MONUMENT MOVE SPARKS ROW
Daily News, front page, 23/12/02, By Rochelle West.
North Taranaki people are up in arms over a plan to move a 'culturally insensitive' monument marking the spot where renowned missionary John Whiteley was killed.
Some locals believe the important part of Taranaki history should be left alone.
Ngati Tama Iwi Manager Greg White said the Iwi wanted the cairn removed from the Pukearuhe Reserve - where it has stood since 1923.- because it was insensitive to Maori.
"We have no longer got any use for it. It was erected for a guy doing us no good. He was running intelligence for the British" he said.
The Pukearuhe Reserve is one of the five areas of Crown owned land which is being returned to Ngati Tama under its treaty settlement.
The monument was erected near where the Reverend Whiteley and a number of settlers were killed by a Maori war party from Mokau on February 13 1869
Mr. Whiteley was in charge of the New Plymouth Methodist Church, the Maori Mission, and the Grey Institute. He was also a Native Land Commissioner and , through his fluency in Maori he reportedly acquired great mana.
A longstanding Pukearuhe family, the Wells, are against the
plan to move the monument.
Murray Wells, whose family had owned property next to the monument since 1904, believed history should be left where it was.
The monument marked where Mr. Whiteley died and that was where it should remain Mr. Wells said.
'It shouldn't be hard to shift, but I don't see why it should have to be. I think it is culturally insensitive to pakeha to move it" Mr. Wells said.
If it had to be moved, Mr. Wells said he would be happy to have the monument mounted on his land - across the road from the current site.
Mr. Greg White, iwi manager, expected the Methodist Church to move the monument to a more suitable site.
He did not mind when it was moved as long as it was done.
The New Plymouth Methodist Church knew little about the monument
New Plymouth Parish Manager, John Chitterdon, said negotiations would probably take place between the iwi and the National Methodist body.
The land belonged to the iwi through the treaty settlement and if it wanted the monument moved off the land it could do so he added.
The call for the monument to be moved comes just a week after Maori Land Court judge Andrew Spencer expressed dismay about a historic plaque commemorating Opunake's settlement at April 29 1865
He said he was sad a plaque was erected for the pakeha settlement of an area which was already settled by Maori.