Āpihai Te Kawau treaty signing commemorated

4:34 pm on 20 March 2018

More than 100 people gathered at Takaparawhau, or Bastion Pt, this morning to commemorate their chief, Āpihai Te Kawau, signing Te Tiriti o Waitangi on this day 178 years ago.

Ngāti Whātūa Ōrakei hosted a breakfast this morning.

Ngāti Whātūa Ōrakei hosted a breakfast this morning. Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Āpihai Te Kawau along with many other rangatira signed the treaty on 20 March in 1840 on the shores of Manukau Harbour.

Ngāti Whātūa Ōrakei hosted a breakfast to acknowledge the signing which was the start of the iwi's relationship with the Crown.

Sharon Hawke of the Ngāti Whātūa Ōrakei Trust said they intend to commemorate this day every year.

"We are doing it here on our land because we want it to resonate with our whānau and even though we have celebrations on February the 6th, we are trying to revive March 20th."

Not long after Te Kawau signed the treaty he gifted land to the Crown for a new settlement on the Waitemata Harbour which was the beginning of Auckland city.

"He decided it would be strategic to invite Governor Hobson to make his capital here in Auckland," Ms Hawke said.

According to Ms Hawke, Te Kawau gifted 3000 acres of land to the Crown in the hope of bringing more colonial settlers to Auckland which would also bring protection to his iwi against musket attacks from Northern iwi.

"Whether that decision was right or wrong we don't know but the main thing is this city was built on our land and that particular event began the city of Auckland."