Waikato-Tainui iwi say land confiscations that resulted from defeat in the Waikato Land Wars 150 years ago are still as raw today.
On the 12 July, 1863, troops crossed the Mangatawhiri Stream into Waikato, sparking a nine month conflict: 4000 Maori fought 14,000 soldiers and their defeat resulted in the loss of nearly 500,00 hectares of Maori land.
A commemoration dawn service is being held at Mangatawhiri on Friday morning.
Te Arataura (the Waikato-Tainui executive) chair Tom Roa said the invasion of Waikato had an horrendous effect, causing Maori to become a landless, poverty stricken people.
But he said the iwi has now moved on from grievance mode to one of development and prosperity.