Historic day for Ngati Haua

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Ngati Haua will sign a deed of settlement with the Crown at the Te Iti o Haua Marae, Tauwhare, on Friday, May 24, which will acknowledge the Crown’s breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi dating back to 1863.

To be attended by King Tuheitia and Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, the ceremony will start at 7am with the raising of the king’s flag.

Wiremu Tamihana, the kingmaker
Wiremu Tamihana, the kingmaker

Tamahere’s earliest person of note is Wiremu Tamihana, a chief of Ngati Haua, known as the Maori Kingmaker and revered as a peacemaker.

Ngati Haua was part of the 1995 Waikato Raupatu Settlement but the latest agreement covers claims specific to Ngāti Haua and excluded from the earlier pan-Tainui agreement.

Under the settlement, the Crown will acknowledge it acted unjustly and in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi by sending in its forces across the Mangatawhiri River in 1863.

The Office of Treaty Settlements will transfer a number of Crown properties to the iwi, including the Morrinsville Courthouse – which would then be leased back to the state. Financial redress will add up to $13 million.

Meanwhile, the occasion will also be marked the same day at the Waitaruru Sculpture Park with the re-dedication and re-installation of the artwork, Absolute Divide, which portrays the original boundary line, drawn in 1864 following the land wars, that separated the Waikato and Matamata/Piako districts.

The work, by Cheryl Reynolds, first installed in 2008, is a series of aerial photographs electronically ‘stitched’ into one long image of more than 26m. The images shows part of the Confiscation Line as it progresses for 43km from the top of Pukemoremore, in a dead straight line along Pukemoremore Road, along the northern boundary of the Sculpture Park over the hills at the back of Tauwhare along Valentines Road and north beyond Tauhei.

Absolute Divide, restored and rededicated at the Sculpture park
Absolute Divide, restored and rededicated at the Sculpture Park

The image is printed onto aluminium sheet and mounted on 20mm marine ply.

All up, the sculpture shows a stretch of more than 40km of an historic feature that has been – and still is – an important part of the Waikato political and social culture.

Cheryl Reynolds lives in the Waikato and is CEO of Soda Inc. Much of her art work has been based around boundaries and dividing lines, figurative or physical.

Funding for the restoration project was provided by the Tainui Trust and a Wintec research grant.

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