A special programme is being compiled to mark the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Tā Apirana Ngata Memorial Lectures to be held at Whakarua Park and Uepohatu Memorial Hall.
The lectures will be held over a three day period starting Sunday 6th of October, and concluding Tuesday 8th October.The popular annual event attracts many Ngati Porou at home, along with those living away from home, who are passionate about learning about their culture and identity.
In recent years the lecture’s key themes have included “Tribal Histories & Scholarship: Learning about ourselves” and “Ngati Porou: Our Past, Our Present, Our Future”. Past speakers have included a range of respected authorities on tribal matters, as well as invited representatives from the worlds of politics, arts, business and sport.
This year’s event also marks another important anniversary. 70 years ago the Victoria Cross was presented by Governor General Freyberg to the parents of Second Lieutenant Te Moana-nui-a-KiwaNgarimu. Ngarimu, a member of the C Company branch of the 28th Maori Battalion, was awarded this prestigious medal for his role in the attack on Point 209 at Tebaga Gap, Tunisia.
The public investiture ceremony took place at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria on October 6th, 1943 and over 7000 people were recorded as attending. Tā Apirana Ngata hosted the event and brought together a contingent of 1300 school children and over 300 kapa haka performer to provide entertainment. It was here that the well known waiata by Tuini Ngawai “E te Hokowhitu-a-Tu” was first performed.
The lectures were the brainchild of Sir Tamati Reedy, who in 1983 was serving a Fullbright Scholarship teaching Maori - Pacific Origins and Linguistics at the University of Alabama. “There I wasfeeding students on who and what we are, and our own back home were unable to participate,” Sir Tamati recalled. The irony of the situation inspired him to contact the Principal of Ngata College, to introduce the idea of a Lecture series to commemorate Sir A. T. Ngata and his monumental service to Ngati Porou and the nation.