitment to peace while their homes and gardens were destroyed and leaders imprisoned.

The Crown now joins Parihaka in paying tribute to the men, women, and children who responded to the Crown's tyranny with dignity, discipline and immense courage. It is the Crown's sincerest hope that through this apology, Parihaka and the Crown can now acknowledge their shared past, move beyond it, and begin to work together to fulfil the vision of peaceful coexistence that Tohu and Te Whiti described.

He whakapāha hukihuki nā te Karauna ki a Parihaka
I ngā tau i muri tata mai i te kī taurangi ki te Māori, e kore nei e whakararurarungia tana pupuri ki ngā whenua i pīrangitia ai e ia, ka tīmata tā te Karauna āta pāhua i te tangata whenua o Taranaki. Nā te kirimana hoko, nā te riri ā-patu, nā te muru me te ture hoki i riro ai i te Karauna ngā whenua mōmona o Taranaki, me te aha, noho ai tana iwi i roto i te rawakore, i te ngākau-kore, i roto hoki i te whakahariharitaetanga. Ka whakaū te Karauna i ana whakapāha ki te iwi o Taranaki mō te nui o ana korenga i hāpai i ngā mātāpono o te mahi tahi me te mahi pono e whakatinanatia nei e te Tiriti o Waitangi, mō te nui whakaharahara hoki o te kino i hua ake i aua mahi rā ki ngā whakatipuranga Māori o roto o Taranaki.

I tēnei wā, e tāpae ana te Karauna i te whakapāha e whai ake nei ki te iwi o Parihaka o mua, o nāianei hoki.

I te tau 1866, kua whakatūria te pā o Parihaka hei punanga whakamutunga mō ngā hapū o Taranaki, i rite tonu rā te ukuukua o ō rātou nei kāinga me ā rātou nei māra e ngā hōia o te Karauna, ka mutu, nō nā tata tonu rā rātou i pāngia kinotia ai e te muru kurī noa ihotanga o ngā papa kāinga nā reira i ora ai rātou me ō rātou tūpuna mō te hia whakatipuranga, i noho rā hoki hei tūāpapa ukiuki mō tō rātou tuakiri.

I te pāhuatanga kāore anō i kitea i mua, i te rere tonutanga hoki o te tūkino a te Karauna, ka whakatau te iwi o Parihaka ki te whakatū i tō rātou kāinga hou i raro i ngā mātāpono o te aroha, o te tauritenga, o te kotahitanga me te tino rangatiratanga. I raro i te ārahitanga a Tohu Kākahi rāua ko Te Whiti o Rongomai, ka whakaū te iwi o Parihaka i tō rātou mana ki te whenua, i tō rātou mana motuhake hoki mā te tohe whai tikanga i a rātou e whakatairanga ana i te rangimārie ki waenga i te Māori me te Pākehā. Ka noho a Parihaka hei punanga, hei whakahihiritanga hoki i te tini tāngata puta noa i Taranaki, otirā, i Aotearoa whānui tonu.

E whakaae ana te Karauna i tino kore rawa atu nei ia i whakaae, i whakamana rānei i te whakakitenga o te tino rangatiratanga me te noho tahi i whakatauiratia rā e Parihaka. Ko tā te Karauna urupare ki te rangimārie ko te ngarengare, ki te kotahitanga ko te whakawehewehe, ki te mana motuhake ko te tāmitanga.

Nō reira, e tāpaetia nei e te Karauna tana whakapāha nui whakaharahara ki te iwi o Parihaka i ōna hapa katoa, otirā, i ēnei mahi e whai ake nei:

• I te mauheretanga o ngā tāngata o Parihaka mō tā rātou whai wāhi ki ngā mahi parau me te whakatū taiapa o te tau 1879 me te tau 1880, i te hāpai ture hoki e takahi ana i te tika me te pono mā te tuku kia mauheretia aua tāngata ki ngā whare herehere o Te Waipounamu me te kore i whakawāngia mō ōna wā e kīia ai tērā he mauheretanga whakawā-kore;
• I te korenga o te mana tangata o aua mauhere ā-tōrangapū i manaakitia, i te whiunga take-koretanga nei hoki o rātou tahi ko ērā o ō rātou whānau me ō rātou hapū, i mahue iho rā ki te ukauka i te pā o Parihaka i tō rātou tamōtanga, ki te whakawiritanga;
• I te pāhuatanga o Parihaka i te marama o Noema, i te tau 1881, e peia rā te tokomaha i āta haere ai ki reira ki te kimi āhurutanga, e turakina ai, e hāparutia ai hoki ō rātou kāinga me ō rātou whare tapu, e tāhaetia ai ngā kura tongarewa, e āta ukuukua ai ā rātou ngakinga me ngā kararehe;
• I ngā pāwheratanga a ngā hōia o te Karauna i muri mai i te pāhuatanga, me te taumaha hārukiruki, me te roa o te mamae o tēnei tūāhuatanga i pā atu ki ngā wāhine o Parihaka, ki ō rātou whānau me ō rātou uri ā mohoa nei;
• I te hopunga me te mauheretanga o Tohu Kākahi rāua ko Te Whiti o Rongomai i Te Waipounamu mō te tekau mā ono marama, me te korenga i whakawāngia;
• I tāna whakature i tētahi pūnaha whakauru e whakarite ana i te urunga ki Parihaka, e whakakore ana i tā ngā tāngata whenua haereere noa, e aukati ana hoki i tā te hunga tautoko tuku i ngā ō ki Parihaka i muri mai i te pāhuatanga;
• I tana whakahē kē atu i ēnei takahitanga o te ture mā te whakahoki whenua i raro i tētahi kaupapa nā reira i kore ai i noho ki ngā tāngata whenua te mana whakahaere, otirā, te rangatiratanga o te maha o ngā whenua rāhui o Parihaka, e mau tonu nei i tēnei rā.

Nā te Karauna i takahi te mana o Parihaka ki te whakawhanake, ki te ukauka hoki i a ia anō i runga i tāna i pai ai, ka mutu, kāore hoki i tika te whakatauria o ngā whakamau i hua mai ai mō te hia tau nei. Inā te ngoto o te whakapāha a te Karauna i ēnei mahi kua whakataumaha nei i te iwi o Parihaka ki te whakamau me te takaonge tuku iho mō te hia whakatipuranga, kua here nei hoki i te Karauna ki te whakamā tuku iho.

I te 7 o ngā rā o Noema, i ia tau, karapinepine ai ngā whānau o Parihaka ki te maumahara ki ngā tūpuna nā rātou nei i tāpae atu te waiata me te koha kai ki ngā hōia o te Karauna, i te tau 1881, ā, nā rātou nei hoki i whakahei tā rātou ū ki te maungārongo i te wā tonu e ukuukutia ana ō rātou kāinga, ā rātou ngakinga, i te wā anō hoki e mauheretia ana ō rātou rangatira.

I tēnei wā, e tū ana te Karauna i te taha o Parihaka ki te mihi ki ngā tāne, ki ngā wāhine, ki ngā tamariki hoki i utu rā i tō te Karauna ngarengare ki te tū rangatira, ki te whakawhenuatanga me te māia whakaharahara. Ko te tino tūmanako o te Karauna, mā tēnei whakapāha e wātea ai a Parihaka me te Karauna ki te whai whakaaro ki tō rāua ao o mua, e anga whakamua ai, e tīmata ai hoki tā rāua mahi tahi ki te whakatinana i te tūrua pō mō te rangimārie o te noho tahitanga i kōrerotia rā e Tohu rāua ko Te Whiti.