I feel very privileged to be standing here today, representing Tauranga City Council, and I acknowledge my colleagues here today. This is indeed a very significant day in our city’s history.
Today, we take another step in the long journey towards full reconciliation between all partners in this land called Aotearoa, and in this beautiful rohe of Tauranga Moana.
I want to acknowledge the tremendous effort put in by Dr Alistair Reese, who has accurately recorded the events of the mid-1800’s whereby local tangata whenua effectively lost the vast majority of this peninsula we call Te Papa. I also acknowledge the persistent and engaging work of Te Kohinga over the past 25 years. Your work shows that significant research and advocacy can bring enlightenment and a change of attitude to present-day residents.
I congratulate the Anglican church for taking stock of your own history and seeking to rectify past wrongs. With your support I trust that a just, tangible and lasting resolution will be established.
My own personal view, shared by some of my elected member colleagues, is that Tauranga City Council should remain open to future ways and means of participating in this healing process. That will almost certainly involve collaborative initiatives with central government, the Anglican church, other churches and community groups, and local hapu and iwi. It is in the city’s best interest that everyone prospers, and no one group of residents is left behind as a result of past wrongs.
In speaking to local mana whenua, I want to express my deep sadness for the pain and disadvantage you have experienced over the past 200 years, whether it was the brutal sacking of this Otamataha pa, or the loss of Te Papa peninsula and other tribal lands.
Reassuringly, I have a strong sense that you have arrived in a place where you are ready to grant grace and forgiveness to those who have wronged you, and to those who show true remorse and seek restorative justice. You want to move forward confidently and continue developing as a prosperous and significant partner in our city’s future. I look forward to seeing your mana restored and enhanced in the coming days and years.
Additionally, I am not blind to the huge spiritual significance of what is occurring here today. As a Christian believer myself, I know that holy power is always released when people engage in true acts of both repentance and forgiveness.
I believe that from this very day, there will be a spiritual cleansing and a closing of the breach over Tauranga Moana. I pray that in the words of Malachi 3 v 10 the windows of heaven will be open above us all, and blessings (both spiritual and physical) will flow so strongly that we will barely be able to contain them.
I’m sure that’s a prayer that everyone here would say yes and Amen to.
Tena koutou etc.
 Te Kohinga is a Christian network that has been working in the Tauranga region for the past 25 years. The group bases its activities upon the reconciliation principles and imperatives of the gospel − its members, both Māori and Pākehā, include teachers, business people, doctors, lawyers, an historian, as well as various churches and faith−based charitable organisations.