March 12, 2018
Suitcase surprise in Ruapekapeka maumahara
One of the organisers of the first Ra Maumahara national commemoration of the New Zealand Wars says a highlight was being able to walk the battle fields with the descendants of those who fought there.
Huhana Lyndon says Ngapuhi made sure local marae were involved in preparing for each stage of the weekend, which included a powhiri for the tribes at Waitangi, visits to Ohaewae and Ruapekapeka on Saturday and a flag raising, service and procession through Russell on Sunday, the 173rd anniversary of the Battle of Kororareka.
She says even for those who had visited the sites before, it was a special experience, as when kaumatua Hirini Henare led the tour of Ruapekapeka.
"He had a suitcase full of tupuna who fought at Ruapekapeka and their descendants and he would pull out the photo pf the tupuna and say 'and here and here and here, this tupuna, this is what occurred here.' He was well prepared and he walked us across the battle lines and he gave us a blow by blow account of the tamariki and the women who were water carriers and the fact tyhere was a spring on the pa and all these historical things you might not hear on your average site visit," Ms Lyndon says.
Ngapuhi also appreciated the support they got from tira haka from all the other whenua riri around the country for the occasion.
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