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18/10/2018 12:00 p.m.
18 October 2018
Waipā’s central role in the New Zealand Land Wars will be back under the national spotlight this month with preparations now well underway for a formal commemorative service.
Ngā Iwi Tōpu o Waipā and Waipa District Council will jointly host a service on Rā Maumahara National Day of Commemoration on Sunday 28 October. On this date in 1835, the Declaration of Independence of New Zealand (He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tirene) was signed.
Rā Maumahara was nationally recognised for the first time last year to mark the New Zealand Land Wars which took an estimated 2,750 lives. Armed conflict was rife in Waipā with local battle sites including Rangiaowhia, Waiari, Paterangi, Hairini and the battle of Ōrākau.
Last year Waipa District Council, which has long advocated for greater public recognition of the Land Wars, was the only council in New Zealand to support a public event. In June last year, the Council signed off on a $7.2 million spend for Te Ara Wai, a new discovery centre for the district to be based in Te Awamutu. Te Ara Wai will have a strong focus on the New Zealand Land Wars and will link to the district’s local battle sites.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest said this year’s commemorative service will continue to formally recognise and acknowledge the district’s respect for the role Waipā played in New Zealand’s heritage. A formal service will be held in Kihikihi at the Rewi Maniapoto Memorial on the corner of Lyon and Whitmore Streets at 10am. A light morning tea will follow in the Kihikihi School Hall.
“Everybody is very welcome to attend and to pay their respects to those who died on both sides of the conflict,” Mylchreest said. “This is an important day of reflection, particularly for Waipā, and it is important we take some time to really think about our district’s heritage.”
This week, as part of its efforts to increase recognition of Waipā’s heritage, the Council began flying street flags throughout the district, commemorating the New Zealand Land Wars.
Photograph: New Zealand Land Wars commemoration flags on the main street of Te Awamutu.