20 Oct 2017

'It's giving our people back our pride'

5:01 pm on 20 October 2017

Commemorations for the 152nd anniversary of the Te Kupenga Pā battle are underway today in the Bay of Plenty settlement of Te Teko.

Kokohinau Marae in Te Teko

At the Kokohinau Marae in Te Teko. Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

On 20 October 1865, Crown forces defeated Ngāti Awa soldiers at Te Kupenga Pā, which resulted in large scale land confiscation.

The commemorations began with a dawn ceremony this morning followed by a powhiri for the Kingitanga, dignitaries, special guests and iwi from across Aotearoa.

Hakahaka Hona is one of the organisers for the Ngāti Awa Volunteers Army.

Hakahaka Hona, left. Photo: RNZ / Adriana Weber

Te Kupenga heritage committee spokesperson Hakahaka Hona said many locals didn't even know the battle site even existed.

"It's been a farm since it was lost in the confiscation and the people, my own grandparents didn't even know it was in the back there."

He said the commemoration was a significant event for the people of Ngāti Awa, Rangitaiki and Te Teko.

"It's giving our people back our pride that was once there, it's a powerful history... it was central place for the region, it was a busy place."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs