Covid Plans In Place For Memorial Ceremony At Te Ruapekapeka Pā
Te Ruapekapeka Trust are progressing ceremonial plans in remembrance of all those who were involved in the conflict at Te Ruapekapeka Pa, to be held tomorrow, Wednesday 3rd February.
The ceremonies will start with a flag raising ceremony on the pa starting at 6:00am, where hapū are invited to raise their kara (flags) aloft in unison to remember and respect those that fought and fell for their cause.
This will be followed at 9:00am with the start of the unveiling of the memorial for the British servicemen who died in the battle and buried on the site of the main British camp.
Te Ruapekapeka Trust interim chair, Pita Tipene says while there has been no transmission of Covid in the community recently, people’s health and safety is paramount. “We will be taking extra precautionary measures to ensure the wellbeing of our people, encouraging the use of the contract tracing app, switching on the bluetooth functionalities and maintaining good hygiene practises.”
The ceremony He Rua Whakautu mo te Riri is interpreted as ‘in remembrance of the conflict’ and is continuation of the kaupapa ‘Kawea a puriri mai – a journey of reverence, remembrance and respect’, which was the theme for the 175th commemorations and hapu-iwi wananga recently held at Kawiti Marae in Waiomio.
In 2017, twelve British servicemen’s graves were unearthed at the site where the main British camp was located and a decision was made to leave them lying where they were.
Pita Tipene says, while the actual ceremony will be focussed on the unveiling of a memorial stone for the British soldiers and sailors, it was important that both sides of the conflict, particularly those that lost their lives, were acknowledged.
Te Ruapekapeka Trust me ngā iwi o te motu will welcome Governor-General Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the British High Commissioner Laura Clarke and government officials to the ceremony. Minister of Defence, Hon. Peeni Henare is the Master of Ceremonies.
Event Manager Huhana Lyndon, says implementing manaakitanga in Covid-19 territory has its logistical challenges, but ensuring safe practises are implemented and maintained throughout the event to protect dignitaries and whānau from potential Covid risk, is a priority.
“Our commemorations are proceeding as planned, however with the current Covid-19 concerns in our community. We proceed with caution and will ensure that all safety measures are in place to protect our peoples wellbeing. We encourage those who are sick, to stay home. We look forward to hosting our dignitaries and whanau throughout planned events.”
Ngati Hine FM will provide a livestream of the event on behalf of Te Ruapekapeka Trust with the support of the New Zealand Defence Force.
He Rua Whakautu mo te Riri will begin with a 6:00am flag-raising ceremony on Huiarau. At 9:30am, a pōwhiri will be held at the British camp area, followed by the commemoration and unveiling of the memorial.