Kīngi Tūheitia visits Parihaka Pā to strengthen bond between Kiingitanga and Taranaki

6:31 pm on 20 November 2023
Kīngi Tūheitia is Makau Ariki (royal consort) Atawhai

Kīngi Tūheitia and Makau Ariki ( royal consort) Atawhai. Photo: Kiingitanga / supplied

Kīngi Tūheitia, following in the footsteps of his ancestor King Tawhiao, visited Parihaka at the weekend to strengthen the bonds between Taranaki and the Kiingitanga.

Parihaka Pā was established in the late 19th century by the prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, and became famous for its non-violent campaign against Crown land confiscation.

The king's visit also coincided with 18 and 19 November, days set aside each month to celebrate the teachings of Te Whiti and Tohu.

Spokesperson for the Kiingatanga, Rahui Papa, said the visit was an opportunity to revive the spirit of the ancestors and to discuss spiritual matters.

"[The visit] may provide an opportunity for a wider discussion about how we tuitui (interweave), how we gather together the cloak of spirituality as a korowai for the things that we do in the physical world today."

Members of the iwi of Taranaki preparing to welcome the king to Parihaka.

Members of the iwi of Taranaki preparing to welcome the king to Parihaka. Photo: Kiingitanga / supplied

As part of the celebration, the people of Taranaki gifted King Tūheitia a photo captured in 1966 of his grandfather King Korokī being carried to his final resting place on Taupiri maunga.

Papa said the photo was taken in May of that year by a photographer who lived in Taranaki. When the photographer put the original photo up for auction for a charity, the Kiingitanga made overtures to purchase it right away.

When that was not possible, whānau from across the iwi of Taranaki put in a bid and purchased the photo before gifting it back to the king, he said.

"As the king was being present at Parihaka they gifted [the photo] as a wonderful token of whanaungatanga, as a token of our shared whakapapa, our shared vision, our shared tongikura, our shared prophets, all of those types of things that will bode for a strengthened relationship going forward.

"The Kiingitanga was absolutely blown away by the thought and the depths of aroha that was in the gift. And the beauty about it was presented by a tamaiti from Taranaki to the King, that shows that our tomorrow will be just as bright as our today."

Papa said reciprocal visits between the Kiingitanga and Taranaki would continue in the future.

"Haere atu haere mai, kite atu kite mai. So we travel in, they travel here, we see them they see us, we hear them they hear us, and it's all about the camaraderie and the kotahitanga (unity)."