Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Early in the 20th century, Rua Kenana founded a religious community at the foot of Maungapohatu, a mountain sacred to Tuhoe in the heart of the Urewera region. New Zealand By 1907 around 600 followers were living there with him.
New Zealand government officials considered Rua to be a troublemaker, especially when, as a pacifist, he objected to Tuhoe participating in World War One. Acting on the excuse that alcohol was being sold illegally at Maungapohatu, Rua was summoned to appear in court. He refused, explaining that as it was harvest time, he would come later. Angered by his response, the police mounted an armed expedition, arriving at Maungapohatu on 2 April 1916. Rua was there to meet them, standing unarmed on his marae, when a shot was fired. Two Māori were killed, including Rua's son Toko, and while the police claimed the first shot came from Rua's camp, modern analysis of events on the day makes this seem unlikely.
Rua was charged with treason and while he was found not guilty by the jury, judge Frederick Chapman did find him guilty of resisting arrest and sentenced him to one year of hard labour, followed by further 18 months imprisonment. Eight of the jury members protested at the harshness of his sentence and successfully petitioned to have it reduced. Rua was released in April 1918 and returned to Maungapohatu. The community was in decline, however, and by the early 1930s, most people had left to find work elsewhere. Rua moved on to Matahi in eastern Bay of Plenty, and lived there until his death in 1937.
This is my third and last drawing.. c&c away