The Te Pire kia Unuhia te Hara kai Runga i a Rua Kēnana / Rua Kēnana Pardon Bill had its third reading on 18 December 2019. Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta is in charge of the bill
Rua Kēnana was a Māori prophet, faith healer, and land rights activist who was arrested on 1916 for sedition during a raid at Maungapōhatu in 1916. In 1907 Rua formed a non-violent religious community (the Iharaira/Israelite Faith) at Maungapōhatu, the sacred maunga of Tūhoe, in the Urewera. The bill gives effect to the agreement between the Crown and Ngā Toenga o Ngā Tamariki a Iharaira me Ngā Uri o Maungapōhatu Charitable Trust to provide a statutory pardon for Rua Kēnana and his descendants.
Close to 200 of Rua Kēnana’s descendants gathered at parliament to witness the third reading. Their tīpuna were victims of the 1916 raid. Rua’s son, Toko Rua, and another young man, Te Maipi, were killed during an ensuing exchange of gunfire during the raid. Three residents and four police officers were wounded and thirty-one Maungapōhatu men were arrested and held for up to three days. Rua spent 18 months in prison because of his conviction.
The pardon will be finalised on Saturday 21 December 2019 when the Governor General grants the Royal assent at a ceremony in Maungapōhatu.