175 years ago our tupuna Te Rauparaha No Ngati toa was kidnapped and arrested by governor grey. though he is more known for his Haka "ka mate" he was actually one of the most influential chiefs in Aotearoa known for his ruthlessness, savvy, entrepreneurial mind he was also one of the first political prisoners in our country .
like many of our maori leaders in the 1800s 1900s they were taken by the crown because they had influence among maori. This scared the crown and they were afraid of an uprising that would shatter their colonial ideas . It worked.
175 years later maori now have the highest incarceration rate in Aotearoa our male over 50 percent of the prison population and female over 60 - this stems directly from colonisation .
last year we did our te reo offender exhibition this was one of the main pieces that sat in the historic jail we had it in . it shows the queen with a firm hand on the lock which represents the crowns position, our chief as a representation of maori locked up. below on the right side sits the time before colonisation. the left represents after.