On February 24 journalist Benjamin Wilson reported that two iwi were mourning the sale of land at Rangiaowhia. They didn’t have the means to match the selling price. Today, The News exclusively reveals a remarkable turnaround.
“We will shed tears of joyful reconnection not painful separation.”
That was the reaction from Ngati Apakura kaumatua Tom Roa to a deal that will see a piece of land at Rangiaowhia returned to mana whenua.
The Anglican Church has been working on several levels with Ngati Hinetu and Ngati Apakura to secure the land adjacent to St Paul’s church. However, the group was an unsuccessful bidder when the land sold recently at auction.
The primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Philip Richardson, said that shortly after the auction an opportunity arose for a discussion with the successful bidder, which in turn has led to the land being on-sold “which is a wonderful result.”
“A number of parties have enabled this purchase to happen,’ he said.
All parties had agreed to keep the detail of the new deal private.
Archbishop Philip said for the church the deal was a step in the right direction.
“This is a small step in a long journey. We have a long way still to travel and much korero is still to be had between the church and mana whenua regarding the history of Rangiaowhia.”
Tom Roa said deep hurt has lingered since the events at Rangiaowhia in 1864.
“It has long been a goal to re-establish a uniquely Māori Christian Mission at Rangiaowhia and to see land returned to Ngati Apakura and Ngati Hinetu,” said Reverend Cruz Karauti-Fox, Missioner of Waikato at Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o te Wheke – the Waikato arm of Tikanga Māori of the Anglican Church.
“We look forward to exploring this with mana whenua,” he said.
Bill Harris, Chair of the Apakura Runanga Trust Board said the property is a highly significant piece of land and this deal was a joyous moment.
“We have been working with the church to reconcile the events of 1864 and will continue to do so.”
He told Benjamin Wilson “we got together at 61 Rangiaowhia Road to acknowledge and celebrate the purchase of the land… it’s joyous, we had a shared lunch to celebrate it.
“We shed some more tears. Next, we need to begin to talk about what plans we have and how to put those in place.”
Read: Tears over Rangiaowhia