Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei mark 175 years since signing over land to the Crown

By Harata Brown

Ngāti Whātua descendants marked a significant point in New Zealand history today.  175 years ago, Ngāti Whātua gifted land to the Crown to help establish Auckland as the capital of New Zealand. 

This is near the site where ancestors of Ngāti Whātua such as Apihai Te Kawau officially transferred land through the signing of a provisional deed.

Taiaha Hawke of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust says, "This is a significant day for those of us who descend from Te Kawau Te Tawa so that we remember his contribution in establishing the city of Auckland."

This is the first time the event has been commemorated.  It was a day that saw the transfer of 3500 acres of land.  Te Hei Tamaariki hopes this particular history will be taught to all of her people. 

Te Hei Tamaariki says, "I hope this day doesn't end here.  I hope it continues annually so our descendants learn and know the histories pertaining to their ancestor, Apihai Te Kawau."

The Ngāti Whātua Trust recently filed papers with the High Court seeking clarification over the Crown's process to settle overlapping treaty claims in the Auckland CBD following the Crown's current negotiations with Ngāti Paoa.

Phil Davis, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust chair says, "That's a big issue for us because they are negotiating the transfer of surplus land within our district to other tribes.  That's a huge issue because they received these lands as a gift.  If they no longer require it, then it should be returned to us in the first instance."

An even larger event is being planned for the New Year.  Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust hope to share their history with the wider Auckland community.