The Anglican Church has apologised for encouraging government efforts to suppress Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana nearly 100 years ago.
In 1907, the church passed a motion that supported "the recent action of the Government in the direction of the suppression of tohungism (traditional Maori healing), and trusts that it may be possible for the Church to make more aggressive action among the tribes which are specifically affected by this evil".
The current Bishop of Waiapu, the Rt Rev John Bluck, said the Church's stance contributed to an environment that in 1915 saw Rua Kenana arrested at Maungapohatu, east of Ruatahuna, and face one of the longest trials in New Zealand history.
Rua Kenana set up a at Maungapohatu in 1905. Authorities saw Rua Kenana as a disruptive influence and targeted him with the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907, which banned traditional Maori healers.
Yesterday the annual synod of the Diocese of Waiapu in Napier passed a motion apologising for the 1907 decision.
In May, Bishop Bluck, Archbishop Brown Turei and Church members made a pilgrimage to Maungapohatu. The Maungapohatu people, and the church, wanted to move on, Bishop Bluck said.
The Church plans to contribute to the rebuilding of the Maungapohatu marae and to scholarships for pupils to attend Hukarere Girls and Te Aute colleges.