Maori claim to strike at heart of Auckland’s Queen Street
Sunday 25 November 2012
claim to strike at heart of Auckland’s Queen Street.
One of the biggest commercial buildings in New
Zealand – the Phillips Fox Tower in central Auckland –
stands on ground that an iwi wants registered as a waahi
tapu or sacred site, under the Resource Management Act.
In March 1842, the Ngapuhi chief Maketu was executed on
the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street West.
“This was the first Maori executed by the British”, says
Ngapuhi leader David Rankin. “He was a rangatira, or
chief, and his execution at this spot makes it sacred to
Maori – the spot where any rangatira is killed is
Mr Rankin will be seeking the
support of the Auckland Council’s Maori Statutory Board in
his application, to have the location officially designated
as a waahi tapu. “This is about the recognition of a site
that is of extreme historical importance to Ngapuhi”, says
Mr Rankin, “and so we will be expecting the Council’s
Maori Statutory Board to back us in our application. We
will be contacting them this week”.
Mr Rankin says
the implications of the designation of the site as a waahi
tapu will not be dramatic. “We will want to talk with the
owners and discus ideas for recognising its significance to
Ngapuhi – dialogue instead of confrontation is what we
want”. Ideas from Ngapuhi so far include a statue, a
memorial plaque, and a multi-media display to inform
Aucklanders about the history of the location.
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