Riria Dalton-Reedy Te Rito Journalism Cadet
A group of horseriders are paying homage to historical hīkoi in Te Tai Tokerau in the lead-up to Waitangi Day next week.
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The group will join Te Hīkoi ki Waitangi at Waiomio Marae on Monday ahead of the final leg to Waitangi that started at Te Rerenga Wairua on Friday morning.
More than 30 riders from across the motu are expected to take part.
Eruera Lee-Morgan (Te Arawa, Tainui) says taking the horses on the hīkoi is a way to pay homage to the historical hīkoi taking place over the years.
“Our history is not a golden past. It’s come out of struggles and protests,” he says.
“But what is very prevalent is the love and compassion and standing in solidarity that was prominent at te Hui-ā-Motu recently.”
The Hui-a-Motu last month saw 10,000 people respond to the call by Kīngi Tuheitia to discuss issues facing Māori.
Lee-Morgan was one of more than a dozen horse riders who turned out at Tūrangawaewae marae in support of the kaupapa.
Morgan says horses played a crucial in the history of Aotearoa and were one of the first forms of transport.
Taipari anticipates a huge crowd for the upcoming hīkoi, an annual event that’s been running for over 40 years.
“Some people come on their motorbikes, some people come on their waka, some of us hīkoi a-waewae,” Taipari said.
“For me, it’s the love of te Tiriti [and] the passion that they’re bringing.”
Morgan reflects on many historic hīkoi over the years, such as the 1975 Māori land march led by Dame Whina Cooper.
“It was probably the catalyst of many hīkoi throughout time [and the] establishment of many great things throughout our history in terms of our whenua.”
He also highlights the connections between Waikato and Te Taitokerau, noting the 1984 hikoi from Ngāruawāhia to Waitangi.
“[We] acknowledge those connections with our Kīngi [Tūheitia], who holds the mantle of the connections between Waikato and in the north.”
Taipari says these hīkoi provide a space to wananga the rich history of the past and pathways to the future.
“[The younger generation] meeting the old Ngā Tama Toa members who are coming to support, [to] share their experiences and their aspirations for the future. That’s the thing for me that keeps me going every year.”
The riders also hope to promote sustainability through this ride.
“We’re looking at other renewable and sustainable ways of transport in a time that our environment is bad and adversely affected.”
The journey began yesterday with an overnight wānanga in Te Hāpua.
Hero Image: Horses and riders at the Hui a Motu at Tūrangawaewae Marae in January.