March 17, 2022
Two whakapapa remembered in Taranaki Wars commemoration
Taranaki iwi gathered at dawn at the site of Te Kohia Pā in Waitara where shots were fired on this day in 1860 to start the first Taranaki War.
The annual commemoration grew out of work Te Atiawa historian Hoani Eriwata was doing for Pukeariki Museum to teach school children about the battle that took place in their whenua.
He says it was the source of the intergenerational trauma that continues to afflict iwi and hapū, and an object lesson in what colonialism means.
The ceremony was attended by New Plymouth mayor Neil Holdom and iwi and hapū from around Taranaki mounga and further afield.
“Our dawn ceremony does start where the Taranaki-New Zealand Wars started on March 17, 1860, and after that, we go down to the cenotaph where the British soldiers are buried and we also honour them, so it’s to do with two worlds, two whakapapa,” Mr Eriwata says.
He’d like to see a papakainga and a whare hauora on the land to deal with the ongoing task of healing.