PGF makes Māori history more accessible

One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced.

Nanaia Mahuta said the site, at Rangiriri Pā in northern Waikato, played an important role in shaping New Zealand’s history.

“Rangiriri Pā is where the battle which sparked the Waikato land war was waged and is considered the bloodiest combat during that conflict, costing both Māori and Pākehā dearly.

“As a result, the Battle of Rangiriri is of significant cultural and historical importance, particularly for Māori.”

A Ngāti Naho and Waikato-Tainui partnership will use the funding to recreate the Rangiriri Pā trenches close to the original battle site near State Highway 1. 

“This initiative will create a world-class heritage site that will help attract more visitors to Rangiriri and surrounding communities” Nanaia Mahuta said.

This is a great start to learning the history of the Waikato land war, Raupatu and the impact they have had on our nation.  By sharing this history through re-enactments, the Battle of Rangiriri’s significance can be better understood by New Zealanders and visitors.

“Recreating Rangiriri’s militarily ingenious fortifications, which were conceived, designed and built by our people, also acknowledges our tupuna’s strategic and innovative thinking.”

Shane Jones said the investment would provide up to 10 construction jobs for people who lost work through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Once the battle trenches are completed, Ngāti Naho expects up to another 30 jobs to be created through guided tours and battle re-enactments.”

Rangiriri is part of a larger programme to connect with other historically significant sites – Ruapekapeka and Ōhaewai in Northland and Parihaka in Taranaki.

“All four are now being backed by the Provincial Growth Fund, with Ruapekapeka receiving $2m in September, $1.7m going to Ōhaewai in August and Parihaka receiving $14m in June. 

“Today’s investment and our history combine to create a unique tourism package which will provide employment and other economic benefits for the iwi and local hapu such as Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Naho,” Shane Jones said.