Dozens have gathered in the Far North at an important but less well known site to remember a key battle of the New Zealand Wars.
The battle of Ōhaeawai was fought in June 1845 between the British and forces led by Ngāpuhi chief Te Ruki Kawiti.
The battle saw loss of life on both sides, particularly the British.
The historical site and other sites, including Ruapekapeka Pā and the Rangiriri Trenches, have been restored with support from the government.
Minister for Māori Crown Relations Kelvin Davis said the event was important to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown ahead of Waitangi Day.
“While New Zealanders may not be as familiar with these sites, the introduction of Aotearoa, New Zealand histories means that whole generations of young Kiwis will learn about important sites like Ōhaeawai,” he said.
“Thanks to the work of Ngāti Rangi, they will also be able to visit these sites and learn more about their important whakapapa.”
The pā at Ōhaeawai, built by Kawiti, was a major advancement in the Māori response to new weaponry, and was a prototype of the ‘modern pā’ that would be seen later in the New Zealand Wars.
St Michael’s Church was built in 1871 on the site of Ōhaeawai pā in remembrance of the battle, and in honour of British woman Charlotte Dorothea Weale, who supported a Māori party that had become stranded in England in 1863 return home.