My special guest this morning was writer Witi Ihimaera talking about his new book Sleeps Standing Moetu, It’s a piece of historical fiction about the final Waikato Maori land war battle at Orakau. It’s told from the point of view of a 16 year old boy called Moetu and it’s a cracker.
Firstly the ignorance that so many of us have about the Maori Land Wars in the 1860s.
There the Brits came up against Rewi Maniapoto and his hapu. 1500 tropps against 300 Maori men women and children. It’s known as Rewi’s Last Stand.
I guess it finally swum into attention with the controversy over the obelisk for Colonel Marmaduke George Nixon in Otahuhu. It’s been there forever and yet most people had no idea why until Shane Te Pou said the thing should be ripped down and put into a museum.
Marmaduke was the commander of the Cavalry during the Invasion of the Waikato. He died in the wars but not before he slaughtered Maori including women and children at Rangiaowhia.
It makes a mockery of those who call Maori a dead language. It’s alive and it’s thriving. And it’s one of our official languages.
This election we’ve seen debate about the teaching of te reo and whether it should be compulsory. The Greens are for compulsion so is the Maori Party. ACT is dead against it while Labour and National muck about sitting on the fence.