A Royal Apology
Two Queens came together to complete New Zealand’s largest Treaty of Waitangi settlement.
Queen Elizabeth II gave the Royal assent to the Waikato Raupatu Claims Settlement Act 1995 with Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and Waikato kaumaatua.
It was the first time a British Monarch had ever apologised to Maaori and is still the only piece of legislation signed here and in public by Queen Elizabeth II. The apology itself was a politically sensitive issue.
When the signing took place in a private ceremony on November 3 in Wellington, there was a view that a prophecy of King Taawhiao, the second Maaori King, had finally been fulfilled. In 1884 he went to London to petition Queen Victoria about historical land grievances but was refused an audience.
He later predicted that the poverty and political powerlessness he endured following the confiscation wouldn’t continue beyond the days of his grandchildren. The settlement by Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Queen Elizabeth II attained this.
Queen Elizabeth II and Dame Te Atairangikaahu, 1995(Alexander Turnbull Library, (EP/1995/4375B/33A-F)