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Kua Huri Taku Tira: The Rereahu Journey Towards Autonomy

The establishment of the Native Land Court in Aotearoa New Zealand by the settler government caused much upheaval for tangata whenua. Traditional land tenure was interrupted by the colonised view of land ownership. Impetus to establish individual ownership of land was placed upon iwi and hapū Māori. This necessitated the iwi and hapū of the Rohe Pōtae to define their own individual boundaries within the autonomous region. Over one hundred years later, the New Zealand government were under pressure from the Māori community. Iwi and hapū were vociferous in their requirements. The returning of land and natural resources to Māori was of paramount importance. The implementation of the Māori Trust Board Act enabled iwi and hapū to establish governance entities which permitted access to government funding. These entities also provided a vehicle through which iwi could pursue cultural redress from the Crown. This was the only way forward – the way dictated by the Crown. Devolution was to become a reality and a sign of the decolonisation process at play. Such would allow Māori to re-establish autonomy which had been lost over a century prior. Destructive notions such as marginalisation, disenfranchisement and displacement would be reversed and Māori would regain control over their own cultural practices, cultural resources and future. Under the Fourth Labour Government of New Zealand this became a reality for some iwi and hapū. This thesis investigates the attempts made by the Rereahu iwi in securing such recognition. Interrogation into the many ways in which Rereahu has attempted to navigate the multiple political landscapes which still exist and continue to control iwi and hapū have been discussed. The study develops a theoretical framework of Māori wide concepts as applied through a Rereahu-centric lens. Thus, allowing for a balanced approach to the collection, collation and analysis of all evidence utilised in this thesis. Key findings bring to light the effects colonisation has had and continues to have on Rereahu autonomy. The ways in which Rereahu has been misrepresented, and how Rereahu has responded to threats of colonisation in the 21st century are apparent. This thesis contributes new knowledge to the realm of academia through the experiences of the iwi Rereahu; and offers indigenous discourse regarding resilience and resistance. The ongoing effects of colonisation being felt by the Rereahu iwi in this contemporary landscape are defined. It is an example of how the oppressed can easily become the oppressor. This thesis goes some way to highlighting the destructive nature of the Waitangi Tribunal process in regards to Rereahu. The knowledge presented in this thesis could be utilised by the Office of Treaty Settlements, education and health establishments, policy makers and the iwi of Rereahu in addressing and combating the negative effects created by the cycle of colonisation.
Type of thesis
Crown, J. (2019). Kua Huri Taku Tira: The Rereahu Journey Towards Autonomy (Thesis, Master of Māori and Pacific Development (MMPD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12606
The University of Waikato
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