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Kīngitanga and Ngāti Whātua play friendship card ahead of commemorations

Maioha Panapa

The Kīngitanga and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have acknowledged the connections each other has in central Auckland.

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The Kīngitanga and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have acknowledged the connections each other has in central Auckland.

The statement has come as the Kīngitanga prepares to celebrate the 165th anniversary of the movement this weekend at Pukekawa, Auckland Domain, and just months after a tense showdown at the pōwhiri to open Te Matatini.

In a joint statement this morning, the two groups said discussions are underway to clarify the relationship between each other.

“Both the Kīngitanga and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have committed to a series of hui to clarify the connections of the Kiingitanga to central Auckland, and the connections of Ngāti Whātua to the Waikato.”

The Kīngitanga is marking the milestone at Pukekawa, where the Auckland Museum sits in an acknowledgement of Pōtatau Te Wherowhero who, before becoming the first Māori king was a “Protector of Auckland” - agreeing to protect the fledgling city from attack, who would live for periods of time at a cottage in the domain.

It was he who uttered the phrase “Kia tūpato ki te takahi i te remu o taku kahu” - a warning to would-be attackers not to trample on the figurative hem of his cloak.

Not a claim for whenua

Earlier this week, Kīngitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa told Te Ao News commemorating the 165th year of the movement in Tāmaki Makaurau is a result of a commitment to retracing the footsteps of Pōtatau Te Wherowhero.

“At the 160th anniversary that was held in Ngāruawāhia, we discussed shifting the mauri of the celebrations to other spaces in which Te Wherowhero once lived.”

The statement also confirms the events taking place at Pukekawa are a celebration of the Kīngitanga and not a claim for whenua.

“The Kiingitanga is not seeking to usurp the tangata whenua of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei in central Auckland.”

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, ancestor Apihai Te Kawau gifted a 3,000-acre block of land including the Domain area to GovernorWilliam Hobson to establish Auckland City.

The celebrations will begin on Friday at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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