May 14, 2015
Crown buys Orakau battle site
Waikato Tainui executive chair Rahui Papa is welcoming the Crown purchase of the Orakau battle site near Te Awamutu.
About 150 Maori and 16 British soldiers died in the battle as march turned into April 1864.
The purchase of the 9.7 hectare block from farmer Chris and Sue Kay will be completed this week and the property landbanked by the Office of Treaty Settlements while discussions with iwi groups continue.
Mr Papa says the site was important to both Maori and Pakeha, but for many years the only memorial was a small cairn on the site.
"After the Battle of Orakau the lands were divvied up and given out to the high ranking soldiers among the colonial troops. So we had to fight hard for that monument so it's quite dear to the Tainui people and indeed to all of the people that took part and this is really a huge piece of recognition and it shows how New Zealand has matured," he says.
Mr Papa expects there will be some sort of community project on the land to mark its significance.
Copyright © 2015, UMA Broadcasting Ltd: www.waateanews.com