Monday, May 24, 2010

Dame Judith gives key a history lesson

Good to see Dame Judith Binney coming out with a historical perspective on the Tuhoe negotiations. It is a pity that john key is so underdone in his knowledge.

From Stuff
"Historian Dame Judith Binney has slated John Key's refusal to return ownership of Te Urewera National Park to Tuhoe, saying his claim that it created a precedent was "quite wrong".
Tuhoe's situation was unique, and Key "could have responded to it if he'd understood the history clearly". The Crown had not acted honourably in its dealings with Tuhoe and it was time it did, Binney said.

The Crown's confiscation of large amounts of Tuhoe land during the wars in 1866 and 1867 "was not justified and neither has it been compensated for".
Moreover, in 1896 the Liberal government of Richard Seddon had passed a law giving the tribe a large degree of self-government or tribal authority over its area – a measure that was "absolutely unique", Binney said.
After Seddon's death in 1906, the government moved further away from the concept of Tuhoe tribal authority, and by "awful pressure and brutality" had acquired about 330,000 acres of Tuhoe land by 1921.
The government passed an act in 1916 "to retrospectively legalise all the purchases up till that point". In 1958 the Urewera National Park was formed out of land that Tuhoe had owned in 1896.
The government should now "give back the land or a form of authority over the land", Binney said.
Well there it is all laid out in black and white. The land was stolen and confiscated illegally in a unfair, exploitive way. It is time to sort this out and it is time for the government to stop trying to wriggle out of it's obligations to right wrongs.
I am very pleased that Dame Judith is healing well from her accident.


Anonymous said...

I have two of Professor Binney's books arriving this week. Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Chad C Mulligan

Urewera traveller said...

I am 3/4 of the way through Binney's book on Te Kooti, "Redemption Songs". The dealings of the crown with Tuhoe, set against the background of the Te Kooti wars were indeed underhanded and brutal.

Still, Urewera is my national park. I spend a fair bit of my life in te ngahere o Te Urewera- there's not much of it that I haven't seen, and I am always amazed at its beauty and complexity.
I've also seen the way many Tuhoe treat the Park and its visitors- including thievery, bullying, litter, vandalism, drug cultivation, neglect of adjacent land (spreading weeds and pests into the Park) and other environmental abuse. Sadly as a result I have little regard for Tuhoe as a group and I don't have confidence in their ability to manage such a complex and valuable ecosystem.
(Furthermore, I'm yet to see evidence that all of UNP was Tuhoe land, specifically the large tracts of the Park in the ruakituri and waioeka catchments).

Tuhoe have set their hopes high for this settlement. If it is indeed true that Park ownership was on the table initially, only to be yanked away last minute then I feel for them, but Te Urewera should never have been on the table in the first place. It is a precious, fragile place, and its value and status as a national park should remain forever- eg ownership out of the reach of anyone- but remain managed for the benefit of everyone, including Tuhoe.

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora korua

I am also about to start rereading one of binney's books - and I am on the lookout for "encircled lands' the latest. How great to be able to read these histories.

It does not seem fair blaming a group for not protecting an area they hold sacred, when they are not given the resources to be able to do that job. That is why giving the park back to the people will be the best solution - then they will have the resources to be able to protect and strengthen the park, its mauri and all life-forms that inhabit and interact with it.

I cannot see any justification for ANY national park. There is no evidence that anyone will be locked out or barred - it is just not the way it works, or will work into the future. That fear is unfounded in my book.