Thursday, December 10, 2015
Mike Butler: Petitioning for day of grievance
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.
at 11:13 AM