NZ wars remembrance day announced
The battle for a day to commemorate the New Zealand Wars has been won - now, all they need to do is set a date.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement on Friday during the return of the to Maori at Turangawaewae.
The historic site was handed back at the 10th anniversary celebrations of Maori King Tuheitia’s reign.
King Tuheitia’s spokesman, Rahui Papa, said the announcement was absolutely fantastic and the result of a lot of hard work.
He said representatives for the battle sites met with Te Ururoa Flavell, the minister of Maori development, seven weeks ago.
‘‘He actually wanted to progress a bit quicker than this, to be able to announce the date at the coronation celebrations,’’ Papa said.
‘‘But unfortunately people had to go home and seek mandate for things like that so we’re going to have to have it post coronation.’’
Work was underway to determine the day best suited for the celebrations with a decision expected before the end of the year.
‘‘One of the things they are asking to consider is it does not clash with any particular battle site commemorations, so that it can be a clean and stand alone date and then people can have their commemorations on their dates free and clear of any hinderances,’’ Papa said.
Creating a specific day to remember the Land Wars would
‘‘Just like the return of Rangiriri, we've waited for 152 years, so iwi are forever.’’
lead to more people exploring what it meant.
‘‘Prior to Anzac Day, not a lot of people knew about Anzac Cove,’’ Papa said. ’’We’re sincerely hoping it will heighten exospore to all of that sort of korero and there will be a whole lot more information and a whole lot more connection and engagement with our various communities on these battle sites.’’
In March, the Ministry of Education refused to include the New Zealand Wars in the national curriculum, but Papa said the national day was step in the right direction and the fight wasn’t over.
‘‘Just like the return of Rangiriri, we’ve waited for 152 years, so iwi are forever,’’ he said.
‘‘So we’ll chip away and chip away until there is an awakening, I suppose, so we can get our local history into our local curriculum.’’
Rahui Papa, spokesperson for King Tuheitia, said the announcement on Friday was fantastic.