Anglican church apologises to Māori for selling land

Anglican church apologises

A delegation from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand has apologised to Māori for its roll in ancestral land being lost to the Crown 151 years ago.

The apology took place on the former site of the Otamataha Pā in the Bay of plenty on Saturday, December 1.

The church’s apology centres on a piece of land known as the Te Papa Block.

The day began at 9am with two pōwhiri – the first for an ope from the Kingitanga, led by Kingi Tuheitia’s sister, Heeni Katipa – the later one for the Anglican party.

Huikakahu Kawe (Ngati Ranginui) then outlined how things would unfold, and he introduced the historian Dr Alistair Reese whose work underpinned the church apology.

Reese spent 10 minutes giving a background to the events that led to the loss of the land.

The 540-hectare piece of land encompasses modern-day Tauranga’s CBD and was purchased in 1838 by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and had to be used for the “benefit of the native race and the church.”

Archbishop Emeritus Sir David Moxon offered a formal apology to Ngati Tapu and Ngaitamarawaho of Tauranga Moana.

“It was not sale in which you could do what you liked,” Moxon said. “It was more like a gift.”

“Built into this was an understanding that if you changed the purpose of what the land was being used for you must give it back.”

In 1867, after the New Zealand Wars, four-fifths of the land was passed over to the colonial government following consistent and increasing pressure, and despite the CMS resisting and protesting the transfer.

The land kept by the Church was sold off a few years later.

Tangata Whenua was not consulted and have long since fought to have the land grievance recognised and acknowledged.


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News category: New Zealand.

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