A group of Otorohanga College students spearheading a petition in support of a national day to commemorate the New Zealand Land Wars will march at Parliament tomorrow.
Students Rhiannon Magee, Waimarama Anderson and Leah Bell have gathered more than 10,000 signatures and now prepare to present their request to John Key.
People from across Aotearoa will gather at parliament tomorrow. Some kura have already started to make the long journey to the capital to support the event.
The vision is for there to be a national day to remember all New Zealand land wars, much like ANZAC day and Waitangi day.
Waimarama and Leah were a part of a group of around 200 students and kaumātua who visited pa sites within the Waikato area. These visits reaffirmed the importance of holding a national, commemorative day.
"Before we went there, I didn't know anything about the sights and I felt really privileged being there not only with the students but with the kaumātua as well and getting to know what had happened at those battle sights and I felt really inspired and I felt really aroha for them," Waimarama said.
In an interview on Native Affairs in October, all three students further discussed why they believe we should be remembering wars that took place on home soil.
Magee said, "we want to remember our past, and we don't want to forget it, we want to remember all the things that happened and we shouldn't hide our past."
Alongside iwi leaders and Māori MPs who are in favour of the national day, historian, Professor Paul Moon of the Auckland University of Technology stated that the campaign is long overdue and wars fought in Aotearoa were crucial to the country's development.
He said “We commemorate wars in other countries, monarchs from other countries, but turn a blind eye to monumental and nation-forming events that took place in our own back yard,”
"The Musket Wars, Heke’s campaign, and the Land Wards collectively may have involved the death of close to 30,000 people, and their effects still reverberate strongly in the present day. Much of New Zealand’s political and social landscape was shaped by these conflicts.”
Tomorrow, our Online News Team will bring you more on this significant and historic moment.