Tauranga Moana commemorates battle at ancient Katikati Pā site

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Northern hapū of Tauranga Moana are commemorating their tūpuna who fought at Te Kauri and Ongare Point in Katikati that was confiscated by the crown, to mark today's inaugural National Commemorations Day of New Zealand Land Wars, Homai te Rā.

A carved post is erected to remember the ancient Te Kauri Pā site.

Ngāti Tauwhao hapū representative Reon Tuanau told Te Kāea, “We're really glad we've gathered to acknowledge this prestigious day of our remembrance of our ancestors who fought in the land battles. They grew vegetable gardens at those Pā sites. However, where ever food grew, enemies would come to steal your food source.”

The Tauranga Moana subtribes of Ngāi Tamawhariua, Ngāti Te Wae, Ngāi Tauwhao and the community of Katikati are commemorating the land battles of the region and around the country.

“I recall the battle at Rangiāwhaio, the place where my ancestors lived,” said Ngāti Maniapoto elder Paeahi Wanakore, “I remember those of Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui who fought for this land.”

In 1864 Te Kauri and Ongare Pā sites were confiscated by the crown under the Te Puna Katikati compulsory purchase, following the battle at Te Rangaranga.

Western Bay District Council deputy mayor Mike Williams says, “New Zealanders need to know their own history. Know what went on prior to Europeans. When the Europeans came and the battles that were between Māori and Pākehā over land. We need to understand and recognise what happened.”

Wanakore says, “We need to raise the awareness about what happened in the past for our children and those to come. The land battles in their regions.”

Plans are underway to establish a cultural recognition area at the historical Te Kauri Pā site that will be completed in three years.