Lake Horowhenua epitomises the New Zealand Government’s disdain for its indigenous people – both past and present. Throughout the history of Aotearoa, Mua-Upoko has always been at the mercy of a Crown intent on suppressing the cultural and environmental concerns of the indigenous owners of this lake in order to enhance the recreational and economic pursuits of the Pakeha.
Most recently, it was the crux of a case appealed to the Supreme Court, a court supposedly attuned to the nuances of the Treaty of Waitangi. In effect, the Supreme Court has invalidated itself. And Parliament as well. By ceding sovereignty, the Chiefs of New Zealand were guaranteed by the Queen of England ‘full, exclusive and undisturbed possession’ of lands and other property they and their descendants individually or collectively possess.
The Crown’s jurisdiction, its authority to govern therefore rests upon compliance with the Treaty. Before all nations at the United Nations human rights hearing in Geneva on 30 January 2014, the Minister of Justice affirmed the Treaty of Waitangi to be New Zealand’s founding document. Without compliance, this Treaty disintegrates.
And so does governance by Parliament and jurisdiction from the courts.
In terms of ownership, Lake Horowhenua is unique. It is, and always has been owned by
Mua-Upoko; since 1886 in English title.
But there is more to the legend of the lake than constitutional matters of property rights.
Lake Horowhenua was purchased not in cash. It was bought in blood. Here on the artificial islands Mua-Upoko created for their own refuge, Te Rauparaha and his Ngati Toa
raiders stockaded men, women and children ‘killing some from day to day as required for food’. Concealed in clearings nearby, Taueki and the remnants of Mua-Upoko would hear their kin, across the silence of the lake; unable to rescue them if their tribe was to survive.
Type ‘Horowhenua’ into the search box for further articles on the damning history of Lake Horowhenua. See also ‘categories’ (left of page) & our Local Govt Watch pages, Horowhenua. A must read also is the author’s book about the Lake called ‘Man of Convictions’.