28 Sep 2011

Whakatohea chief finally receives proper pardon

7:44 am on 28 September 2011

The descendants of a Te Whakatohea chief wrongfully accused and executed in 1866 are to receive another government pardon, but this time it will be acknowledged in law.

Mokomoko and three others from Ngati Awa were wrongfully tried for the murder of the Reverend Carl Völkner in the 1860's.

A pardon was granted by the state in 1992, but was not passed into law.

However, the family of Mokomoko have sought the pardon to be legally acknowledged. Those from Ngati Awa had their pardons recognised as part of the tribe's Te Runanga o Ngati Awa Act.

Maori Affairs Minister, Dr Pita Sharples, says the Government will sign an agreement with the relatives of Mokomoko on Wednesday.

"They've been carrying around this sort of second-class feeling because of the other pardons that went to the other hapu, and left them compromised in terms of their mana."

A fifth generation descendant of the Whakatohea chief, Karen Mokomoko, says it is an exciting gesture, because the first pardon was hollow.

She says the first pardon focussed on the Ngati Awa people who were wrongfully accused, with the inclusion of Mokomoko's name.

Ms Mokomoko says it did not acknowledge that Mokomoko maintained his innocence up until his last breath.

The signing will be held at Waiaua Marae near Opotiki.