Poll majority against Tairawhiti land wars day

Nearly 70 percent of those who responded to this week’s Herald web poll “Tairawhiti land wars day” were opposed to the proposal from Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri to commemorate a Tairawhiti land wars day.

The question was: “Would you support a Tairawhiti land wars day being held each year on November 15? (The first day of the siege of Waerenga a Hika in 1865).”

Of the 427 people who took part in the poll, 68 percent (288) said “no”, 28 percent (121) were in favour and 4 percent (18) were undecided.

“No — we have to move forward, not keep on looking over our shoulder,” said one opponent.

Other comments from the “no” voters were:

“Absolutely not. It’s just stirring up old wounds and causing division.”

“The Waerenga a Hika siege is a spillover event from the Ngati Porou civil war between kupapa and the Hauhau adherents. It would be disingenuous to associate it with the land wars.”

“Let’s celebrate something truly worth it . . . the voyages and arrival in New Zealand of Captain Cook!”

“‘Lest we forget but we always do! Better and less divisive to celebrate New Zealand Founders’ Day Kiwa, Kuuki, Tupaia, Abel and co.”

“There would be faults on both sides of what happened. If both Pakeha and Maori are to get along together, these sorry days of history should be left there.”

“We already commemorate every year the ‘wars’ of this land and other lands on Anzac Day and Remembrance Sunday. We do not need to add individual battles. Not one man or woman can stand and say that their ancestors have not maimed or killed another in the name of war. Everyone did, and in some countries still do.”

“We do not need another day to complain about past perceived wrongs . . . . Rewriting and reinterpreting history is unproductive and causes polarisation and fresh divisions.”

Those in favour voiced their views too.

“A Tairawhiti land wars day should be celebrated and include ‘stories’ — there isn’t one ‘official’ story — covering the entire coast, ‘hakihaki and all’, from Turanga to Uawa to Tokomaru to Ruatorea etc.

“If we can remember WW1 and WW2 on foreign soil, we can most certainly remember the Tairawhiti land wars of which we know almost nothing. Why is that?”

“Yes. We commemorate international wars, why can we not commemorate local wars?”

“This is an important event for not just Te Tairawhiti but for all Maori.”

One of the undecided said: “I would be interested in learning about our history but why a day off for it? A day commemorating our land wars sounds like something that could end up being quite a negative thing for our community.”

Another said: “I am undecided. What will it achieve? Will the land be given back?”

Nearly 70 percent of those who responded to this week’s Herald web poll “Tairawhiti land wars day” were opposed to the proposal from Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri to commemorate a Tairawhiti land wars day.

The question was: “Would you support a Tairawhiti land wars day being held each year on November 15? (The first day of the siege of Waerenga a Hika in 1865).”

Of the 427 people who took part in the poll, 68 percent (288) said “no”, 28 percent (121) were in favour and 4 percent (18) were undecided.

“No — we have to move forward, not keep on looking over our shoulder,” said one opponent.

Other comments from the “no” voters were:

“Absolutely not. It’s just stirring up old wounds and causing division.”

“The Waerenga a Hika siege is a spillover event from the Ngati Porou civil war between kupapa and the Hauhau adherents. It would be disingenuous to associate it with the land wars.”

“Let’s celebrate something truly worth it . . . the voyages and arrival in New Zealand of Captain Cook!”

“‘Lest we forget but we always do! Better and less divisive to celebrate New Zealand Founders’ Day Kiwa, Kuuki, Tupaia, Abel and co.”

“There would be faults on both sides of what happened. If both Pakeha and Maori are to get along together, these sorry days of history should be left there.”

“We already commemorate every year the ‘wars’ of this land and other lands on Anzac Day and Remembrance Sunday. We do not need to add individual battles. Not one man or woman can stand and say that their ancestors have not maimed or killed another in the name of war. Everyone did, and in some countries still do.”

“We do not need another day to complain about past perceived wrongs . . . . Rewriting and reinterpreting history is unproductive and causes polarisation and fresh divisions.”

Those in favour voiced their views too.

“A Tairawhiti land wars day should be celebrated and include ‘stories’ — there isn’t one ‘official’ story — covering the entire coast, ‘hakihaki and all’, from Turanga to Uawa to Tokomaru to Ruatorea etc.

“If we can remember WW1 and WW2 on foreign soil, we can most certainly remember the Tairawhiti land wars of which we know almost nothing. Why is that?”

“Yes. We commemorate international wars, why can we not commemorate local wars?”

“This is an important event for not just Te Tairawhiti but for all Maori.”

One of the undecided said: “I would be interested in learning about our history but why a day off for it? A day commemorating our land wars sounds like something that could end up being quite a negative thing for our community.”

Another said: “I am undecided. What will it achieve? Will the land be given back?”

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Rae O'Connor, Tamaki Makaurau - 1 month ago
I am so disappointed that this poll came to that conclusion. I wholeheartedly agree with the Member of Parliament who suggested this special day of remembrance.
For those whose ancestors were involved, knowledge of the tipuna who lived in this time, those who lived it, is vital. The tipuna who were threatened to have their whenua taken from them, if they were not good and loyal to the Crown!
I Googled it years ago and read the heartfelt pleas of tipuna, lists with signatures pleading to the Government not to take their land.
Just plain cruel, and it continues . . . by those voting no with their ignorant, unfeeling comments as to why not.
The people voting, who seem to know nothing about what they were voting on' the people of the mind that Cook's crew "did not kill enough of them"! The people who can afford to read The Gisborne Herald.
My tipuna were there, and I would dearly love a day of commemoration for all of Turanganui a Kiwa.

Dan Boyn - 8 days ago
Like most places, the history of Aotearoa is riddled with civil wars, along with smaller battles, skirmishes, feuds and "incidents", including those between competing iwi and hapu. These stories are worth telling and remembering, but can widen divisions.

A core of our humam nature is the psychology of groups - in group vs out group, us vs them. We tend to make excuses for "us", and to focus on the misdeeds of "them". This helps us feel better and strengthens in-group cohesion. The challenge is that we each identify many overlapping, shifting and sometimes contradictory groups, including tangled ancestral roots, culture, nationality, age, gender, occupation, political party, etc...

If we commemorate all domestic conflicts, we'll have time for little else and will inevitably disagree about the details. It is far easier to unify behind romantic tales about past bravery in wars with foreign adversaries.

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