November – month of remembrance of Parihaka

Throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, an increasing number of families, parishes, schools and communities are learning about and reflecting on the commitment of the people of Parihaka to open community discussion and peaceful action.

Parihaka is a community approximately 55 Kilometres southwest of New Plymouth. In the 1870s and 80s, under the leadership of Tohu and Te Whiti, they resisted the Crown’s confiscation of their customary lands with non-violent protest, which included ploughing lands taken to pay for the land wars, replacing or changing their fences moved by the army and removing survey pegs.

In 1866 Te Whiti orders weapons to be put aside, never to be seen again. In 1879 Māori Ploughmen were sent to plow confiscated lands to reassert rights to the land. Te Whiti calls for no violence or fighting. Ploughmen are arrested but do not resist.

1881 – 5 November – Troops invade Parihaka. Tohu, Te Whiti and all Parihaka men are arrested for leaving Parihaka in response to a Govt proclamation. Houses and cultivations are destroyed and livestock slaughtered or confiscated.

Many were arrested for their actions and imprisoned for many years without trial. In the present day, the people of Parihaka continue to restore Tohu and Te Whiti’s legacy and seek healing of historic injustices. They strive to keep alive ideals of community empowerment, self-sufficiency and peaceful action of their ancestors.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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