Hamilton mayor apologises for ignoring NZ Land Wars

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King said we were lucky to have never seen war in New Zealand, overlooking the 19th century Land Wars.
Hamilton Mayor Andrew King said we were lucky to have never seen war in New Zealand, overlooking the 19th century Land Wars. Photo credit: Getty

The Mayor of Hamilton has apologised for seeming to overlook the New Zealand Land Wars in his Armistice Day speech.

During the city's Armistice Day commemorations on Saturday, Andrew King commented that New Zealanders were fortunate never to have seen war and conflict in their own country.

His speech was met with a public backlash, and Mayor King was criticised for seeming to forget about the Land Wars, a series of 19th-century conflicts over land ownership that killed thousands of people, most of whom were Māori.

Mr King released a statement on Monday apologising for his omission of the wars, which spanned from 1845 to 1872.

"My comments were made in the context of Armistice Day and the First World War, a conflict fought overseas in which 18,000 New Zealanders paid the ultimate sacrifice, although it was never fought on our soil," the statement reads.

"I have since received some public comment that my comments ignored the New Zealand Land Wars. In hindsight, I could have worded this better. I apologise unreservedly and hope the way my comments came out did not detract from Saturday's event as we paid tribute to those who gave their lives for us."

The weekend event marked the Armistice of November 11, 1918, which ended the First World War. In 2016 the Government said there was "no need" for a public holiday to commemorate the Land Wars, despite pressure from local communities.

Newshub.