New Zealand Wars commemorations highlight importance of our history

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Prime Minister Māori Development

The commemoration of the New Zealand Wars highlights the importance of learning our history in order to understand who we are today, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said.

Te Pūtake o te Riri, He Rā Maumahara, is a national commemoration for the wars and conflicts within Aotearoa between the Crown and Māori, and was held for the second year in a row today in Waitara.

It was born from calls for a national day of commemoration for the New Zealand Wars, including a petition organised by Ōtorohanga College students in 2015.

“The history of the New Zealander Wars is important for all New Zealanders to know and understand and it’s especially important for our rangatahi to learn about their history and identity,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As I announced in September our history will be part of the local curriculum in all schools and kura by 2022. The curriculum changes will include learning about the New Zealand Wars.

“Having a greater understanding of our past, the people and the places that together made our history gives us the foundation for a shared future,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I commend the work of the regional Taranaki communities led by local Iwi to band together and offer new ways of being able to share the conflicts in the region that enable all New Zealand to participate and learn about our history,” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“Providing site visits and educational programmes and resources will all work towards creating better awareness of the impact of these encounters between both Pākehā and Māori in the region.” 

“Te Pūtake o te Riri is an event that we can ensure our common history is shared with both the general public and those in our regions, so that all citizens of this country can be better informed about these watershed moments that have defined our nation,” Minister Mahuta said.

Note to editors:

  • In 2015 a petition was delivered to Parliament by Waimarama Anderson and Leah Bell from Ōtorohanga College who collected 13,000 signatures in support of a national day of commemoration and also to include the New Zealand Wars in the school curriculum.
  • The catalyst for this was learning more about the Waikato land war sites by local elders at Ōrākau and Rangiaowhia.
  • The annual commemoration is the second held, the first was in Te Taitokerau in Russell. Ōrākau received the mauri and will hold the next commemoration in the Waikato on October 28 2020.
  • A series of lessons about the land wars in Taranaki will be hosted in addition to the guided site tour to historical places where the land wars took place at Te Kōhia and Pukerangiora pā.
  • Taranaki primary and secondary schools were invited to attend and participate in custom-designed educational programme that provided both students and teachers with resources and educated them about the history of the region.
  • For more information about Te Pūtake o te Riri, go to