NZ wars re­mem­brance day an­nounced

North Waikato News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DAVID BURROUGHS

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.

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