What happened to Tuhoe

Children of the Mist: the struggle of the Tuhoe people

1866 – Crown seizes the most fertile Tuhoe land, cutting off their access to the coast.

1868 – Maori leader Te Kooti and his followers begin what historian Michael King called “the most effective guerrilla war ever waged in this country”. Te Kooti kills about 30 Europeans and at least 20 Maori men, women and children in raids on Poverty Bay settlements.

1869 to 1872 – Government unleashes a “scorched earth” policy against Tuhoe, who shelter Te Kooti and refuse to hand him over.

1872 – Tuhoe chiefs make a decision to close their land off from outsiders.

1896 – Premier Richard Seddon draws up the Urewera District Native Reserve Act, recognising Tuhoe’s autonomy.

1896 to 1901 – Twenty–three per cent of the Tuhoe population die from a combination of disease, extreme frosts, crop failures and famine.

1907 – Pacifist leader Rua Kenana establishes a “City of God” for around 600, deep within the Ureweras. Trade, agriculture, banking and mining were part of his plan.

1916 – Fifty–seven police constables arrest Kenana at Maungapohatu in the Ureweras. Kenana is unarmed but a gunfight ensues and two Tuhoe are killed. Kenana taken to Auckland and tried for sedition. He is found guilty of a “moral” resistance to arrest and sentenced to hard labour and 18 months’ imprisonment.

1921 – Crown imposes costs of building rural highways through Te Urewera on Tuhoe, who are forced to pay in land.

1922 – Urewera District Native Reserve Act is repealed.

1954 – Crown establishes Te Urewera National Park.


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