The Crown has officially apologised for the atrocities it committed when it sacked the peaceful Taranaki settlement of Parihaka in 1881.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell signed the reconciliation documents.
People openly wept as the apology was read out by Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson.
He apologised for the wrongful arrests and imprisonment of Parihaka men and their leaders Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi.
He said it was a shameful part of New Zealand’s history, which both Māori and Pākehā found hard talking about, for different reasons.
The Crown also signed a reconciliation package with the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust. The package includes the apology, a legacy statement and a payment of $9 million.
What happened at Parihaka?
On the 5th November 1881 about 1600 government troops invaded the western Taranaki settlement of Parihaka.
Parahika was a small town which had come to symbolise peaceful resistance to the confiscation of Māori land.
Founded in the mid-1860s, Parihaka was soon attracting Māori from around the country. Its main leaders were Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, both of the Taranaki and Te Ātiawa iwi.
When in May 1879 the colonial government moved to occupy Maori land Te Whiti and Tohu developed tactics of non-violent resistance.
People from Parihaka fanned out across Taranaki show their disappointment at the confiscation of their land.
The government responded with laws targeting the Parihaka protesters and imprisoned several hundred men without trial.