Rā Maumahara honours lives lost in land wars

Shane Te Ruki speaks with a member of the Australian Defence Force. Photo – Michael Jeans.

A community event to celebrate the first ever New Zealand Wars National Day of Commemoration was held in Te Awaumutu on Saturday.

Last year the government announced Rā Maumahara National Day of Commemoration will be held on October 28 each year. On this date in 1835, the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand (He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene) was signed.

The inaugural event commemorated the armed conflict in Wairau, Northland, Taranaki, Waikato, Waipa, Te Urewera, Tauranga, Ōpōtiki and the East Coast during the 1800s.  That armed conflict was rife in Waipa and the district’s own battle sites include Rangiaowhia, Waiari, Paterangi, Hairini, and the battle of Ōrākau.

Around 130 people turned out at St John’s Anglican Church in Te Awamutu for an hour-long service that included the laying of wreaths to honour the estimated 2,750 lives that were lost in the fighting.

Keilah Bailey (left) and Lily Hayward from Pukahue School lay a wreath. Photo – Michael Jeans.

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