In a first the Kiingitanga and iwi from around the motu commemorated the 152nd anniversary of the battle at Te Kupenga a Taramainuku today, where some 245,000 acres' of land was confiscated by the Crown.
300-strong group of local and warriors from other iwi welcomed the visitors from around the country who came to mark the significant occasion.
“Every year we come to Kokohinau marae and discuss issues affecting them,” said Kiingitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa.
“But this is the first time we've come here, and we should, as they have been strong supporters of the King Movement in past battles within Tainui. Cut off by the government of the time.”
In 1865 Crown forces invaded this area, following accusations that Ngāti Awa were involved in the killing of Rev Carl Volkner and James Fulloon, a representative of the Crown. 31 men were implicated in these killings. 27 were Ngāti Awa.
“I remember our ancestors who fought when our lands were confiscated. Our ancestor Te Hura died didn't die. He laid down his weapons,” said Ngāti Awa elder, Hohepa Pryor.
Last year Ngāti Awa hosted their first commemorations with a re-enactment to re-educate people about the battle of Te Kupenga.
“This is the fruition of commemorations that have already taken place over the years,” said Māori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell.
“It started at Rangiriri, hence the arrival of the King Movement and land wars were remembered throughout other the country to Te Kupenga today.”
Iwi will gather again for the inaugural National Day to commemorate New Zealand Land Wars next Saturday in Northland.