August 23, 2023
Mihaka protests helped shape the nation
The late Dun Mihaka is being described as someone whose actions have helped to shape the nation.
Te Ringa Mangu Mihaka died yesterday at the age of 81, after a lifetime of fighting efforts to colonise him in his own land.
Te Rarawa elder Haami Piripi says he was a descendant of Ruatara, one of the first Ngāpuhi leaders to become closely associated with Europeans.
Raised in a Once Were Warriors-type setting of alcohol and violence, he learned to read and write in prison and went on to write two books about Maori protest and sovereignty.
Mr Piripi says he was in court the day Mr Mihaka refused to speak English to the judge.
“It was that stand which shifted the court’s thinking and the court’s ability to respond to our particular needs, to accepting the status of Maori as a language of use. The judge would say to him ‘I know very well you can speak English,’ and he would say ‘(TRANCRIBE PLEASE) heare te mea ko mohio koe ko te Maori toku reo.’ Making a stand like that takes guts and it always enrages the system which is what he was able to. He’s the guy who showed his bum to royalty and got away with it. Sure he was arrested but he’s remembered for it,” he says.
Te Ringa Mangu (Dun) Mihaka has been taken to Parawhenua Marae in the Bay of Islands.
Moe mai, moe mai, moe mai ra i te rangatira