Untold tales of Tauranga emerge

By Kiri Gillespie

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Maraea Ranui, 16, shares her compeition winning speech. Photo/George Novak
Maraea Ranui, 16, shares her compeition winning speech. Photo/George Novak

An exhibition designed to tell the "tales of Tauranga that haven't been told" was blessed and formally opened at Greerton Hall yesterday.

The Battle of Pukehinahina Gate Pa Exhibition depicts the stories that helped weave the creation of Tauranga city from a time of conflict and battle.

Battle of Gate Pa Trust chairman and former Tauranga City Council member Terry Molloy said he was humbled to be part of exhibition, which showcased much of the creation of Tauranga.

"This is not ancient history. The people of Tauranga need to understand that and they need to understand the stories ... hopefully we can all move forward," he said.

Such stories included that of a Maori woman who, despite the battle, took water to the injured British.

Another included the creation of the Maori rules of engagement, which preceded and bore striking similarities to the Geneva Convention's rules of engagement. The Maori Potiriwhi Code of Conduct would be showcased as part of the exhibition.

In a short film that concluded the opening formalities, author Tommy Kapai Wilson said the region needed to "get past the blame game". "These are the backyard stories of Tauranga that haven't been told."

Mayor Stuart Crosby said: "We can't change history but we can certainly influence the future and by getting these stories out there."

Tauranga Moana iwi representative Antoine Coffin said there had been periods of positive relations between Maori and British but that was often eclipsed by the wars. "We still reflect on that conflict but not so much the time of peace and prosperity," he said.

He asked the audience to ponder a future borne out of more positive memories.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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