John Key's government has made a significant move toward memorialising the Land Wars of the 1800s with the purchase of the Ōrākau Battle site in the Waikato.
The 150-year Commemoration of the siege, dubbed "Rewi Maniapoto's Last Stand", was held on the 9.7ha property last year.
For three days, colonial forces and Māori battled on the fields of Ōrākau.
Fighting alongside Rewi Maniapoto were warriors from Raukawa, Waikato, Tauranga, Tūwharetoa and Tūhoe.
Tunuiarangi McLean says, “It was at the request of Rewi Maniapoto who sent a messenger into Ruatāhuna and Maungapohatu asking Tūhoe to assist him at the Battle of Ōrākau.”
The historical value of the site has been acknowledged with this sale. The Crown is keen to see it memorialised and its stories told so they won't be forgotten.
Paraone Gloyne says, “The land has been sold and now we look to the future as to how our committee will utilise it. We have a few ideas in mind but we're happy with the sale at this stage and it's a step closer toward our goals.”
In April 2014, Prime Minister John Key attended the 150th commemoration of the siege of Ōrākau and said the government would consider buying the property.
Now it's become a reality by working together to achieve a common goal.
Gloyne says, “We've long pressed the Government to buy the land with the support of the landowners who have been caring for the farm and who have made their intentions clear not to sell to anyone else.”
McLean says, “The aim is to have all our battles of significance recognised just as we acknowledge the world wars and Anzac.”