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The Legacy of Rua Kenana

            Rua Kenana's passive resistance against Maori enlistment and conscription during the First World War was an important event that affected New Zealanders, especially at the time. The most significant factor that contributed to this event was the government's confiscation of Tuhoe land along with the prophet movement and Te Kooti's legacy. However, another key cause of Rua's resistance was 19th century Land Wars, which along with the differing interpretations and neglect of the Treaty of Waitangi was a major source of grievance for Rua and therefore explains his resistance against Maori enlistment in the First World War. Arguably, the most significant long-term consequence of Rua's resistance throughout the First World War was the 2007 raid of the Urewera's and the Crowns apology to the Tuhoe Tribe. Other events that also affected New Zealand society include Rua's subsequent imprisonment as well as the social and economic decline of Maungapohatu. To a lesser extent, Rua's resistance also resulted in the formation of the Waitangi Tribunal. While Rua Kenana's legacy is often be a neglected part of our New Zealand history, his unwavering resistance during World War One significantly impacted Maori at the time and also helped to New Zealand's culture and identity to this day. .
             An underlying political and social factor in Rua's resistance during the First World War was the differing interpretations, and to some extent the neglect of the Treaty of Waitangi. In article one, Maori expected the treaty would initiate a new relationship, with Maori and Pakeha sharing authority, however in the English version, the Queen was guaranteed full sovereignty over New Zealand. This along with the differences in translation over Maori land ownership, in article two, deeply angered Rua. Like many Maori, Rua was also upset by the way in which the British ignored the treaty, seeing it as nothing more than a piece of paper.

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