May 01, 2014
Moderator calls for new national day
The moderator of the Presbyterian Church’s Maori Synod wants to see an annual national day to mark the New Zealand Wars.
Wayne Te Kaawa, says he’s backing the call Kingitanga spokesperson Tukuroirangi Morgan made at this week’s Pukehinahina-Gate Pa commemoration.
He also supports Mr Morgan’s call for the battle sites of Rangiriri, Rangiaowhia, Orakau and Pukehinahina to be returned to Maori ownership.
Rev Te Kaawa says it’s no longer a Maori versus Pakeha issue as many New Zealanders has ancestors fighting on both sides.
He says a national day, coming after the settlement of historic claims, would help the country grow in maturity by recognising its past.
His ancestors fought on the crown side at the Battle of Kaokaoroa in Matata in April 1864, the day before the Battle at Pukehinahina, because they wrongly thought it would stop their land being confiscated.
He says his other personal link to the wars is through his grandmother who was married to Toko, son of Rua Kenana.
Some historians say Toko was the last person to die in the New Zealand Wars when he was shot by police during the 1916 invasion of Maungapohatu.
The Moderator says that he will be writing to all New Zealand Church leaders asking them to support the call for a national day as part of the 2014 bicentenary of the Christian Gospel in New Zealand.
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