Koia Mārika


Tāmati Kruger, chair of Tūhoe’s tribal body Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, gave the 2017 Bruce Jesson Lecture, Koia Mārika (So It Will Be),  on 31 October at the University of Auckland.

No summary can do justice to this very profound speech.  Every word of Tāmati Kruger’s speech is measured, and to be treasured.   We can only highlight some phrases and ideas we remember which made a particular impact on us.

Tāmati Kruger talked with deep, quiet passion about the challenges facing Tūhoe today as they work to reclaim their Mana Motuhake- their self determination.

This Mana Motuhake will abandon dependency- an addiction bigger than “P”, and embrace interdependency and maximum autonomy and restore the meaning of Maori: beautiful, natural, commonplace”

The Crown disrupted Tūhoe in every way possible  over the years since the Treaty was signed.  Tūhoe were deliberately persecuted, partly because they insisted on their own autonomy and resisted demands for land purchases,  as well as becoming a sanctuary for other iwi and leaders.  From the early 1860s on,  Tuhoe  experienced invasion and slaughter, razing of villages and destruction of crops, alienation of land through deceit and trickery, illegal arrest of leaders, and, in 2007, the illegal and unjustifiable police raids on Ruatoki.  

“We are a disrupted people as a result of colonisation for 177 years,” said Tāmati  Disrupted… diseased… despairing… distrustful… distressed….  In order to recover, we need to be de-stressed, because we are at war with our own survival… the hurt is so deep and grievous…we need to unlearn despair and distrust, and re-learn responsibility and humility….Optimism is our friend- in order to save ourselves…”

The Tūhoe Treaty Claim took 20 years to settle, but it does not provide solutions.  “Tūhoe are not asking the Crown for solutions.  The Crown is not in the business of justice…or love… Tuhoe must create and maintain  those amongst themselves.  The Crown can only create legislation, delete bad legislation, and deliver some resources.”

Tāmati Kruger’s lecture was not only a lament for an anguished past- it was a powerful description of how the iwi are working to establish their new mana motuhake.  Their insistence on a new legal way of defining Te Urewera is revolutionary: 

 Te Urewera, named a national park in 1954 and most recently managed as Crown land by the Department of Conservation, became Te Urewera on 27 July 2014: “a legal entity” with “all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person” (section 11(1)). Te Urewera Act is undoubtedly legally revolutionary here in Aotearoa New Zealand and on a world scalehttp://maorilawreview.co.nz/2014/10/tuhoe-crown-settlement-te-urewera-act-2014/ )

But there are still struggles for Tūhoe in trying to to implement “Te Kawa o Te Urewera” – the agreed management plan for Te Urewera.  “The Crown has  its ‘Machine’ – a bureaucracy with an instinct to control and no memory of promises, for example the Department of Conservation, which doesn’t want to give resources to something it doesn’t  ‘own’.”

He also celebrated the iwi’s triumphs- especially Te Kura Whare, their new tribal headquarters in Taneatua  which is the first building in the Southern Hemisphere to complete the Living Building Institute Challenge:

“The Living Building Challenge (LBC) comprises seven performance areas: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. It calls for the creation of building projects … that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature architecture.  This approach is consistent with Tūhoe values and principles. Te Kura Whare is the physical representation of these elements. ”  ( http://www.ngaituhoe.iwi.nz/te-kura-whare


This building is not only beautiful, but is made almost entirely from local natural resources, produces its own power, and is zero waste.  Many local people participated in its construction, and those from outside respected the people and the kaupapa.  There are plans for new Tuhoe villages based on the same principles.

And finally Tāmati  described the work Tūhoe need to do among themselves remembering that there are 40,000 Tūhoe people, with an average age of 17, and only 7ooo Tūhoe live in Te Urewera)

be honest about our losses

save Tūhoetanga

grow our own leaders

and know that it may take two generations   – 40 years-   

to overcome the damage of the past


In due course this lecture will be on the website: http://www.brucejesson.com/lectures-2/lectures/   

Please watch for it.


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