October 23, 2019
Waiata reveals Ngāti Hauā connection to Rangiriri
A waiata written by prisoners captured at Rangiriri in 1863 features in a new short film that will premiere at a Rā Maumahara event at Wellington’s City Gallery on October 28.
The film was made by Victoria University lecturers Arini Loader from Ngāti Raukawa and Mike Ross from Ngāti Hauā, as well as recent PhD graduate William Franco and filmmaker Hoani Hotene.
Dr Loader says the Battle of Rangiriri was the first pitched battle of the Waikato War, and 183 Māori were captured.
The waiata, with its opening line “Let the Sun shine’, was one of 230 written by the prisoners, along with karakia, whakatauki and narrative pieces that were collected by a guard into a manuscript that eventually made its way into former Governor Sir George Grey’s collection of Māori language material now housed at Auckland Central Library.
The waiata was sung by children from Te Wharekura o Te Rau Aroha in Morrinsville, who will be at the event.
Dr Loader says the project has helped reclaim a piece of history for Ngāti Hauā who fought at Rangiriri, but knew little about their ancestors taken as prisoners or about their voices contained in the manuscript.
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