Ngāti Awa prepare for Te Kupenga commemorations

By Mānia Clarke

Ngāti Awa are preparing to commemorate the 152nd anniversary of the Te Kupenga battle which resulted in 'some 245,000 acres' of Ngāti Awa land being confiscated by the Crown.

For the first time, the event will take place at the historic Te Kupenga a Taramainuku Pā site in Te Teko.

Te Kupenga a Taramainuku Pā sits under the ancestral mountain of Putauaki. Here locals are gearing up to receive the multitudes.

Te Kupenga Heritage Committee Secretary Makareta Hunia told Te Kāea, “We want to show the country our history of the historic battle that took place here at Te Kupenga a Taramainuku.”

Locals are busy at Kokohinau Marae with 300kg of chicken ordered to feed the nearly 2000 people expected.

Ngāi Tamawera Pera Tipene says, “We've got hot dogs for our tamariki's lunches tomorrow. We've got to do a thousand butter chicken meals, 500 children's packs and 200 for kaumātua and kuia, they're having pork roast meals.”

Te Pahipoto descendant Pip Newton says, “This is wonderful. I think back to our commemorations last year. That was really good for our people from the canoe of Mātaatua to be united. Absolutely beautiful. But this year, it's going to be even bigger because tribes from around the country will be joining us.”

As part of the Ngāti Awa settlement in 2005, they received an apology from the Crown. The area of Te Kupenga was marked as a historical site.

Hunia says, “It's about teaching our descendants, uniting our people of Ngāti Awa and empowering other tribes. We need to empower all tribes affected by land wars.”

Tomorrow's commemorations will begin with a dawn service which will be marked by a new carved post.