November 21, 2013
Haka a celebration of survival
One of the organisers of yesterday’s mass haka at Rangiriri says it was a celebration of the survival of Maori against adversity.
The commemoration marked the 150th anniversary of the battle at the site where Tainui and supporting tribes tried to block the invasion of the Waikato river valley by British and colonial forces.
Brad Totorewa from Ngati Naho says the haka and peruperu or leaping dance with weapons, highlighted some of the main events of the battle.
He says it’s a great way to teach young people some of their history and remind them their ancestors were not defeated, despite the setback in battle.
"If you look at the intent of the British troops and how they invaded our people basically to annihilate us, wipe us off the face of the earth, our stand today was to say we’re here, 150 years later we’re stronger than ever," Mr Totorewa says.
Interest in Rangiriri and its story has increased in recent years, spurred in part by the consultation about the new Waikato expressway that will skirt the battle site.
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