Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Takapūneke Historic Reserve created

The creation of a historic reserve - that is great. I wonder why it was a set aside as a historic reserve though and not given back to Ngai Tahu.

From Scoop
"The creation of the new Takapūneke Historic Reserve in Akaroa. The ceremony marks the return of historically significant land back to the nation in the form of an historic reserve.
Speaking in Maori, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said: “I gave an oath to return Takapūneke back to the people of this land. My heart is full of joy as my promise is now fulfilled.”
Yes the historic and shameful events surrounding this site is nationally important but it is Ngai Tahu history and Ngai Tahu land.
“The return of Takapūneke symbolises the return of the mana to the people of this portion of land. This is also the time to make right all wrongs of the past.” Mr Parker said.
Don't worry about symbolically giving the mana back and it does not not 'make right all the wrongs of the past'.
Don't get me wrong it is good that this site is no longer a rubbish dump or being 'developed' - it is significant and it is where one of the most shameful episodes in our history occured.
Ngai Tahu have the knowledge of what happened but what is available to the general public on the history of this site.
From professional historians
"Takapuneke (also known as Red House Bay) was the site of a kainga of Te Maiharanui, upoko ariki of Ngai Tahu. In the period immediately after the ending of the Ngai Tahu ‘civil war’ known as the Kai Huanga feud, Te Maiharanui was spending much of his time at Takapuneke because it was a convenient base for trading with Europeans, especially in flax."
From NZ
"In 1830 Captain John Stewart of the brig Elizabeth entered into a commercial arrangement with the Ngati Toa leader Te Rauparaha to ferry a taua (war party) of 100 warriors from their base on Kapiti Island to Banks Peninsula."
and back to the historians
"the fact that Takapuneke was a major rival to Te Rauparaha’s Kapiti Island as a source of supply of flax may add a rational economic calculation to the motive customarily assigned to Te Rauparaha for his attack on Takapuneke – a lust for revenge."
Now who knows the mix of motivations but 'lust for revenge' nicely fits the 'red-native' stereotype.
"This was a business deal for Stewart. In return for his services, he would receive a full cargo of flax. ...Stewart's motivation in 1830 was primarily economic.
The arrival of a European trading ship would not have raised any particular alarm among Ngai Tahu. Stewart lured the Ngai Tahu chief Te Maiharanui (Tama-i-hara-nui) aboard by offering to trade flax for muskets. Once aboard, Te Rauparaha and his men seized the chief, his wife and daughter. Ngati Toa warriors attacked and destroyed Te Maiharanui's settlement, Takapuneke.
The brig returned to Kapiti with Te Maiharanui and his family held captive. Rather than see his daughter enslaved, Te Maiharanui strangled her and threw her overboard. Once on Kapiti, Te Maiharanui suffered death by slow torture at the hands of the widows of the Ngati Toa chiefs slain at Kaiapoi; his wife met the same fate.
Governor Ralph Darling of New South Wales, who was responsible for British subjects in New Zealand, put Stewart on trial in Sydney as an accomplice to murder. In keeping with contemporary European attitudes, however, Ngai Tahu were deemed 'incompetent' to act as witnesses because they were 'heathens'. As a result, Stewart and his crew escaped punishment.
The fact that no Europeans were killed in this incident meant that most Europeans took little interest. It did intensify demands, though, from humanitarian groups such as the Church Missionary Society (CMS) for the British Colonial Office to improve law and order in New Zealand."
How significant was this - the professional historians say in a paper called 'A place as important as Waitangi'
"As a direct consequence of Stewart’s actions, James Busby was sent to the Bay of Islands as British Resident in 1833, the first direct intervention by the British Government in the affairs of New Zealand, which was to culminate in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi."
So there can be no doubt of the significance and tapu of this site. It is now a historic reserve but what does that mean when we see that nationally significant sites can be destroyed or damaged whenever they like - I hope they never find coal or gold - they'd dig it up without a second thought.

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