Calls for national day commemorating NZ Land Wars continue

By Heta Gardiner

Thousands of people gathered at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park this morning to remember those who fell in Gallipoli.

But some are still calling for a national day to commemorate the New Zealand Land Wars.

Thoughts are with the soldiers who lost their lives abroad.

But many believe those who fought here at home should also be remembered.

Awanuiarangi Black says, “We need one special day. If we don't continue to remember, then those same mistakes might happen again.”

A new public holiday to mark the New Zealand Wars has been a popular topic among Māori over the last year.

Awanuiarangi Black believes iwi should administer the event.

“Iwi and hapū should each have their turn hosting this event.”

Te Ururoa Flavell has presented the idea to the Prime Minister.

John Key isn't ruling it out but is reluctant to establish a public holiday.

Flavell says for Māori the focus isn't on a holiday, but a chance to remember the past. 

He says, “After visiting iwi throughout the country, I have found the main priority for them is to find a day of remembrance.”

Jason Ngatai says, “We should acknowledge all the wars, especially those ones that don't get recognised. We should at least attend some sort of memorial, or attend something just to recognise them too.”

In December last year, a petition with10,000 signatures calling for a national day to commemorate the NZ Land Wars was presented to Parliament.