So Hone Heke's bones are to be moved... What an excellent opportunity for us to re-connect with one of the great characters of New Zealand history and maybe build a new industry at the same time

Hone Heke is a heroic New Zealand figure, one of the great characters in our country's short history, and news today that his body has to be moved to accommodate new lifestyle blocks is both apt and contradictory, depending on which Heke you're talking about. It also suggests an immense opportunity for the north.

The Hone Heke Foundation says 10-acre lifestyle blocks are surrounding the unmarked Northland cave where the great Nga Puhi chief is buried, and a more permanent and public grave is now needed.

A proper burial site for Heke would be a gift to the nation. He's an early New Zealander who embodied the tensions of meeting - sometimes warring - cultures and is one of the few historical figures to capture the imagination of school children generation after generation. By chopping down the flagpole at Russell (Kororareka) four times, he became the great rebel character resisting the arrival of the British Empire - a local Geronimo or William Wallace.

 

This is the start of my post at tvnz.co.nz. To continue reading, click here. But feel free to add comments and debate below.

Comments (6)

by Morgan Jones on April 05, 2011
Morgan Jones

I grew up in Kororareka and Hone Heke is very much the local folk hero for both Maori and Pakeha like myself. He deserves much wider recognition.

by Chris Webster on April 05, 2011
Chris Webster

Tim
Without taking anything away from your sincere but idealistic romanticism of this being an 'opporunity for nga puhi' let us remember the purpose of te tiriti o waitangi - article 2 would be a fine start.

But for the intervention of and the determination by the colonial government to quash the efforts of all Maori citizens of their rights - occupation and other wise -- Hone Heke would be - 'asleep on the moor' ad finitum.

With respect to the late Hone Heke and John Moore - a remaster of Charles Wolfe's depiction of 'Sir John Moore's Burial after Corunna.'

Burial of Hone Heke after Kaikohe

NOT a wero was heard, nor a karanga cried

And his corpse to the hillside we hurried;

Not a warrior threw his taiaha short

Over the grave where our hero we buried.

We buried him darkly at dead of night

The sods with ko we turned

By the struggling moonbeam's misty light

And the manuka fire brush burning.

No kakahu enclosed his breast.

Not in mamaku or in katata we wound him

But he lay like a warrior taking his rest

With his korowai around him.

Few and short were the karakia said

And we spoke not a word of sorrow

But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead

And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought as we hollowed his narrow bed

And smoothed down his lonely pillow

That foe and the stranger would not tread over his head

And we far away on the billow!

Loudly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,

And over his cold ashes upbraid him

But little he'll wreck if they let him sleep on

In the grave where tangata whenua has laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done

When the clock struck the hour for retiring

And we heard the distant and random gun

That the future was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down

From the field of his fame fresh and gory

We carved not a line and we raised not a stone

But we left him alone with his glory.

Hone Heke deserved no less.

by Chris Webster on April 05, 2011
Chris Webster

Tim

 

Aologes forgot about the cut-and paste rule

 

emai lme please and I will provide the text - sans formatting

 

Chris

by Tim Watkin on April 06, 2011
Tim Watkin

Got rid of most of it Chris. It's usually just a matter of deleting spaces, which carry through code, and pushing enter again.

But as fabulous as the poem is, I'm not sure of your point. Because the colonial government failed to honour the treaty, we sit on our hands for the rest of time?

One of the great things about this country is that treaty grievances are being addressed. We can't undo the past. And if the story of Heke is a challenging one, isn't it all the more reason to have it told more widely? So why is it romantic or idealistic for the north to seize such an opportunity?

by william blake on April 07, 2011
william blake

I found this fascinating passage from Paul Moon in reading on the flagstaff wars but can find no further reference in King or Bellich.

This would be a great drawcard for American tourism as they love that 'helping the underdog to smash the oppressor' narrative as can be seen by the masses of American tourists at Culloden Field.

"Some Māori became discontent after the signing of the treaty. Both before and after the signing of the treaty American traders and the American consul poisoned the relationship between Heke and his British rulers. The British representative became concerned at the flying of the American Ensign on land. Letters from William Williams, who recorded talks he had with Heke, reported that the Americans were attempting to undermine the British both before and especially after the signing of the treaty. The first American Consul William Mayhew was probably pressured into leaving New Zealand, but was replaced by two unofficial Consuls, Green-Smith and Waetford. They continued in anti British activities, selling muskets and powder to the disaffected Maori. Waetford was later convicted and imprisoned for gunrunning, but Green Smith successfully escaped New Zealand before the Crown could arrest him."

Moon, Paul (2001). Hone Heke: Nga Puhi Warrior. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. ISBN 0-908990-76-6.

by Chris Webster on April 07, 2011
Chris Webster

Tim: Thank you.

But as fabulous as the poem is, I'm not sure of your point. Because the colonial government failed to honour the treaty, we sit on our hands for the rest of time?

 The point of my response was Nga Puhi placed Hone Heke's bones on his ground - in his earth - which was owned by them at that time - I was appalled to learn - as I am sure you were - that his family  had to move his koiwi three times since he was lain to rest.

Poor old Sir John Moore at Corunna was never going to win that war. If fact he is blamed for losing it. Win or lose his bones still reside in that land - in that place.

Hone Tuwhare wrote about the statue of Kupe the Maori explorer - which sits in QEII Square in Auckland: Tuwhare remarked on how his shoulders ended up being covered in bird shit - rather an ignominious end - dont you think?.

I do not dismiss your your idea to immortalise Hone - it would be a fine acknowledgement - but we have yet to locate Hone Heke in our history books - and remember his influence in those early times that way.   

The evidence currently of his exploits, feats and challenges in our education system is fleeting and minimalist and mostly non-existent.  

That is perhaps where his memory would be most welcomed and appreciated and understood.

Kawiti's battleground for instance at Kaikohe has a supermarket built on it. The rest is surrounded by state housing and a wee paddock of his land remains locked in between and behind the supermarket and the houses - and left unkempt. 

The reference to the treaty was that article 2 guaranteed maori citizens their lands and other resources - ad finitum. That did not happen. 

At Ohaeiwai Hone Heke fought the British and many Maori and soliders died on that land. Those bones are immortalised in the ground on that battlefied - never to be tampered with or moved.

Why because St Michaels church has taken up the baton to maintain and protect those lands.  And the kohekohe trees that sit on the hill overlooking the cemetery where Maori left their dead - they too will never be cut down or removed and the current owner has accepted his role to protect and improve the land.

One of the great things about this country is that treaty grievances are being addressed. We can't undo the past. And if the story of Heke is a challenging one, isn't it all the more reason to have it told more widely? So why is it romantic or idealistic for the north to seize such an opportunity?

I too am in support of te tiriti settlements - we all should be and yes I agree - the past cannot be undone. 

The Rankin family must be the drivers for such an opportunity.

But having worked in local and central government for the 'north to consolidate on this matter would sadly be like pushing a wet straw into concrete.  

 

 

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