NEW ZEALAND LAND WARS COMMEMORATION IN TARANAKI – 28-30 OCTOBER 2019
Taranaki Māori Trust Board
26 September 2019
With five weeks to go, preparations are in full swing to host a national initiative, Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara, to commemorate the New Zealand land wars in Taranaki.
Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara is a series of events being held across Aotearoa New Zealand which seek to increase awareness among all Aotearoa New Zealand citizens through the telling and sharing of stories about our local history, significant landmarks and people relating to the period of the New Zealand Wars, with the aim of strengthening relationships and partnerships across the country. This year the events are taking place in Taranaki from 28-30 October 2019.
Dr Ruakere Hond who is a key member of the working party coordinating the event in Taranaki says that Te Pūtake o te Riri gives the community the opportunity to participate in an event that focuses on our nation’s local history – a history that not many New Zealanders know about.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to be a part of this nationwide kaupapa and connecting with the national narrative to tell the story of our region’s history within the wars, a history which often goes unrecognised. So we’re glad to be hosting Te Pūtake o te Riri in Taranaki this year.
“The war in Taranaki started on 17 March in 1860 and lasted for about 21 years. There were battles and conflicts taking place across the entire region during that time – at Te Kōhia near Waitara, Puketakauere, Mahoetahi, Waireka, and also Turuturu-mōkai, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Tauranga-ika in south Taranaki just to name a few.
“Because of the length of time over the 21 years leading to the ‘Pāhua’ – the sacking of Parihaka in November 1881 by Crown troops – it has been difficult to acknowledge the many battle sites across Taranaki over that period.
“For these first commemorations in Taranaki, it has been decided to concentrate on the battle sites around Waitara, particularly Te Kōhia pā where the first shots of the land wars were fired.
“While these first battles were primarily in Te Atiawa whenua other Taranaki tribes came in support at the time. With Te Pūtake o te Riri this year and for future Te Pūtake o te Riri events, such as commemorations that may take place in South Taranaki, we’ll see all iwi in Taranaki come together again in support for the kaupapa.
“Although there were violent battles, there was also the passive resistance of Parihaka from 1878, which was in opposition to the government’s enforcement of the confiscation of approximately 1.275 million acres of Taranaki land from Māori.
“The people of Parihaka hadn’t become involved in the fighting, but they still had land confiscated. Out of all of the land confiscated from iwi across Taranaki only a small fraction of that confiscated land was ever returned.
“Not a lot of people in our communities know about these stories and this history, so through Te Pūtake o te Riri we can begin to change that.
“We would like to see as many people from across the Taranaki community, as well as the rest of the country, participate in Te Pūtake o te Riri. There was a big turnout in the far north when it was hosted there last year, we hope to see the same numbers if not more turn out for the event here in Taranaki,” he says.
The discussions which led to the creation of Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara first came about when students from Otorohanga College presented to parliament a petition to set aside a national day to remember the 19th-century land wars. Dr Hond recalls the conversations he had with many people about what a day of remembrance would look like.
“After the petition was sent to parliament a number of different groups from around the country started talking about what this day would like. Hoani Eriwata who hosts our local annual commemoration of the land wars, Riri me te Raukura, spoke with me about this day recognising our local history here in Taranaki – the story of peaceful and violent resistance.
“We then wrote a paper to present to the Crown sharing a Taranaki perspective of commemorating peaceful and violent resistance and that this should be a part of a national kaupapa of remembering the land wars,” he says.
A series of national hui was then hosted by the Ministry of Māori Development where communities could share their thoughts about what a national day of remembrance should include and be about, with the kaupapa eventually becoming Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara. Dr Hond says the nation needed to know why the wars took place and that this part of the story was largely missing from our shared national narrative.
“During the discussions which led to the creation of Te Pūtake o te Riri there was the feeling that the context of rangatiratanga or sovereignty was lost in the retelling of the land wars, and that there was a lot of focus on what happened and where it happened but not a lot on why those battles occurred and the themes underpinning the conflict. Through Te Pūtake o te Riri we wanted to emphasise that aspect and increase the community’s understanding of the land wars and why they happened.”
The timing of Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara this year has been set to recognise the signing of He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Tireni (known in English as the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand) on 28 October 1835.
“We wanted to bring to the fore the ‘why’ behind the conflicts and focus on the resistance for sovereignty that was taking place at the time, which is why the date of the signing of He Whakaputanga Rangatira, a document signed before the Treaty of Waitangi asserting full Māori sovereignty, is being recognised,” says Dr Hond.
“Te Pūtake o te Riri is really about raising our critical awareness, and for all of us to start talking constructively with each other about our shared history. This kaupapa is one opportunity of many for us to connect through our collective history and begin having those meaningful, open and honest conversations with one another so that we can move forward together.”
Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara is being held in Taranaki from Monday 28 October to Wednesday 30 October. The events will begin at Owae Marae, where a pōwhiri, a formal welcome, will be held for visitors from across the country.
The programme for Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara includes a series of wānanga or lessons about the land wars in Taranaki as well as visits to sites significant to the time of the land wars such as Te Kōhia Pā and Pukerangiora pā.
A Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara education programme has been created for Taranaki primary and secondary schools which will run alongside the main event programme. An invitation has been extended to all Taranaki primary and secondary schools encouraging teachers and students to participate in the education programme.
Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara is a free event and is open to the public.
For more information about Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara taking place in Taranaki visit facebook.com/TePutakeOTeRiri.
For more information about Te Pūtake o te Riri He Rā Maumahara initiative visit https://www.tpk.govt.nz/en/whakamahia/te-putake-o-te-riri-wars-and-conflicts-in-new-zeal