5 Nov 2020

Parihaka anniversary marked with karakia, waiata

5:03 pm on 5 November 2020

Today marks 139 years since the horrifying invasion by armed troops in Parihaka, one of the Crown's most profound injustices on record.


Parihaka Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

A dawn ceremony with karakia, waiata and speeches was held in Whakatū today to mark the day.

Parihaka, situated in Taranaki was the home of leaders Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, as well as many dispossessed Māori who came to settle there and seek refuge.

Te Whiti and Tohu led some peaceful resistance and a series of protests against the government's confiscation of Māori land in the Waimate Plains, a movement which saw many ploughmen from Parihaka do the same and assert their ownership across Taranaki.

The government responded by imprisoning several hundred ploughmen without trial, but the ploughing continued upon their release in early 1881.

On 5 November, about 1600 armed constabulary troops stormed onto the settlement and destroyed homes, raped women, killed livestock and imprisoned the Parihaka leaders.

Armed Constabulary units at Parihaka, 1881

Armed troops at parihaka in 1881. Photo: Alexander Turnbull Library, Parihaka Album Reference: PA1-q-183-19

To further mark the day, there will be a performance of Donna McLeod's Te Oro Haa at the Theatre Royal in Whakatū, a depiction of the Parihaka story through waiata, kapa haka and te reo Māori.

Another ceremony will be held at Toroānui Marae in Parihaka on Saturday, where manuhiri will be welcomed onto Te Raanui whare and will also gather for kai later in the day.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs