From Buddy Mikaere of the Pukehinahina Charitable Trust, which is organising a commemoration for 29 April next year of the 1864 Battle of Gate Pa, in the 23 November issue of the BOP Times:
Gate Pa commemorations
Your badly misinformed correspondent R Paterson has a real bee in his/her bonnet about the commemorations eh? Here’s my response to the “points” made:
• There will be no clash with Anzac day 2014 and R Paterson is welcome to join the “Maori” dawn service next year at Hungahungaturoa Marae at Matapihi to remember the many Maori soldiers who have fallen serving their country from the Boer War to Afghanistan.
• We have never used the word “celebrations” to describe the commemoration.
• All our events are free access to the public except for the commemoration dinner.
• I’ve tried to explain in words of one syllable or less how the community funding process works here in Tauranga. The failure of one individual to comprehend the process is a sad comment on my skill set.
• Clearly the charitable trusts, businesses, service organisations, schools and individuals in the community supporting the commemorations have a different perspective to your correspondent.
• I am writing a history of Gate Pa in conjunction with my Pakeha colleague Lt Col Cliff Simons. We will likely have a different perspective. But in conjunction with previous writings it will serve to constitute a composite history incorporating the eye witness accounts of people such as Hori Ngatai and bringing it up to date by exploring aspects James Cowan never contemplated e.g. the impact of the battle and its aftermath on race relations.
• I don’t see how references to Pakeha and Maori have racial overtones – I am proud of my Maori ancestry and just as proud of my Pakeha ancestry (my whanau come from Normandy and went with William the Conqueror to England in 1066). Being brown and looking Maori means people automatically think of me as Maori rather than French Pakeha. I’ve managed to cope with the disappointment of that so far in my life! But I’m also extraordinarily proud to be a Kiwi in a land where more than any other country I know we have never stopped trying to make cultural differences part of our national heritage. You need to have the good fortune to be at Twickenham when the ABs lay down the haka challenge to appreciate and experience what that means. Fifteen v 80,000+ – bring it on bro!
• I invite R Paterson to meet with our Trust or myself anytime to discuss his/her issues. Buddy Mikaere Project Director Pukehinahina Charitable TrustI am so looking forward to this book, and I hope to be at Gate Pa/Pukehinahina in April to attend the event. I was very lucky to grow up there. The image above is the flag of Gate Pa. I have ordered a lifesize replica. Every home in Tauranga should have one, as well as this home in Cambridge.