Ministers Visit – Chris Finlayson

1The grey sombre clouds matched the tone of sadness and loss delivered in the korero of Muaupoko whanau to Office of Treaty Settlements Minister Chris Finlayson on Friday, February 28th.

The hui allowed Muaupoko whanau to share with Minister Finlayson, in their own words, the immense importance of a number of sites of significance within the rohe to Muaupoko.

Minister Finlayson was joined by Otaki MP Nathan Guy, Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS) kaumatua John Clark and OTS officials, and more than 40 Muaupoko whanau at Horomaunga te mai ridge overlooking Lake Horowhenua.

The hui allowed Muaupoko whanau to recount the devastation suffered by their ancestors and subsequent generations over the loss to the iwi of immensely important locations, many destroyed as a result of breaches to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Acting Muaupoko CEO Brenton Tukapua said it was significant to hold the event on Horomaunga te mai ridge overlooking Lake Horowhenua, a site of immense historical importance to the people of Muaupoko.

“It was important to come here to Horomaunga te mai ridge, long ago destroyed and these lands taken from us. Our marae which once nurtured and protected our ancestors, which is now a privately owned farm. The chance to host the Minister and his officials on this crucial kaupapa to hear our laments and loss was a very important process.”

Brenton said was grateful for landowner Peter Everton, for allowing Muaupoko to host the hui on his land and for also supporting the iwi with his attendance.

Muaupoko Chairperson Louana Williams said the Minister and his delegation were clearly affected by the powerful messages and memories delivered by Muaupoko whanau that  included Jonathan Proctor, Rob Warrington, Marokopa Wiremu Matakatea and Trevor Hill.

“We were privileged to have our kaumatua and kuia to support this important kaupapa and to have a number of our Muaupoko whanau here with us to support our speakers.

“The korero was very sad and detailed. It left the Minister and his officials with no doubt as to the devastation and loss that has been levelled against our people.

“From this site with its stunning views which seem to take on the entire region, we could see the town built upon our lands, the waterways polluted by the new populations.”

Louana praised the Muaupoko historians for holding the knowledge of the iwi and its ancestors to help ensure their laments could be heard today. She also thanked Horowhenua District Council Deputy Mayor Gary Good for attending and supporting Muaupoko at the significant event.

“This is one of a number of essential processes to allow progress and to help bring some closure to the generations of hurt loss and exclusion that our people have endured.

“We are strong and committed in our journey to ensure our people can progress our grievance and quest for justice to allow us to then focus our considerable energies on the future and assisting our people, marae and hapu to achieve their potential.”

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