Tears at ser­vice

Dis­trict com­mem­o­rates NZ Wars

Waipa Post - - Front Page - BY DEAN TAY­LOR

As Sun­day’s Ra¯ Mauma­hara Na­tional Day of Com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice at Rewi Ma­niapoto Memo­rial came to a close the first drops of rain be­gan to fall.

“Tears are start­ing to fall,” com­mented Rov­ina Ma­niapoto-An­der­son.

The ser­vice was at­tended by about 250 peo­ple and was jointly hosted Nga¯ Iwi To¯pu o Waipa¯ and Waipa¯ Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Oc­to­ber 28 co­in­cides with the date in 1835 of the sign­ing of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence of New Zealand (He Whaka­putanga o te Ran­gati­ratanga o Nu Tirene) and was set as Ra¯ Mauma­hara Na­tional Day of Com­mem­o­ra­tion of the New Zealand Land Wars and na­tion­ally recog­nised for the first time last year.

Waipa¯ Dis­trict Coun­cil was the only coun­cil in New Zealand to sup­port a pub­lic event, con­tin­u­ing that com­mit­ment with this year’s ser­vice.

Armed con­flict was rife in Waipa¯ , with lo­cal bat­tle sites in­clud­ing Ran­giaowhia, Wa­iari, Pat­erangi, Hairini and the Bat­tle of O¯ ra¯kau.

There were wel­comes, prayers, song, speeches and lay­ing of wreaths.

Waipa¯ Dis­trict Coun­cil iwi re­la­tions ad­viser Shane Te Ruki was mas­ter of cer­e­monies.

He said the ser­vice ac­knowl­edged the rights and wrongs of the past as well as the peo­ple who stood on the land.

“The clashes and erup­tions of the New Zealand Wars helped shape mod­ern day so­ci­ety.

“Con­sider this day for what it is, a day for com­mem­o­ra­tion, but also a day for smiles.

“It’s a day to con­sider just how far we have come,” said Shane.

Prayers and hymns were led by Kingi Tu¯ heitia’s chap­lain Rev­erend Ngira Sim­monds and Arch­bishop Sir David Moxon.

They also blessed six wreaths laid on the memo­rial to con­clude the ser­vice.

Shane Te Ruki said it was tra­di­tional to start any Ma¯ori wel­come or event with the voices of women, and in keep­ing with tra­di­tion in­vited Waipa¯ Dis­trict Coun­cil­lor Su­san O’Re­gan as first guest speaker.

Su­san said war com­mem­o­ra­tions usu­ally fo­cused on hero­ism and brav­ery, loss of life and blood­shed.

She said at­ten­tion also needed to be given to ev­ery­day peo­ple whose lives were changed and how futures were af­fected.

Su­san took a woman’s per­spec­tive of the toll of the New Zealand Wars, look­ing close to home to imag­ine what Ma¯ ori women would have had to cope with dur­ing and af­ter the con­flicts in Waipa¯ .

“I think about the sor­row of a proud peo­ple dis­placed and de­prived in­sti­tu­tion­ally for over 100 years,” she said.

Su­san said the com­mem­o­ra­tion was a time to think how far New Zealand had come as a na­tion in terms of mu­tual re­spect and di­ver­sity,

But, she said it was also a time to think about how much fur­ther there was to go.

“We have to ac­cept our his­tory has been bleached and show a will­ing­ness and de­sire to learn about our bloody past.

“With­out un­der­stand­ing and em­pa­thy, ef­fec­tive rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is not pos­si­ble,” said Su­san.

Sec­ond speaker was Kawhia Paul Tai, rep­re­sent­ing the na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tive or­gan­is­ing body Te Pu¯ take o Te Riwi.

Kawhia gave thanks to the in­di­vid­u­als and groups who had brought about the na­tional day of com­mem­o­ra­tion for the New Zealand Land Wars and or­gan­ised the com­mem­o­ra­tive events.

He sin­gled out a num­ber of peo­ple, in­clud­ing former O¯ toro­hanga Col­lege stu­dents Leah Bell and Waimarama An­der­son, who af­ter at­tend­ing the 150-year com­mem­o­ra­tion of the in­va­sion of Ran­giaowhia and Bat­tle of O¯ ra¯ kau, took a pe­ti­tion to Par­lia­ment which led to the na­tional day.

Ra¯ Mauma­hara Na­tional Day of Com­mem­o­ra­tion was de­signed to put an end to what’s called an un­com­fort­able si­lence around the Land Wars.

Kawhia also spoke about the im­por­tance of Ra¯ Mauma­hara Na­tional Day of Com­mem­o­ra­tion mov­ing for­ward into the fu­ture — of sharing the com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice with dif­fer­ent re­gions and with the view of bring­ing it back to O¯ ra¯kau, where the seed was planted, in 2020.

Photo / Dean Tay­lor.

Arch­bishop Sir David Moxon and Rev­erend Ngira Sim­monds bless wreaths born by stu­dents from O¯ toro­hanga Col­lege and Te Wharekura o Ma­niapoto.

Left: Wreath laid on be­half of Te Awa­mutu Mu­seum by O¯ toro­hanga Col­lege stu­dent Matauri Ware­tini. Be­low: Whaiko¯ rero from Harold Ma­niapoto.

Speaker Su­san O’Re­gan.

Pho­tos / Dean Tay­lor

MC Shane Te Ruki.

Speaker Kawhia Paul Tai.

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