Calls for Waikato Land Wars to have as much prominence as 'Anzac'

For many New Zealanders the Waikato Wars are a "side note in history".

For many New Zealanders, the Waikato Wars are a side note in history. Historian Vincent O'Malley says this needs to change. Source: Q+A

And one Wellington historian - who is about to release his new book, challenging Pakeha New Zealand views of race relations in the country - says this attitude needs to change. 

In his book The Great War for New Zealand, Vincent O'Malley argues that the Waikato Land Wars set the course of New Zealand's identity.

He joins a number of New Zealander's who say we need a public holiday in remembrance of this significant event.

He'd also like to see students learning more about the 1960s Waikato wars and an upgrade to the key Waikato war sites where the Kingitanaga movement faced off against Colonial troops.

The sites start in Meremere, "which is barely sign-posted and there's nothing in the area to suggest it is an important spot", the historian told Q+A.

"Up on the hill there was the the first line of fortification the Kingitanga set up to try to stop the British advancing south.

"So it's a really important historical sport - but you'd never know it, looking at it."

Further south is another sight of significance in Rangiriri where most of the men from the British side were killed.

An unmarked grave in the cemetery contains a number of Maori who were captured and died of their wounds, said Mr O'Malley.

Rangiaowhia is another location which was once a thriving settlement of about 4000 people.

Kingitanga fighters fled the area when the British advanced on the town, but left many of their elderly, women and children there, believing they'd be safe. They weren't.

Tom Roa, of Ngati Apakura and Ngati Hinetu, is directly connected to the Waikato wars with family members of his tipuna (ancestors) once living in the Rangiaowhia area.

"My tipuna and one of his wives stayed here and there's a letter [she wrote] to Governor Grey. She talked about their homes being ransacked."

He said 1500 of the best British soldiers, with the most modern weaponry, attacked the defenseless village of 200 old men, women and children.

About 15 minutes south of Rangiaowhia is the site of the Orakau Battle, also known as Rewi's Last Stand, where more Maori died than in any other during the entire Waikato Land Wars.

The Battle of Orakau was the final battle between the Crown and Kingitanga and is remembered by Maori as an atrocity against their people.

After two-and-a-half days since the battle began, the 300 occupants of the pa, including women and children, had no water, food and had run out of ammunition.

"So on the final day they were asked by the British if they would like to surrender and they famously replied that they would fight on forever, forever, forever," Mr O'Malley said.

"The respect and care which we afford these sites is the concern of many historians but for Roa it's a question of whakaora, restoration.

"The way our current histories treat these events is very marginal.

"If we are to be truly cognoscente of what happened here on this land, then this must be at the forefront."

Vincent O'Malley's book, The Great War for New Zealand, will have its formal launch at Waahi Paa next Saturday.

The book is published by Bridget Williams Books.

Police in stand-off with man barricaded in Huntly house

Police are currently involved in an ongoing stand-off in Huntly, which started around 2am this morning.

The eight-hour stand off began when police were called to a home on Harris St, where a man and woman had been fighting.

Upon arriving at the scene, police found the man had locked himself inside and was refusing to come out. 

At 9am, he was still refusing to come out of the home and police negotiators are currently on site, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Charles Burgess told Stuff.

"He's barricaded himself in the house and is threatening to harm himself," Senior Sergeant Burgess said.

He's not known to have access to any guns, Burgess said but does have access to knives and other items inside the home. 

"A police negotiation team are trying to speak to the man so we can bring an end to this event."

A section of the road has been cordoned off and detours are in place.

No one else is inside the home and no one has been injured.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS


Truck rolls on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, causing road closure in Tararua

A truck has rolled in Tararua and is blocking lanes in both directions.

The truck rolled on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, also known as the Pahiatua Track, about 7.40am this morning.

The driver sustained moderate injuries. 

No other vehicles were involved.

Police are advising motorists to use an alternative route.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS


Man dies in overnight crash near Gisborne

A man has died following a crash involving a car and truck on State Highway 35 near Gisborne last night.

The driver of the car died at the scene.

Emergency services were called to the scene near Makarori Beach Road at around 9pm.

The road was closed overnight, for the Serious Crash Unit to investigate, but has since been reopened.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

Facial hair enthusiasts gather for NZ beard and moustache competition

Facial hair enthusiasts from all over the country gathered in Auckland last night to be judged in the fifth year of the New Zealand beard and moustache competition.

Landscaper Mark Van Kaathoven was one of the winners last year.

His beard earns him plenty of attention and even the odd job.

“The guy got me standing against the wall, did a mugshot, and he said, 'I'll be in contact,' so within a month he was in contact and I ended up doing Newmarket Santa, Ponsonby Santa, Sky City Santa, it was hilarious,” he said.

Facial hair aficionados from all over the country gathered in Auckland to be judged in the fifth year of the New Zealand beard and moustache competition. Source: 1 NEWS