Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mike Butler: Petitioning for day of grievance


Otorohanga College students with painted faces and traditional costume converged on Parliament this week to present a petition demanding a national day of remembrance for anti-government Maori killed during several 19th century tribal rebellions.

Sporadic armed conflict accompanied the settlement of New Zealand, from 1843 to 1869, with the bulk of the fighting during the 1860s in Taranaki, Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, and the east coast of the North Island.

These armed conflicts have been referred to as "Maori wars", "land wars", "the great wars of Aotearoa", "Anglo-Maori wars", "sovereignty wars", or "the New Zealand wars".

During these wars, 2899 people lost their lives, including pro- and anti-government Maori, settlers, and British soldiers, according to historian James Cowan.

A total of 2154 anti-government Maori were killed, with 772 casualties involving Pai Marire-Hau Hau fighters who believed they were bulletproof if they ran against gunfire chanting the Hau Hau battle cry.

A further 619 were killed in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty area. Of course Otorohanga (population 2640) is in the King Country, the location to which the Maori King and his supporters retreated to from the advance of colonial troops.

The defeat of Kingitanga supporters at Orakau, which is 20-minutes’ drive from Otorohanga, in April 1864, marked the end of armed conflict in Waikato.

The Kingitanga, or Maori King Movement, arose among some tribes in the central North Island in the late 1850s, to establish a role similar in status to that of the monarch of the British colonists.

Historian Cowan, whose father fought in the Waikato, wrote that: “It was a racial war; the Maori aim was to sweep the pakeha to the sea, as the pakeha government’s object was to teach the Maori his subjection to British authority. The Europeans were not without warning that the sharp and barbarous old methods of warfare were to be revived.”

A comment on One News that '”we don't have any days recognising blood Maori put on the ground for the building of this nation” fails to understand that Maori fighting against the government in the 19th century were in rebellion and were opposed to “the building of this nation” .

The “Maori blood on the ground” types are equally silent on the Maori blood shed fighting for the government, and the huge numbers of Maori deaths at the hands of other Maori during the inter-tribal carnage from 1807 to 1845.

Revenge killings for many of the pre-1845 conflicts carried through to the 1860s wars, especially on the East Coast of the North Island.

The site of the Orakau battle features a memorial obelisk on Arapuni Rd, 4km south-east of Kihikihi, which is 4km south of Te Awamutu on Highway 3.

Waikato battle remembrances appeared over the past few years so a logical next step is to demand a national day. The petition by Otorohanga students was a well-planned stunt that garnered national coverage.

That would have to compete with an earlier push to rename the November 5 Guy Fawke’s fireworks festivities "Parihaka day". This would be to mark the old Taranaki Hau Hau Te Whiti and his so-called peaceful protest.

Waitangi Day functions as a national "Maori day" that is routinely ignored by most who take it as an extra day off in the summer sun. A day to recycle grievances will not get widespread support.

6 comments:

55 cruiser said...

lets have a day to commemorate the red haired fair skinned people that occupied NZ before the Maori came and annihilated them. What about a day to commemorated the killing and eating of the Moriori to extinction by the Maori...So many more notable atrocities happened in NZ than a bunch of land wars. Minor detail stuff really given the Maori still exist and the red hair fair skinned people or the Moriori don't. let us remember them instead.

Stevo Carson said...

How about a grievance day for all those that will die because the Govt wont fund the melanoma treatment, because there's no money available after all the bogus maori claims have been paid out. There always seems to be plenty to waste on those that contribute nothing to society, but when it comes to looking after those hard working tax payers the money dries up.

Barry said...

I too think the claims were bogus.

John MacDonald said...

New Zealand Day

Should we not rename Waitangi Day {again} New Zealand day and commemorate our growth as a nation rather than just one moment in time?

Along with the arrival of the Spaniard, J Fernandez in 1574, Abel Tasman in 1642, Captain Cook in 1770, the Musket Wars between 1807 and 1845, the Declaration of Independence in 1835, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, New Zealand officially becoming a British Colony in 1841, a Dominion in 1907, the NZ Wars – long known as the Maori wars which took place between 1845 and 1872, are just another part of our history and do not, in my view at least justify, another public holiday.

Let us, as a multicultural nation (comprising 213 ethnic groups according to the 2013 census) in the 21st century, choose to celebrate our diverse history - not just tiny one moment of it on the 6th February.

Peter Caulton said...

The Littlewood document should be paraded before parliament and the MP´s asked to show some guts and put a stop to the rape of whitey through his labour.

Victor Jowsey said...

What on earth has been happening at Otorohanga College?
Students as individuals are, of course free to experess any predjudices but linking the College to such ludicrous activity immediately taints the college administration as racist.
So what is the local community doing about that?
There must be many Moari farming families in the district whose children attend that College.
Are they realy so upset about their distorted views of their history that they are able to ignore the benign,
progressive and prosperous times that now exist principally because of the existence here of a western oriented social system?
This event shows clearly the degree of bias that has crept into the New Zealand educational system.
A truly progressive and secular scool administrator would have gone to great pains to distance the schools' name from such activity. Perhaps this is where the struggle for truth should be concentrated.