May 22, 2016
Rekohu pilgrimage telling other story
A member of last week’s Rongowhakaata pilgrimage to Rekohu-Chatham Islands says it highlighted why New Zealand history needs to be taught in schools.
The iwi made the trip to mark the 150th anniversary of the imprisonment of hundreds of people from the Turanga-Gisborne area after the battle of Waerenga a Hika in late 1865.
Among those exiled, even though he fought on the side of the crown, was Te Kooti Rikirangi.
Willie Te Aho says the ope visited significant sites including the place where Te Kooti had the visions that led to his forming the Ringatu Church and leading the escape from the island.
He says it’s the sort of history young Maori want to learn but don’t get at school.
"At Matatini last year we did a haka saying 'tell the true story of what happened to our ancestors like Te Kooti' and so the Waerenga a Hika battle and the commemoration there, going to Rekohu, is about us walking our talk and actually ensuring that the proper story and another side to our story is told," he says.
Willie Te Aho says Rongowhakaata will work with Moriori and Ngati Mutunga on a memorial for the 21 people who died on the island during the exile.
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