the real Maori Parliament
1892 - 1902
(excerpt from Te Putatara, 15 March 2000)
Ko Huiarau makes claims that its runanga or parliament has been in existence since 1808, and went into recess in 1947. Ko Huiarau often claims that the real Maori Parliament which met from 1892 to 1902 was a Ko Huiarau parliament. They often use photographs and documents from the REAL parliament to support their false Ko Huiarau claims.
Let's look at the real history of the real Maori Parliament.
Tribal leaders met together at various venues from about 1885 to discuss the idea of a pan-tribal unity. In April 1892, at Waitangi, they formed Te Runanga o Te Kotahitanga mo Te Tiriti o Waitangi (definitely not Te Runanga o Kohuiarau) which led to the Maori Parliament later in 1892.
The Maori Parliament had its first session at Waipatu, near Hastings, in June 1892.
It met at Waipatu again in 1893, at Pakirikiri (near Gisborne) in 1894, at Rotorua in 1895, at Tokaanu in 1896, at Papawai (Wairarapa) in 1897 and 1898, at Waitangi in 1899, and at Rotorua in 1900 and 1901. Its final meeting was at Waiomatatini (Apirana Ngata'a marae) in 1902, when it was wound up.
The Maori Parliament drafted Bills which it then tried to have passed through the settler government in Wellington. The Government eventually responded with two new acts.
Apirana Ngata was closely involved in the parliament from 1897, and it was at his instigation that it closed in 1902, after the Goverment had passed the Maori Land Administration Act, and the Maori Councils Act. Ngata thought that the new Maori Councils, established by the Government, would continue the work of the Maori Parliament.
This was not a unanimous decision, as there were two broad factions in the Maori Parliament; those who advocated 'home rule' and who did not want to recognise the Government's authority in the tribal areas, and the "pro-government" faction that favoured working through the settler government. The pro-government leaders won the day.
Neither the 'home rule" nor the "pro-government" factions achieved what the the Maori Parliament was formed to achieve. And after the eventual failure of the Maori Councils, most political action became focused on the parliament in Wellington.
By his action in moving to close the Maori Parliament, Apirana Ngata and his pro-government supporters had virtually committed us all to trying to achieve what we wanted through the government in Wellington.
In the Kingitanga Movement in the Waikato, Tawhiao had also established Te Kauhanganui in 1892. They did try to unite Te Kauhanganui and Te Kotahitanga in 1892 and 1895, but to no avail.
Between 1905 and 1909 there were attempts to set up similar organisations, such as the Maori Union and the Maori Association, and the Kingitanga tried to unite everyone around them, but nothing really came of those efforts. The focus remained on the parliament in Wellington, and in 1935 Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana strengthened this focus by virtue of his deal to support the Labour Party.
Apart from the 28th Maori Battalion, the next pan-Maori organisation was the Maori Women's Welfare League in 1951, followed by the the Maori Council in 1962.
There is absolutely no unifying parliamentary thread running through all of this from 1808 to 1847. No Ko Huiarau. No pan-tribal organisation No pan-tribal ariki, no taiopuru. Nothing at all. Ko Huiarau's claims are false.