Heke reburial set for 'very sacred site'

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Hone Heke will be buried at a "little-known but very sacred site for Ngapuhi". Photo / Getty Images
Hone Heke will be buried at a "little-known but very sacred site for Ngapuhi". Photo / Getty Images

The great warrior chief Hone Heke is due to be reburied at dawn on August 31 at an undisclosed location near Kaikohe.

In 2011 descendant David Rankin removed the Ngapuhi chief's bones from the cave near Pakaraka where they had lain since 1850, saying they were threatened by a new subdivision. They were placed temporarily in a burial cave west of Kaikohe.

Mr Rankin said the time was now right for the remains to be buried in their final resting place. The exact location would be announced closer to the August 31 interment date.

All Mr Rankin would say for now was that it would be a "little-known but very sacred site for Ngapuhi".

That would appear to rule out two locations named earlier as possible burial sites.

One is an urupa on Memorial Ave in the very centre of Kaikohe which Mr Rankin himself has mentioned previously. The other is Kaikohe's Memorial Hill, which is crowned by a monument to the warrior chief's namesake and great-nephew, the MP Hone Heke Ngapua. Historian Paul Moon said very few chiefs had been re-buried in modern times, and none of Heke's status.

"This will be a unique event in our modern history," he said.

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