TODAY |

Battle for New Zealand Land Wars public holiday moves to Parliament

A call for a new public holiday to recognise the New Zealand Land Wars is gaining momentum, with the Maori King now backing the idea.

King Tuheitia is calling Maori together next month to choose a date to put to the government recognising the battles that killed thousands in the 19th century. Source: 1 NEWS

King Tuheitia is gathering a panel to decide a date for the proposed holiday following a petition to recognise the battles that killed thousands in the 19th century.

"It's a country that is in such denial. Pakeha doesn't even know its past, we should be coming together," says New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd.

King Tuheitia plans to call Maori together next month to choose a date to put to the Government, for a public holiday to mark all the New Zealand land wars.

"Kingi Tuheitia is also supportive of of acknowledging our past of recommending to all of Aotearoa that it's something we need to face," says Rahui Papa, the King's spokesman.

New Zealanders have been commemorating big anniversaries of famous battles like Gate Pa for the last couple of years.

We need to address our history, the good parts and the bad parts - Marama Fox, Maori Party co-leader

And now the Maori Affairs Select Committee is calling for submissions on some sort of official recognition.

Marama Fox, Maori Party co-leader says she's "absolutely hopeful for a public holiday".

"It needs to be given the gravity behind it for all of New Zealand to recognise the foundation of our nation was built on the first act of war."

"We need to address our history, the good parts and the bad parts."

Last year the Prime Minister said there would be no new public holiday but he didn't rule out replacing one of the existing 11 stat days.

Members of both the Maori Party and Labour are working on the issue and it has support from other quarters.

Public submissions open today, for a month, moving the battle for recognition to parliament.