That was not theft


Pro & extremist Maori make strong claims about alleged ‘theft’ of Maori land.

What really happened?

In pre-treaty days there were many changes in tribal possession of land. Stronger tribes took land by force of arms from the weaker, and killed or enslaved them. In plain language, IT WAS THEFT.

Hobson reviewed pre-treaty sales to settlers, and many were disallowed or scaled down in fairness to Maori sellers — SO THAT WAS NOT THEFT.

Sales by willing sellers after 1840 were under English law, SO THAT WAS NOT THEFT.

WHEN SOME TRIBES REBELLED AND BROKE TREATY COVENANTS, GOVERNOR GREY WARNED THEM THAT LAND WOULD BE CONFISCATED. This was part reimbursement for the cost of quelling the rebellions and to compensate settlers for destroyed property. THAT WAS NOT THEFT.

Land is taken from New Zealanders of all races for public works and the owners compensated. (Think of the orchardists who lost land for the Clyde dam project.) SO THAT IS NOT THEFT.

For a few cases, e.g. the Raglan golf course, proper procedures were not observed and compensation has been paid rightly since.

By Bruce Moon