1 Nov 2016

Date set for NZ Wars commemorations

9:51 am on 1 November 2016

A day to commemorate the New Zealand Wars has been decided on.

A haka on Parliament grounds during the presentation of petition to have the Land Wars recognised.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Representatives of the battle sites throughout the country have agreed the dedication day should be on 28 October.

This day also marks the signing of He Whakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence in 1835.

The first National Commemoration Day will be held in Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) next year, then move around the country from year to year to all areas where the battles and invasions took place.

The chairman of the Waikato executive Te Arataura, Rahui Papa, said the decision to mark the events had wide support.

He acknowledged two Otorohanga school girls who took a petition to their local MP Nanaia Mahuta, at Parliament, which led to the decision.

"It means we will be able to tell those stories, it means bringing it to a higher level of understanding across all communities in Aotearoa.

"These are events that have helped shape the nation as we know it today and there are still a whole lot of stories that remain untold."

The New Zealand Wars were battles in the 19th century between Māori allies and colonial troops.

They began just a few years after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and ended in the early 1870s.

The impact of the wars and the land confiscations were significant for Māori and generations which followed. It's believed about 3000 Pākehā and Māori were killed, but Māori suffered the most losses of life.

Mr Papa said there were still some aspirations to achieve, including putting the history of NZ Wars into the New Zealand education curriculum.

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