Marae Kitchen to Tribunal Hearing – Our Settlement Journey

The death of Riki Te Mairaki Ellison (Uncle Riki) in 1984 was a watershed moment for many Ngāi Tahu. It started a torrent of Ngāi Tahu deaths, as he gathered his large ope to accompany him on his journey ki tua o te ārai. This ope included my grandmother Kui Kamo (née Whaitiri), who had been his kaikaranga at Rehua Marae in life, and would now become his kaikaranga in death. I recall Aunty Rima Bell at Tuahiwi saying the deaths would only stop when a baby joined the ope – and that appears to have been what happened. Many kaumātua at the time also stated the deaths were the first of many payments that Ngāi Tahu would be forced to make as the long journey to justice for its treaty claims neared an end.

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