If we forget, it may happen again. This from the Minister of Crown and Māori Relations Kelvin Davis who attended the Pūtake o te Riri New Zealand Land Wars commemorations in Kororāreka today.
The Crown took up the challenge, setting aside a day to remember the New Zealand Wars.
Minister of Crown and Māori Relations Kelvin Davis says, “We need to remember so that the same thing does not happen again here in New Zealand.”
It's the first time a national commemoration has recognised the wars, which led to the loss of 3000 lives across the country.
Aperehama Edwards of Ngāti Wai says, “We've been waiting for this for a long time. We can't turn our backs on history. So for us on the organising committee, we are happy and our hopes and aspirations have been fulfilled. It's a good start.”
Today marks the 173rd anniversary of the battle of Kororareka. Descendants took time to reflect and remember their ancestors who fought.
Ngāti Hine Chairman Pita Tipene says, “There are feelings of sadness, but we're also happy. There's been sadness as people have remembered our ancestors.”
Edwards says, “By knowing our past, we can understand why things are today.”
The next Pūtake o te Riri memorial will be held in Taranaki.
Taranaki spokesperson Ruakere Hond says, “The battle here was about the treaty. The battles in Taranaki were about land confiscation. If we take it back and host it in Taranaki we would bring those issues to the minds of the people.”
Hond says it's likely to take place on March 17 next year.