Iwi planning tell its own story: ‘Te Ha does not speak for us’

As the first people in New Zealand to have contact with explorer Lieutenant James Cook, Tupaia and the crew of the Endeavour in 1769, Gisborne iwi Rongowhakaata plan to create their own programme of events for the 2019 commemorations.

On Saturday morning, the iwi will hold an open workshop to give Rongowhakaata people, and anyone else who is interested, the opportunity to share ideas.

Rongowhakaata’s programme of events in the lead-up and during the commemorations will be independent of Te Ha Sestercentennial Trust’s programme.

“We are trying to rally Rongowhakaata around telling our story,” says Rongowhakaata Iwi trustee Jody Wyllie.

“We were here 1000 years before Cook’s arrival.

“We didn’t crash-land here. Part of this is about wanting to dispel all those myths. We had blood stock already here. We came out of the earth.”

The iwi is disappointed no one from the Te Ha Trust has approached Rongowhakaata’s board to say “what’s your kaupapa?”

“Te Ha doesn’t speak for us. They are doing the same thing Cook did 200 years ago. Rongowhakaata will be inclusive of everyone.”

Significant occasions such as Waitangi Day, Matariki and the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Ringatu faith are among major platforms for Rongowhakaata in the lead-up to 2019, says Mr Wyllie.

“At the workshop on Saturday people will talk about their ideas going forward. Bring your good ideas.”

The workshop will be at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday from 10am.

As the first people in New Zealand to have contact with explorer Lieutenant James Cook, Tupaia and the crew of the Endeavour in 1769, Gisborne iwi Rongowhakaata plan to create their own programme of events for the 2019 commemorations.

On Saturday morning, the iwi will hold an open workshop to give Rongowhakaata people, and anyone else who is interested, the opportunity to share ideas.

Rongowhakaata’s programme of events in the lead-up and during the commemorations will be independent of Te Ha Sestercentennial Trust’s programme.

“We are trying to rally Rongowhakaata around telling our story,” says Rongowhakaata Iwi trustee Jody Wyllie.

“We were here 1000 years before Cook’s arrival.

“We didn’t crash-land here. Part of this is about wanting to dispel all those myths. We had blood stock already here. We came out of the earth.”

The iwi is disappointed no one from the Te Ha Trust has approached Rongowhakaata’s board to say “what’s your kaupapa?”

“Te Ha doesn’t speak for us. They are doing the same thing Cook did 200 years ago. Rongowhakaata will be inclusive of everyone.”

Significant occasions such as Waitangi Day, Matariki and the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Ringatu faith are among major platforms for Rongowhakaata in the lead-up to 2019, says Mr Wyllie.

“At the workshop on Saturday people will talk about their ideas going forward. Bring your good ideas.”

The workshop will be at Waikanae Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday from 10am.

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