Te Wherowhero's legacy

I first visited this site on 23 March 2020 having been ignorant until then of the importance of the tree behind a palisade, and protected by the ancestral guardians of Pukekaroa. Today's return was an unconsciously determined return to an important part of our past. 

In the 1820s and 1830s Maori tribes began wars using muskets supplied by the English. Many warriors died as the muskets were more lethal than were the traditional weapons of Maori. The first Maori king Potatau Te Wherowhero was central to the mediation that ended those wars.

Pukekawa is the name of the volcano which formed the the land known now as the Auckland Domain. The highest point of the tuff ring was often referred to independently as Pukekawa, and it was translated as 'sour hill', because the sweet potato (Kumara) would not grow there. Te Wherowhero recast the word as meaning 'hill of bitter memories' because of all the deaths in those inter-tribal conflicts.

During the first years after the signing of Te Tiriti-o-Waitangi in 1840, Te Wherowhero often came to Auckland from his home in Ngaruawahia to reinforce the peace that had followed the cessation of inter-tribal conflict, and the signing of Te Tiriti. He stayed in a cottage built near the highest point of the scoria cone in the middle of the volcano. This was named Pukekaroro, and near the site of her Great grandfather's cottage, one hundred years after the Treaty was signed Princess Te Puea planted the Totara Tree.

One further historical note: in 1934 a group of 25 northern Maori chiefs gathered at Waitangi, and were asked by the official British Resident to vote for one of three designs for a New Zealand flag. The flag chosen became known as the United Tribes flag, and was the first New Zealand flag. It was supplanted by the current Nz flag, and also replaced as a flag for Maori by the Tino Rangitira flag.

What might be able to be seen in my blip is that someone has hoisted a United Tribes flag beside the palisade around the Totara, and has also pitched a tent. They were lying inside the tent as I passed. This is apparently a nominal occupation of an important place as a continuation of the Wellington occupation during February.

The adoption of an important flag in the development of Aotearoa/New Zealand by people whose behaviour deserves that they be called insurgents, offends me. The flag still belongs to Maori; not to individuals but to them as a total collective, and they have not granted permission for it to be used.

There continues to be calls for the Government to be dismissed, for the Prime Minister to be arrested, tried and hanged publicly. When told that this is a legally elected government and that in a democracy a tiny minority cannot demand that the majority obey them, they often respond by claiming to be sovereign citizens, not seeing the incongruity of stateless persons (stateless because they are individuals) demanding that a democracy they reject obey them.

That many of those same persons are currently openly supporting Putin's attempt at genocide in the Ukraine, adds even more incredibility to how their minds must work or not work

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