Dover Samuels takes claim to Waitangi Tribunal over beatings for speaking Māori

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

Dover Samuels says he received bloody beatings from his teacher for speaking Māori at school.  His evidence forms part of a claim before the Waitangi Tribunal today with the former MP seeking Crown redress to benefit the descendants of those punished for speaking Māori.

Samuels says, “I was punished with a supplejack for speaking the Māori language.  This began in my early years of school and continued until I left.”

He says he finds it difficult thinking about how he was punished for speaking Māori as a child.

“We'd be talking with friends and naturally revert to Māori.  The school master would catch us and we'd be taken and whipped in front of the whole school.  On a number or occasions the whipping drew blood but always left bruises and welts on my thighs.”

The claim before the tribunal which was lodged by Mr Samuels, also refers to the disempowerment of his hapū Ngāti Kura, including the abuse of children from the hapū, and suffering from the alienation of their lands.

Also present at the Waitangi Tribunal hearing were elders from generations who were degraded and physically beaten.

Samuels says, “It was a Crown policy that affected the generations of children and grandchildren of that era and it was wrong."

"The humiliation and degradation was an attempt to subordinate and cast a degrading image about me as a young Māori child.  This in many ways has remained with me.”

Samuels says, “Create a scholarship to support and educate the children of the generations affected by this policy of the Crown.  A scholarship that will teach them multi-languages which the Crown can finance.”