6th February 2020
On 6 February, Ngāti Kahungunu historian Rāwiri Smith lead the community Waitangi Day Hīkoi ki Paetūmokai.
The goal was to educate whānau and community about the local wāhi tapu (sites of significance) around Paetūmokai/Featherston. Discussions touched on Pigeon Bush, Waiorongomai, Lake Onoke, the Pounui area, Raho Ruru, Kohunui marae, and the pacifist histories of Wairarapa.
Holding the event on Waitangi Day was significant. As the nation paused to commemorate the signing of the Treaty, we acknowledged the unfinished work that Aotearoa needs to do to address inequity and inequality, and the central role the Treaty of Waitangi plays in doing this.
The hīkoi was an opportunity for our community to learn from each other; to acknowledge the hapū (sub-tribes) that lived around this area prior to colonisation; and to rejuvenate the pūrakau (cultural stories) held by the hapū as a way to build and strengthen relationships with local hapū and iwi.
The event was a complete sell-out – thank you for your support. Documentarian Paascalino Schaller is creating a short film to highlight and capture these sites and the stories shared on the day. This will become an important online community resource that we hope is shared widely.