National | NZ Land Wars

Native Affairs - Māori Warrior Lessons

The battle cries of Pukehinahina still resound after 171 years. Through their haka, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Otepou is reliving the famous battle fought between Tauranga iwi and the Crown.

More than 250 Māori warriors were outnumbered by 1700 Bristish troops.  Using the most sophisticated artillery of the time, Lieutenant-General Cameron ordered fire on the pā which lasted 8 long hours.

Twice the number of British died compared to Māori and historians called it a humiliating defeat for the Crown.

Gate Pā is one of many historic battles between Māori and European soldiers in the country. But should we be learning it at school? And who’s responsibility is it?

Māori history is compulsory at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Otepou. Pukehinahina Trust Chairman Josh Te Kani wishes he’d been taught about Tauranga Māori when he was at school.

“When I was at high school, I remember learning about the civil wars in America. It gave me no sence of grounding on the land of which I was born onto. This history is ours and it is something that has created the city we are standing upon today,” he says.

Te Kani is an advocate for making the NZ Land Wars a compulsary subject in all schools across Aotearoa.

“I think that kind of honesty with our history, uncovering it again and celebrating the good and commemorating the bad as well, I think can only grow and nurture our tamariki.”