Topic: Politics

Te Kauwhanganui Parliament opened to mark 100th year anniversary

By Mānia Clarke
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Today marks 100 years since the Māori Parliament was opened at Rukumoana Marae in Morrisonsville.

For the first time, archival manuscripts and photograph collections will be on display, presenting documents almost entirely handwritten in Māori.

Tribes from around the country and dignitaries gathered to commemorate the centenary of the King Movements parliament.

"We are absolutely overjoyed about this significant day," said Ngāti Hauā Iwi Trust Chair, Mokoro Gillet,

"We've spent a while preparing and planning for it."
 
To mark the milestone, media were given a rare opportunity to film inside Te Kauwhanganui which houses over 20,000 archival manuscripts and photographs including correspondence by the Tumuaki Tupu Taingakawa Te Waharoa to the government and the newspaper Te Paki o Matariki. 

"The wise proverbs and sayings written by our elders and leaders were left for us to develop pathways for us in today's society," said Waikato academic historian, Dr Ngapare Hopa,

"These are treasures to show the world. Treasures to commemorate and heighten our future aspirations."

"The greatest value is that the documentation that sits within this building are some real rangatira kōrero that has been captured in minutes and policy papers and decision making archives," said Waikato Community Advisor, Gary Thompson.

In 1891, Kingi Taawhiao established the Kauwhanganui at Maungakawa, to achieve Maori autonomy through unifying Maori around the country. Locals say it's no wonder his grandson, Kingi Tuheitia has also made a political stance.

"Since King Taawhiao till today there hasn't been an end to political endeavours," said Gillet.

Te Kauwhanganui and King Māhuta Monument are listed under Historic Places on the Heritage New Zealand list.

Tokoroa's Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Hiringa student, Hyrum Paraire said, "The thing I like the most is the monument of King Mahuta."

The longer-term goal is to establish a centre of excellence in indigenous archival management.