December 02, 2018
Legacy of raupatu persists despite settlements
A leading historian of the Land Wars period says we are still living with the legacy of the New Zealand Settlements Act.
The Act was passed by the settler parliament this day in 1863, allowing the crown to take the land of tribes deemed to be in rebellion against the crown.
Vincent O'Malley, whose latest book was about the Waikato War, says it was based on the plantation laws used to take the lands of Irish Catholics in the 1600s and plant Protestant English settlers, which set a patter for wider British imperialism where conquered peoples were made to pay the costs of their own conquest.
Land was taken indiscriminately, including from tribes who stayed loyal to the crown.
He says the treaty settlement process won't fix the raupatu.
"Treaty settlements typically return 1 to 2 percent of what was lost so these groups are signing away 98 percent of value of the lands confiscated from them. The legacy of that raupatu is one we live with today. You can see that in the socioeconomic statistics of many Māori communities and in many other ways so we still live with the legacy of the New Zealand Settlements Act," Dr O'Malley says.
Māori were New Zealand's leading export earners in the 1850s, and raupatu was a deliberate attack on their economic power.
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