Hokotehi Moriori Trust is the mandated legal body entitled and empowered by its members to represent the Moriori people in everything from Treaty claims to commercial activities. Hokotehi owns Chatham Lodge and Kopinga Marae and operates a number of commercial and cultural ventures around these facilities. Hokotehi also is partially responsible for administering finances designed and given for language and cultural rejuvenation.
Quick history: Moriori have lived her on Rekohu for many hundreds of years, possibly since before the ancestors of today’s Maori landed in New Zealand and definitely since then. Either way Moriori acknowledges a shared background to Maori, but they have developed in the sanctuary and isolation of these islands, much in the same way that Maori have developed their own culture here in New Zealand.
In 1791 the peaceful existence was shattered by the discovery of these islands and this people by Europeans.
44 years later in 1835, two Moair tribes invaded the islands on chartered European sailing ships and under the watchful eyes of the resident pakeha, they “walked the land” laying claim to everything and everyone, killing those that argued and many who didnt. There were 1561 Moriori alive then, after the killing was over there were only a couple of hundred left and in less than one hundred years, there were none. The invading Maori knew that Moriori were pacifists and wouldnt fight back,so their task was easy. It didnt stop them from roasting and eating many of their victims and enslaving, raping, murdering or destroying the remainder. This all happened despite repeated protests and requeste to the Governor of NZ and pakeha residents on the island.
Slavery was outlawed in New Zealand with the Treaty of Waitangi and by the annexing of the Chatham Islands by the Government in 1842. They simply ignored the slavery of Moriori until 1863, by which stage there were only 100 Moriori left.
In 1933 the last known full-blooded Moriori died. But the race has not died. Descendantsof that last Moriori and others have revived the culture and are coming out from under the covers of oppression and myth.
Hokotehi Moriori Trust is evidence of the changing views of society. A people once denigrated and vilified, now accepted and subtly acknowedged. (Shh, cant upset Maori by being to publicly sympathetic)
Moriori are still being marginalised even today and even by Government departments. The Department of Conservation, for example has an opportunity on behalf of the Crown to dispense some justice for Moriori by allowing them to have at least commercial access and priority over lands and islands that they once owned, (and would own today if the justice system really was about justice). The islands of Rekohu were stolen or subjugated and Moriori were forceably removed and disenfranchised.
Forget the argument that it all happened a long time ago so why should we do anything about it now or why should WE have to worry about it. Because we are still doing it to them. Thats why. Get a grip and look around. This country has poured millions into treaty claims and bent over backwards to accommodate the tangata whenua because deep down we all know that it is right. Well, the same reasons for that being right only scratches the surface for what would be right for Moriori .
Denying Moriori access to the islands or access to a management partnership over access willcause a fresh treaty claim. Not including any references to Moriori in Educational publications is an insult, of gigantic proportions, and certainly would also be cause for fresh grievance from Moriori. The outfits that pubish offical school atlases cant even put the Bloody Chathams in them. The Government, through the Ministry of Education, publishes books curriculum documents in English, Maori, Spanish German, Cantonese, French and and God knows what else, but they cant even mention the word Moriori in any offical school documents to date.
That smacks (like a wet towel) of racism. Pandering to those Maori that would be offended if Moriori were given too much recognition perhaps?
I reckon that the Department should stop playing games and do the right thing by Moriori. After all, Moriori looked after all of those bird and plant species well enough before you guys came along.
A win win answer might be a deal such as in other delicate areas around NZ where Maori act in partnership with DOC and run restricted exclusie commercial ventures on DOC estate.
There is precedent and there is desire form Moriori but for some reason DOC is making it difficult for partnership to occur, preferring instead to act like the colonial ruler that sat by and watched Moriori get eaten 174 years ago. Perhaps nothing does change in the fourth estate.
Marginalise them, frustrate them, eliminate them!