Battle of Ruapekapeka commemorated

  • 10/01/2016
Battle of Ruapekapeka commemorated

Hundreds of people have attended a commemoration of the battle of Ruapekapeka Pa in Northland.

The battle between British and aligned Maori forces and Ngapuhi leaders started in December 1845 and ended in January 1846.

Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell and representatives from many iwi are attending the commemorations.

The event started with a dawn service at 5am today at Ruapekapeka Pa, south of Kawakawa.

There was a breakfast at the Akerama Marae at 7am, with a second powhiri at 11am.

Warriors from Ngati Hine, Ngapuhi Nui Tonu, Tauranga Moana and Waikato Tainui have all participated in the commemoration, video posted online by Te Kaea shows.

The battle was the last of the Northern War, which was a reaction to the increasing control of the colonial government.

A Ngapuhi group led by Hone Heke and Te Ruki Kawiti fought British troops and another Ngapuhi group.

Ruapekapeka is the best preserved New Zealand Wars site. It's renowned for its engineering and many of the earth defences are still visible.

A loop track around the site was created in 2003 when Ruapekapeka was designated a Historic Icon Site. A modern waharoa, or carved gateway, provides access to the pa site.

Ruapekapeka is a wahi tapu or sacred site, where blood was shed and visitors are asked to treat it with respect.