April 28, 2014
Gate Pa battle remembered
Tauranga Moana tribes and their historic allies will be out in force today to mark the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gate Pa.
That’s where the tribes responded to a British incursion by building a fighting pa on the Pukehinahina ridge in which they were able to weather a day of bombardment before emerging to rout the invaders.
The commemoration will feature a massed peruperu or haka with weapons, composed for the occasion by Awanuirangi Black and Reweti Te Mete.
Mr Black says the haka acknowledges the sacrifices the tupuna made on that day, and also dwells on the stories of chivalry that came out of the battle, with wounded combatants receiving help from their enemies.
"It’s a reassertion that even though land confiscation took place, people were killed and many other ailments have befallen us, our people are still here today and in fact we’ve become stronger and stronger and stronger," he says.
Mr Black says the Peruperu will feature women and children as well as the tane, because bullets don’t distinguish.
Today’s activities started at dawn with the blessing of a pou and flagpole at Gate Pa Reserve.
The Kingitanga and Nga Iwi o Te Motu will be welcomed onto the reserve at noon, and at 2pm there will be a commemoration march along Cameron Rd.
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