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Te Whiti o Rongomai "My name is taken from the hill Puke Te Whiti (which stands as a sentinel guarding the past, the present and the future). Like Puke Te Whiti, I stand as a sentinel - not one bit of land will be given over to strangers with my consent."
This gathering of people at Parihaka was photographed in the 1880s. Such events have beentaking place since the Taranaki wars of the 1860s. At that time the Parihaka leaders Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi set up a regular forum called Tekau mā waru (‘The Eighteenth’)which still takes place on the 18th and 19th of each month. This was an opportunity for people totalk about strategies, thoughts and visions for the future.
In 1881 over 1,500 troops were sent to destroy the Taranaki village of Parihaka. Parihaka was thecentre of a peaceful movement to resist the European occupation of confiscated Māori land.This photograph shows members of the armed constabulary awaiting orders to advance on the Troops waiting to advancesettlement.
Timeline• 1862 Te Whiti and his people saved people from a ship that wrecked off the Coast – they ensured they got safe passage through tribal lands to New Plymouth.• 1863 Suppression of Rebellion Act – defined Maori fighting for their land as rebels, who could be detained indefinitely, without trial• 1863 New Zealand Settlements Act – authorised the government to confiscate any land where Maori were considered to be in rebellion – the government then took 3 million acres, mostly in Taranaki and Waikato• 1870s Surveyors started carving up Waimate plains for settlers from Canterbury and Manawatu• 1879 Te Whiti started non-violent resistance to government surveying: "Go, put your hands to the plough. Look not back. If any come with guns and swords, be not afraid. If they smite you, smite not in return. If they rend you, be not discouraged. Another will take up the good work. During that period of non-violent unrest, hundreds of Maori were arrested and kept in prison without trial.• 1880 Parihaka became a stronghold of Maori opposition to the loss of tribal lands.
1881 Invasion & Exile• The conflicts between the people of Parihaka and the settler- backed government came to a head in 1881.• On 19 October, Native Affairs Minister William Rolleston signed a proclamation to invade Parihaka.• On 5 November 1881, the peaceful village was invaded by 1,500 volunteers and members of the Armed Constabulary.• The soldiers were welcomed by the 2,000 residents of Parihaka, children came out skipping, soldiers were offered food and drink and adults allowed themselves to be arrested without protest.• The Riot Act was read and an hour later Te Whiti and Tohu were led away to a mock trial.• The leaders of Parihaka along with hundreds of their people were imprisoned in the South Island, many in freezing cold caves where they died from exposure, disease and malnutrition.• The destruction of Parihaka began immediately. It took the army two weeks to pull down the houses and two months to destroy the crops.• Women and girls were raped leading to an outbreak of syphilis in the community. People suspected of being from other areas of the country were thrown out.• Fort Rolleston was built on a tall hill in the village; four officers and seventy soldiers garrisoned it. The five-year Military occupation of Parihaka had begun.
Parihaka was rebuilt, and those who had been arrested and imprisoned laterreturned. This photograph of 1898 shows a pōwhiri for some of these men.
Rebuilding Parihaka• In 1883 the Parihaka leaders were escorted back to Parihaka.• On his arrival home Te Whiti was assaulted by soldiers for refusing to accept an order not to resume the monthly meetings. He resumed the 18th meetings immediately and used them to mount further protest action on confiscated land.• In 1886 he was imprisoned again along with Titokowaru his protest companion. Days before Te Whiti was released in 1888 his wife and mother of his children Hikurangi died, he was not allowed to return for her tangihanga (funeral).• The modernisation of Parihaka continued at a great pace. Elaborate guesthouses were built complete with hot and cold running water. Streets, lighting and drainage were constructed along with a bakery, an abattoir, shops and a bank. Parihaka people ran agricultural contracts throughout Taranaki sowing seed, cropping and labouring.• On the 12th of July 1898 the last of the Parihaka prisoners returned to a heroes welcome at Parihaka. Their release brought to an end 19 years of imprisonments of Parihaka men and boys.• The Parihaka leaders Te Whiti and Tohu died during the year 1907.• The community faced poverty by the 1930’s as its land estate was carved up for disposal to Europeans.• The Government offered suspensory loans to those who wanted it and they paid nothing for the land itself but these schemes were available only to Europeans.
Parihaka Today• Parihaka Pa still stands• The whanau of Parihaka host an International Peace Festival every year• Parihaka has been the venue for a number of important national Maori hui, including in 2005, the presenting evidence on Crown breaches of Indigenous Peoples Rights to a representative from the United Nations
More Information• Parihaka Peace Festival• Parihaka: The Art of Peaceful Resistance (exhibition website):• The Pacifist of Parihaka (Puke Ariki cultural centre website):• Taranaki Reports (Waitangi Tribunal)• Taranaki Stories (Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of NZ)• Aotearoa Indigenous Rights Trust• Maori and the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
He Whakatauki KO TE PO TE KAIHARI I TE RAKO TE MATE TE KAIHARI I TE ORANGA NIGHT IS THE BRINGER OF DAY DEATH IS THE BRINGER OF LIFE - na Te Whiti me Tohu