The people of Parihaka have received $9 million in compensation for enduring one of the most violent crown invasions in New Zealand’s colonial history.

Around 1500 colonial troops invaded the settlement in 1881 where they seized around three million acres of land, raped and assaulted women, and imprisoned two prominent Māori chiefs, Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi.

At a ceremony in Wellington, crown officials met with the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust and around 100 members of the Parihaka community to sign a reconciliation agreement.

Trust spokesperson, Tina Mason, said her people can begin to move forward.

“Today is about re-building our foundations towards the vision of Parihaka, what it should have been and what it will always be.

“We are healing. Being open to the Crown [and] reconciling with the Crown is the beginning of healing.”

Ms Mason was brought to tears as she stood to speak on the podium in front of her people.

“I think individuals need to think about the Parihaka they want to see instead of always looking back at the past,” she said.

“We’ve had a crown apology, now let’s turn around and see the future for our tamariki, our rangatahi [and] our mokopuna.”

Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta said it will help the community move forward into the future.

“In the aftermath of the invasion residents were forcibly evicted, unjustly imprisoned, their leaders arrested and held without trial, homes and sacred buildings desecrated, rapes committed and a regime imposed that deprived owners of control and ownership of their land.

“The purpose of this package is to heal the relationship between Parihaka and the Crown, recognise the historical significance of Parihaka and provide support for the development of the community into the future,” Ms Mahuta said.

As part of the reconciliation package, a crown apology was made to Parihaka last year.