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Over two thousand people expected for Hone Heke’s burial

Over two thousand people expected for Hone Heke’s burial

Over two thousand people are expected to descend on the small Northland settlement of Putahi on Saturday 31 August for the dawn service at which the bones of the legendary Ngapuhi chief, Hone Heke, will be buried.

Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin, who took his ancestor’s bones from their resting place near Pakaraka two years because of sewerage seeping into the site from nearby septic tanks, says this will be a historic day.

“The bones are now laying in state in a carved casket in a sacred location ready for their burial at Putahi http://www.nztopomaps.com/52110/Putahi/Northland. This is the only occasion in more than a hundred years when a chiefs remains have been reburied.”

“It will be a sacred date for Ngapuhi and will allow for our ancestor’s remains to be laid to rest in a dignified manner, and in a place where they will no longer be under threat from disturbance,” says Mr. Rankin.

Hone Heke was the first chief to sign the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, but waged war against the British Crown in 1845-6. He gained notoriety for felling the British flagstaff at Russell on several occasions.

Heke’s biographer, Professor Paul Moon, has said that Heke’s actions in the mid-1840s led to the first major confrontation between Maori and the Crown.


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