May 8, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Remembering the 150th anniversary of the Battle of O-Rakau (+links)

2 min read


On April 1st there will be a dawn ceremony and memorial service at Orakau to commemorate 150 years since the battle of Orakau / Rewi Maniapoto’s last stand.

This from the website “For 150 years the old battle site stood as a sentinel waiting to be acknowledged and for its legacy so long ignored to be honoured.

Local Marae, Iwi, heritage groups, leaders and professional historians had not taken the steps necessary to protect this treasure of national significance. The story and legacy had been almost erased from our collective memory.

The Battle of O-Rakau Heritage Society [BOOHSI] emerged as the lone voice who had taken up the challenge and leadership role to ensure the sacrifices of those who fought and fell at O-Rakau are respected. The aim is to ensure that the resting place of the tipuna/ancestors is transformed from dairy farm paddocks to a shrine for heroes and patriots and a beacon of hope for the nation.”

Background (Ngati Whakaue links)

In 1864 Hine i turama Tapsell and her pregnant daughter Ewa Hooper (nee Tapsell) from Ngati Whakaue along with 300 other women children Kuia and Koroua were bayonetted to death by General Cameron and his army then buried in mass graves where they fell.

This will be the first time a dawn ceremony involving Tikanga Maori has been allowed to happen in the 150 years since the battle.

Descendants of Hine i turama have been gathering as well descendants of her brothers Marino te Waru and Kiharoa.

The people who lost their lives at Orakau were mainly from, Te Arawa, Tuhoe, Tuwharetoa, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Maniapoto, Tainui / Waikato Tainui.

This is the first time that all these Iwi will be able to meet and grieve collectively within Tikanga Maori for all the Tupuna that lost their lives at Orakau.

If you would like to attend, registration forms are attached as well as the breakdown on how the day will flow, which has been put together by the “Orakau 300 Board” that are organising the event.


Reservations operate on a first in first served basis. There is a small reservations transaction and administration fee required. Note this is NOT an attendance fee it is a fee to cover the cost of the registrations process and Access Cards and Lanyards. Attendance is free. Those who are not registered can still attend and turn up on the day of the main event however because of safety and numbers may have to be situated outside of the central Commemoration seating area.

Ngati Whakaue/Te Arawa

Rawhitiroa Owairaka Marae at Bayley Road Te Awamutu is available for Ngati Whakaue / Te Arawa to stay on March 31st so as to be up at 5am for the dawn ceremony.



1 thought on “Remembering the 150th anniversary of the Battle of O-Rakau (+links)

  1. Really important for all NZers to acknowledge the history of New Zealand and to understand what happened so that we can identify with the loss, the horror and not repeat it again by our actions and support for ignorant opinions and so be part of constructing more just communities, now and in the future.

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