Te Rūnanga A-Iwi-Ō-Ngāpuhi stands with all those opposed to the hikoi from Rotorua to Waitangi by people intending to mark the signing of He Whakaputatanga o Te Rangatira o Nu Tireni tomorrow.
A hikoi organised by a group opposed to vaccination makes this event particularly dangerous for whānau residing in Te Tai Tokerau, at this time. It is disappointing that organisers are using He Whakaputanga, or the Declaration of Independence, as a means to bring attention to their cause; unfortunately this hikoi diverts attention from a genuine commemoration of a covenant in the history of Ngāpuhi.
Ngāpuhi recognise and honour the real Māori freedom fighters whose lifelong activism and personal sacrifice meant something and moved our people forward; freedom fighters such as Eva Rickard, Dame Whina Cooper, Titewhai Harawira, Dr Matire Harwood, Rima Edwards, Matiu Rata, Sir James Henare, and Dame Cindy Kiro just to name a few.
Te Tai Tokerau commemorates some of the worst losses to the Spanish flu of 1918 every year. Almost every Ngāpuhi urupā has evidence of the thousands of whānau, some in unmarked graves, who died in that worldwide pandemic. We remember them.
Now, little more than 100 years after that pandemic, Te Tai Tokerau is at the point of a similar threat, but this time we have a vaccine at our disposal. We have seen a quick rise in our rohe of confirmed cases of the Delta COVID-19 virus in recent days, and it’s imperative further threat isn’t introduced.
We have not fought this virus for twenty months and tolerated the harsh restrictions around tangihanga, gathering at marae and visiting whānau, to abandon this plan now. When this threat has passed, Ngāpuhi will happily welcome you and your whānau north again.
Ngāpuhi endorse the statement that “if people wish to honour He Whakaputanga, hikoi to where your tupuna signed it, and if you want to criticise the government’s vaccination programme, march to Wellington” ― subject of course, to where you live. Please, stay home until we are able to receive you, safely.
Ngā mihi, Wane Wharerau
Chair ― Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-Ō-Ngāpuhi
27 October 2021
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