goldblog - February 28, 2019 - by Dawn Sinclair
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Posted March 01, 2019
History / Arts / Culture
I recently had one of those aha moments. Through the generosity of Te Wananga o Aoteroa I was lucky enough to have several years getting comfortable in Maoridom – as with nearly all pakeha kiwi before that I knew much more about Britain than my own country. One of the things I learned was that Ngati Hako were in Hauraki long before the seven canoes great migration. They strenuously tried to maintain their identity despite the later arrival of Tainui and Arawa canoes. It was Ngati Hako who protested McCombie and Lee’s prospecting on Pukewa and surveying in the Rotokohu area.
One of the things I’ve found particularly irritating since coming home to set up accommodation in support of the obvious tourism potential of this area, was the hijacking of many organisations by those whose agenda had little in common with the Waihi ethos that I knew. This includes local government who have taken far too much notice of people happy to seek glory and photo opportunities but with very little understanding of Waihi’s unique history and characteristics let alone any consideration for the long-term future and prosperity of this town.
I now realise that the same thing happened to Ngati Hako. The first pakeha into the region with the intention of getting hold of the gold didn’t understand the subtleties of the situation and took too much notice of just one group. Mackay then used well tested colonising methods to ensure they gained access to the gold they wanted leaving Ngati Hako disgruntled.
I now realise that those who supported the building of the community marae in Waihi fell into the same trap. Reading the history of the marae it is obvious those responsible had little or no understanding that this area was Ngati Hako territory or they would not have built it to celebrate just the seven canoes of the Great Migration. Another example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.
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