Our bloody Government does throw money around unnecessarily, Alf will concede in the privacy of his own home, although in public he staunchly defends everything his colleagues do and every buck they spend.
Thus publicly he will say Chris Tremain did a splendid job as Minister of Internal Affairs, before being replaced by that Dunne tosser.
On Chris’s watch, a series of projects to commemorate the centenary of the First World War was granted $2.7 million in funding by the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.
The news of this new trough – sorry, fund – being set up for handouts was reported here.
Thirty projects, including a memorial garden in Hamilton to remember fallen soldiers who died overseas, a public lecture series, exhibitions, plays, and choirs were given a cash boost.
But those $2.7 million were a spit in the bucket.
Commemorating the First World War called for much more money to be spent.
“World War One had a considerable impact on New Zealand’s character, identity and sense of place in the world.
“The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board recognises the importance of this centenary event to our nation and has set aside over $17 million to fund community initiatives and projects,” Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain said today.
Word of this obviously reached the splendid Tuhoe people up there in the Ureweras.
They have dipped into the First World War lottery trough, too.
Radio NZ reported the good news today –
Ngai Tuhoe headquarters, soon to be opened, has received a grant of $222,583 to set up a tribal archival centre.
The fund comes from the Lottery Grants Board for projects of national significance relating to World War I.
Te Uru Taumatua aims to use the money to create a storage and archival space for its taonga or treasures.
It will be based in the tribe’s new building, Te Wharehou o Tuhoe, which opens next month.
Iwi chair Tamati Kruger says archives such as old Maori Land Court records, voice recordings, and photographs will be housed there.
He says it will be the first tribal repository, which is very exciting.
Mr Kruger says Te Uru Taumatua has been very prudent in constructing the facility, which will be useful to tribal members and researchers.
He says documents will also be donated by film makers, researchers and historians.
Alf has read through that news item again … and again…
And he can’t find the First World War connection, although don’t misunderstand him.
He does not begrudge the splendid Tuhoe people one cent of the money they have been given.
It’s just that…
Tuhoe were involved in a bit of howz-yer-father during World War I.
We get a whiff of it here.
Conflicts with Tuhoe included
…what historians see as the last shots of the New Zealand Wars: the assault by 70 armed police on Maungapohatu in April 1916 to arrest the prophet Rua Kenana, an illegal act in which two Tuhoe men were shot dead.
Oh dear, this does show the cops in a bad light.
The Grumbles were keen to learn more about this Rua Kenana bloke and found this.
He was one of many Maori prophetic leaders of the 19th and 20th centuries and apparently had something of a Biblical bent, because he called himself Te Mihaia hou, the new messiah.
He was the leader of a section of the Tuhoe at a time when their land, the Urewera country was threatened by possible prospecting and milling.
About 1906 he announced the establishment of a New Jerusalem at Maungapohatu in the rugged Urewera’s about 20km north of Lake Waikaremoana. Soon Maungapohatu had a thriving farming community of a 1000 souls, including a co-operative bank and a two leveled circular temple. The land was owned and farmed collectively and all proceeds were shared according to need.
Rua’s messianic religion promised the return of Maori lands and Mana to Maori and the end of their subjection to Pakeha rule.
To many Pakeha all Maori were regarded as “lazy, shiftless and drunken”, so the return of self-respect and independence under Rua amazed and even rankled them. As for Rua himself, he lived in a fine house and it was said he had 12 wives in all and more than 70 children.
Rua attempted to control illicit sly-grogging in the area but his application for a liquor licence was repeatedly turned down. He signed over many thousands of acres of Tuhoe land to the government as the Urewera National Park. Eventually he met with the prime minister Joseph Ward who didn’t give Rua a verbal answer but offered a glass of whisky instead. Rua took this as a “yes” and began selling whisky.
During WWI he was harassed by the police because of the region’s liquor sales and in a moment of anger he said the Germans would win. This was the moment the Pakeha were waiting for – in March 1916 the invasion of Maungapohatu was planned. Seventy police were sent in three groups including a large number of mounted police, some of whom had been at Waihi in 1912.
It wasn’t the Somme, exactly.
But because Rua’s village was so remote, the cops had to take a lot of gear and camp on the way.
They moved like a small army with wagons and pack- horses. They were convinced that when they reached Maungapohatu there would be a fight. In fact there was no resistance.
Rua came to meet them with his two eldest sons, Whatu and Toko. But when the police moved suddenly to seize Rua there was a scuffle and a gun went off. No one knows whose. Immediately there was panic. The police had been expecting an ambush and thought this was it. Toko Rua ran for his gun and wounded four policemen before he was shot and killed. Toko’s best friend (and maternal uncle) Te Maipi, was also killed.
Rua, Whatu, and four others were arrested. Rua was charged with sedition (a kind of treason). His trial in the Auckland High Court lasted forty-seven days. It was the longest trial in New Zealand history until 1977.
None of the charges against Rua based on the events of 2 April could be made to stick, but he was found guilty of a lesser offence – being unwilling to be arrested at Te Waiiti on 12 February.
The judge sentenced him to twelve months’ hard labour and eighteen months’ imprisonment, although eight members of the jury signed a petition protesting at this treatment of Rua and he eventually served nine months in the MT Eden slammer.
The same article said by April 1908 Rua had seven wives, fulfilling (he said) the vision of Isaiah 4:1.
Maybe he should have been done for bigamy.
Certainly he was no great shakes as a prophet, because the Germans didn’t win the war.
But there’s no doubting Tuhoe came under fire during that war.