Topic: Waitangi

Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei commemorates Treaty signing

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has issued a reminder to the government to honour commitments made by the Crown in the Treaty of Waitangi which was signed by their ancestor Āpihai Te Kāwau on this day 178 years ago.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei is working on a plan to celebrate Waitangi on a day which commemorates their tupuna.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei descendant Sharon Hawke says, "It's a small start.  What that looks like in a decade- I think it will grow and be a day of prosperity".

Their ancestor Āpihai Te Kāwau signed the Treaty of Waitangi on the 20th March 1840 and gifted 3000 acres of land to the Crown to establish the city of Auckland.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei spokesperson Taiaha Hawke says, "We are feeling a little sad because our elders that were alive then aren't here with us to share the fruits of their work".

Following the signing, Ngāti Whātua were basically left landless, except for a quarter of an acre for an urupa at Ōkahu Bay.

Ngati Whatua maintained that the land was acquired unjustly and took action to get their whenua back with the 506-day occupation of Takaparawha. 

Now the iwi has grown its asset base to over $900mil.

Hawke says, "Our iwi was deteriorating.  We lost our language and customs and that was sad, but things are really improving for Ngāti Whātu Ōrākei now".

Taiaha Hawke says they will continue to hold the government accountable as treaty partners. 

"The government need to stay true to their word, written and spoken, to work together in partnership with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei".

The next significant milestone for the iwi will take place on May 25, marking 40 years since the police eviction from Takaparawha.