A commemorative service will be held tomorrow in Gisborne to mark 150 years on since the siege of Waerenga-a-Hika Pā by colonial and Māori allies. 3000 people are expected to attend and marae are doing their bit to host the masses.
Ruth Smith (Ngāti Kōhuru/Ngāti Konohi) says, “We are looking forward to having visitors from afar come here tomorrow. We know we'll get to see all our family members who we haven't seen for a long time as well as other tribes.”
The service will remember those who died at the siege after colonial troops and kūpapa attacked to gain the land and force Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki to submit to British law and authority.
Aubrey Gibson believes, “It wasn't just Waerenga-a-Hika, there was also Taratā and other iwi who hold their own commemorations like this one, but from that perspective it does unite Māori as one.”
The siege is of major historical significance to this area and thousands will arrive tomorrow to show their support for the unresolved grievances of the past.