Hone Heke secretly buried early amid security fears
Hone Heke secretly buried early amid heightened
In the early hours of this morning, just before sunrise, a small private ceremony was held at which the remains of the nineteenth-century warrior chief Hone Heke were buried – two years after they were removed from their former resting place on an eighth of an acre at Umutakiura (near Pakaraka in Northland) because of property developers encroaching on the site.
The burial was led by David Rankin, the representative of Heke’s whanau, and was held in secrecy amid mounting concerns that a group of activists was planning to disrupt the ceremony scheduled for the end of the month, and possibly steal the bones.
“The risk was just too great,” says Mr Rankin. “Heke was a chief of supreme mana to Ngapuhi, and we could not let a few glory-seekers hijack the day and cause widespread embarrassment to Ngapuhi.”
Heke’s bones were laid to rest in a cave this morning next to the remains of one of his ancestors. Mr Rankin says that the location will remain a closely-guarded secret to prevent the bones being disturbed.
This brings to a final close one of the most important chapters in New Zealand history.
“From this time one,” says Mr Rankin, “Heke will be able to rest in peace, without any threat of developers or anyone else.”