Representatives of New Zealand battle sites across the country have supported a set of resolutions that will see a dedicated Commemoration Day established next year.
The hui called for a dedicated day on 28 October each year starting in 2017. This day also marks the signing of Te Whakaputanga – The Declaration of Independence in 1835.
Rahui Papa, Chairman of Waikato-Tainui tribal executive Te Arataura, says “It’s wonderful to come to some agreement and resolution around this kaupapa.”
This kaupapa has been mooted, debated and discussed over several years, including at the Koroneihana of Kiingi Tuheitia in August. There the Deputy Prime Minister announced the Governments support of the initiative.
Mr Papa said the idea is to host a National Commemoration Day in Te Taitokerau in 2017 and then move around the country from year to year to fully appreciate all areas that these battles and invasions took place.
Leah Bell and Waimarama Anderson, the Otorohanga School Petition Leaders, feel a sense of relief that their hard work has contributed to a National Day. They say “We, our generation, worked hard to achieve more than 12,000 signatures to recognise these historic events and bring them to the notice of the nation.
“Each battle has its own story to tell and a National Commemoration Day will help in sharing that story with the whole country,” Leah and Waimarama said.
Mr Papa applauds the Hon. Nanaia Mahuta and the Minister for Maaori Development for bringing this to the attention of the Government. “Minister Flavell has been instrumental in adding this to the Governments agenda. There are still some aspirations to achieve, including putting it into the New Zealand curriculum and perhaps stronger recognition like a Statutory Commemoration Day.”
Ms Mahuta was the sponsor of the petition that was presented to Parliament in December last year where almost all political parties received the petition in Parliament Grounds.
Mr Papa went on to say, “The discussions will continue. We must face up to the happenings of the past to prepare all of Aotearoa – New Zealand for a brighter, more unified future! Me maumahara taatou – We must remember!”