The Government is formally apologising to Ngati Ruanui for loss of life and land during the Taranaki wars.
Treaty negotiations minister Margaret Wilson was to read out the apology today at Pariroa Pa near Hawera to acknowledge breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
"The crown profoundly regrets, and unreservedly apologises to Ngati Ruanui, for its actions which have resulted in the loss of life and the virtual landlessness of Ngati Ruanui in Taranaki and have caused suffering and hardship to Ngati Ruanui over the generations to the present day," Ms Wilson said.
The text of the apology was agreed with the iwi and included in the Ngati Ruanui Claims Settlement Act. The settlement includes a combination of cash and crown-owned land worth a total $41 million.
The Waitangi Tribunal found Ngati Ruanui were a prosperous people who had held on to their land until 1860. The Taranaki wars of the 1860 then resulted in great loss of life including many people imprisoned for treason after surrender.
All of southern Taranaki was confiscated in an 1863 law without compensation.
Following this a number of Ngati Ruanui settled at Parihaka where a passive resistance campaign began. This ended in 1881 when 1600 people were forcibly expelled.
Ms Wilson said during the passage of the law that the background to the claim made sombre reading.
"There is no doubt the crown behaved atrociously toward Ngati Ruanui and its actions had a prejudicial impact on their development throughout the past 160 years," she said.
Ms Wilson said today she was "privileged" to make the apology.
"As important as that gesture is, it is equally important the crown now makes good on its promises to be better treaty partner in the future."
The iwi were presented with two photographs both taken on the steps of Parliament. One during the 1950s when an unsuccessful petition for redress was made and this year at the third reading of the bill.
Text of the apology
"The crown profoundly regrets, and unreservedly apologises to Ngati Ruanui, for its actions which have resulted in the loss of life during the Taranaki wars and the virtual landlessness of Ngati Ruanui in Taranaki and have caused suffering and hardship to Ngati Ruanui over the generations to the present day.
"The crown profoundly regrets, and unreservedly apologises for, the destructive and demoralising effects of its unconscionable actions on Ngati Ruanui which, over the generations to the present day, have undermined the basis of their society and autonomy and have had a devastating impact on their economy and development.
"The crown profoundly regrets its failure to acknowledge the mana, manawhenua, and rangatiratanga of Ngati Ruanui.
"The crown apologises to Ngati Ruanui for all the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles acknowledged by the crown in Part 7 of the deed of settlement.
"Accordingly, the crown seeks to atone for these wrongs, and to begin the process of healing with the settlement, and looks forward to building a relationship of mutual trust and co-operation with Ngati Ruanui."
The Act also records the apology in Maori.