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Te Kahu o te Raukura laid as a cloak of peace over Parliament grounds and ancestral whenua

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 27/02/2022 Mani Dunlop

Before the sun rose - descendants of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gathered at Pipitea Marae - just down the road from the protest - to lay te Kahu o te Raukura on its whenua as a cloak of peace.

Descendents of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gathered at Pipitea Marae - just down the road from the protest - to lay te Kahu o te Raukura on its whenua as a cloak of peace.   © Provided by Radio New Zealand Descendents of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gathered at Pipitea Marae - just down the road from the protest - to lay te Kahu o te Raukura on its whenua as a cloak of peace.

Descendants of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gather at Pipitea Marae. Photo: RNZ / Māni Dunlop

They sent a strong message to protesters - with Taranaki Whanui saying the protesters have not honoured their role as manuhiri and its time to listen to mana whenua.

"This morning, we have laid down Te Kahu o Te Raukura - a cloak of aroha and peace over the Parliament grounds and our surrounding ancestral sites," Pipitea chair Kura Moeahu said.

"Te Raukura contains the three feathers representing honour, peace, and goodwill - the same symbol used at Parihaka."

Moeahu said Te Kahu o Te Raukura would stay as a form of cultural protection over their ancestral whenua - including Parliament - until the dispute was ended.

Last week protesters went through the back of Pipitea Marae in Thorndon and served a trespass notice to police and Māori wardens who were inside.

The laying of the raukura. © Provided by Radio New Zealand The laying of the raukura.

The laying of the raukura. Photo: RNZ / Māni Dunlop

Taranaki Whānui chair Kara Puketapu-Dentice says that that undermined and breached tikanga.

"There is no honour in the desecration of our whenua, there is no honour in entering the marae through the back. It shows a flagrant disregard of tikanga - this is not how we do things," he said.

"Te Kahu o te Raukura can almost be akin to a rahui - a form of cultural protection over our whenua that says this area here - we set expectations around behaviour in this place but we have seen the disregard and the takahi of the mana of the whenua, this is a form of cultural protection affirming our mana and our rangtiratanga and our practice in our ways on our whenua," Puketapu-Dentice said.

"This is an opportunity to whakaea tērā wairua - so that we can make a stand and make our position incredibly clear of what we expect going forward. There is going to have to be a lot of healing for our whānau across the motu around this whole issue, but our expectation is that that healing will not happen on the grounds of Parliament, that healing will happen when they go home, back to their communities, alongside their people - that is where the healing will happen. People are more than welcome to come here and protest, but be an honourable guest on our whenua," he said.

Chair of Taranaki based Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa Liana Poutu participated in this morning's karakia along with leadership from around Taranaki Maunga.

Poutu said Ngā Iwi o Taranaki supported the calls of their Wellington-based whānau for a peaceful resolution.

"We tautoko Te Kahu o Te Raukura and the desire of our whanaunga for calm and resolution to the current situation."

Descendents of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gathered at Pipitea Marae. © Provided by Radio New Zealand Descendents of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gathered at Pipitea Marae.

Descendents of Taranaki Whanui and its leaders in Wellington gathered at Pipitea Marae. Photo: RNZ / Māni Dunlop

Kiingitanga spokesperson Rahui Papa said the Kiingitanga unites with Taranaki Whānui and Ngā Iwi o Taranaki at this time.

"For generations we have worked together and prayed together with ngaa kiiwai o te kete. This morning we do that as an expression of deep tautoko Taranaki and all iwi of the motu to bring peace and kotahitanga."

Te Kahu o te Raukura will stay in place until the protest is over.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Taranaki Whānui alongside Ngati Toa Rangatira have worked tirelessly to vaccinate and support their communities and now they ensure their focus will remain on protecting and supporting Māori and those in their takiwā through the current Omicron wave.

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