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Nixon monument brings descendants together

Published: 10 October 2017

Auckland mayor Phil Goff has met descendants of the battle at Rangiāowhia to decide the fate of a statue of the colonialist, Colonel Marmaduke Nixon.

This meeting follows last month's petition by community activist Shane Te Pou for the removal of the 150-year-old memorial to a museum.

The memorial in Ōtāhuhu is dedicated to Colonel Nixon, who died from wounds he took in 1864 during an attack by colonial forces on the Māori village of Rangiāowhia. The attack was one of the more notorious events of the Waikato War – at least 12 Māori, including women and children, were killed.

Mayor Phil Goff met Edward and Theron Scott, relatives of Colonel Marmaduke Nixon, and Tom Roa, a kaumātua of Ngāti Apakura, the principal tribe associated with Rangiāowhia.

The meeting between the two parties went some way to finding a peaceful solution about what to do with the 13-metre obelisk, he said. The statue's fate was still undecided but all parties agreed Colonel Nixon's remains, which lies under the monument, should be considered.

"With Māori respect for wāhi tapu, leave him undisturbed on that site and we will have something else that tells the broader story," Mr Goff said.

There was agreement that the debate should not cause division or bitterness, but should reflect reconciliation.

It is important to tell the full story of the land wars in an accurate and appropriate manner with victims of the conflict on both sides commemorated. 

Further discussions will be held after descendants of the battle of Rangiāowhia have consulted with their whānau.

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