From WAKA MAORI, VOLUME 9, ISSUE 16, 29 OCTOBER 1873
On the 11th of September last, the monument erected in memory of Pitihera Kopu, who died on the 11th of April 1967, was unveiled, at the Wairoa, in Hawkes Bay with becoming ceremony. A guard of honor composed of men of the Wairoa Rifle Volunteers and of hte Armed Constabulary, in all five officers and thirty file (under the command of Sub-Inspector Ferris A.C.) was drawn up in front of the monument at 12 noon.
Inspector Pitt, who commands the district, then spoke as follows:-
"My Maori friends here present. You have been asked to assemble here to-day to witness the uveiling of a monunent erected by the Government of New Zealand as a mark of the respect which they entertain for the memory of a great chief of your race, Pitihera Kopu, who died in this district some five years ago. This manner of paying respect to the dead may seem strange to you; but, when I inform you that for ages it has been the custom of Eurpoeans to pay respect in a similar manner to their great and good men, you should feel proud when looking at this monument at the Government of the country have not forgotten the good services of the late loyal chief Pitihera Kopu.
I may mention that it was never my good fortune to meet Pitihera Kopu; but I know him well by reputation, his fame as a great and loyal chief having extended to all parts of New Zealand.
"Friends I shall now close my address by informing you that I have requested the widow of the late chief Pitihera Kopu, to take part in these proceedings but for reasons of her own she has declined. Ihaka Whanga has consented to do it, after which the guard of honor will give the customary salute."
The venerable chief and friend of the Pakehas, Ihaka Whanga, then removed the covering and declared the monument unveiled, and the guard of honor gave the customary salute by firing their guns.
Paora Te Apatu, an influential chief, then addressed a few words to the asembled natives. He said that the Government had taken in hand the work of erecting the monument, a work which ought to have been done by the natives themselges, as Kopu had been their saviour; had it not been for him they would not have been living in the position of peace and security which they occupoed that day. Kopu, at his death, desired that his good works should be condinued by the Wairoa natives, and his desire had been carried out up to that day, and would continue to be carried out. There was no fear of blood bein shed in the Wairoa DIstrict; the war in the future would be a war of words, not of guns. Htye would act according to law, and if any of their people committed an offence, either of murder or alesser crime, they would be handed over to the law to be tried.
He would like to see that done in Waikato, othereise the Waikatos would discover the evils resulting form war. He said the Government of the Europeans must not think that because Henare Matua had been amongst them in that district any bad results would follow his visit - such would not be the case, as they desired to keep within the bounds of the law, and not pass beyond them.
Other chiefs spoke to the same effect and this concluded the proceedings.
The following is the inscruption on the monument
IN MEMORY OF
A CHIEF OF NGATIKAHUNGUNGU WHO DIED AT
IN THE YEAR 1867
The staunch friend of the Pakeha
This stone is erected by the Government of New Zealand.
Pitihera Kopu was a man universally respected and loved by both Europeans and Maoris in Hawke's Bay, and his deaht cast a gloom over the whole district. In the times of Hauhau aggression and murder, the few and isolated European settlers of the Wairoa were inspired iwth a confidence and courage, which they would not otherwise have felt, but the determined and energetic support afforded them by him and the old chief Ihaka Whanga. He was a man truly loved and honoured. No single act of injustice or impropriety of conduct could ever be brought to his charge. His example might well be followed by any who profess to a much higher tone of morality. In the town of Napier his name was a household word to every man, woman and child, and his memory will there ever be revered by those who knew him. His last words to Ihaka Whanga, when dying, were; -"Protect the pakehas and the people (Maori) when I am gone.'
Image Credits: Koenraad Kuiper