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A Statutory Pardon for Kereopa Te Rau

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Although it received surprisingly little media coverage, when the Ngati Rangiwewehi Claims Settlement Bill passed its third reading in Parliament last week, among its provisions was a statutory pardon for the Ngati Rangiwewehi rangatira Kereopa Te Rau for his involvement in the killing of Reverend Carl Sylvius Volkner at Opotiki in March 1865.

That outcome reflected the culmination of many years of hard work on the part of the Ngati Rangiwewehi negotiations team. I was also pleased to have played a part in achieving this result. Back in 2009 I was commissioned to write a report for Te Maru o Ngati Rangiwewehi on the impact of war and confiscation on the tribe. Although it was not specifically part of my brief, what I read concerning the circumstances surrounding Kereopa Te Rau's arrest, trial and eventual execution at Napier in January 1872 were sufficently alarming that I wrote a second report for Ngati Rangiwewehi on these matters in my own time.

In 2011 Professor David William…