Kōrerorero / the say-so

By | 1 November 2019

Ka whawhai tonu matou

Why does this story sound familiar?

Tūhoe fought and died supporting Rewi Maniapoto at the Battle of Ōrākau, in 1864.

It was all over the newspapers?

Well, some, Tūhoe. Te Whēnuanui of Ruatāhuna was warned, by the Rangatira of Ruātōki and Te Waimana, not to go.

Here and over there, in the UK, 40 years ago in 1979.

The encroachment of colonial forces deafened him to their words.

Cos, he was a New Zealander.

“I mua i te tae mai o te mate ki konei ki te kāinga.  Ko te tuku i tōu tinana ki te tao o te mate”
Don’t wait till death comes to home. If you go to war, don’t come back

Te Whēnuanui, 1864.

From Napier.

Packing up his people and supplies, they trekked west towards Ōrākau, where a pā was built, to
accommodate the resistance of 300 women, men and children.

I know him, he taught me.

Over a three day period, from the 31st of March until the 2nd of April, 1864 they fought against
1400, running out of food,water and ammunition.

He had curly hair.

Refusing to surrender, they decided,

And gentle, real gentle.

to collect the peaches,

Almost effeminate, y’know?

unripe upon the trees and lying upon the ground in the peach grove,

I know him. He was my teacher too.

they’d passed through on their way to the pā.

Jesse Peach?

Peeling away the hardened flesh to the peach stones,

Not Jesse. Blair. Blair Peach. He was lovely.

with sticks and bits of metal, they placed the peach stones into empty gun chambers.

Didn’t he die after a protest in the UK?
Against Nazis?

The remaining mostly women and children escaped, again to the peach grove,

Yeah.Nah.He was in the Anti Nazi League
protesting against a National Front Meeting
at Southall.

where most were butchered by The Rangers, a specialised force, of colonial soldiers,

A member of The Special Patrol Group, a
specialised police force,

known for their brutality,

known for their brutality,

justifying their actions towards the women, because they were dressed as men.

wielding supersized, tailor-made truncheons
and supersised racist attitudes, killed him.

Hardened soldiers were shocked.

Then covered it up. No-one has ever been
charged with his death. Despite witnesses.

Against all odds some survived against, what became the state.

Against all the odds. Against the state. His
family sought justice. Seek justice still, some
40 years since.

“Ehoa, Ka whawhai tonu matou, ake ake ake”

His family, have never given up.

Friend, we will fight on forever, forever and forever.

Rewi Maniapoto, 1864.

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