Remembering Te Pāhuatanga o Parihaka, November 5 1881

Remember, remember, Te Pāhuatanga o Parihaka; the passive resistance of Te Whiti and Tohu. There are now a growing number of books and online resources celebrating their lives and deep commitment to the idea of passive resistance. Have a browse and a read of the titles and resources below, learn more and begin to understand this history.

Josiah Martin, ‘Parihaka’ – Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (1880)

Click through to read about the stories of Parihaka, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi — the books and links in the list below lay out their foundation kaupapa of peaceful resistance:

Remembering Te Pahuatanga o Parihaka: a Booklist by Wellington City Libraries
Remembering Te Pāhuatanga o Parihaka: a Booklist by Wellington City Libraries

Also included in the booklist above, are some online articles and biographies, collected on Digital New Zealand, that tell the stories of Te Whiti o Rongomai (d. November 1907), and Tohu Kākahi (d. February 1907) and help us remember them.

If you would like to jump straight to this collection of resources, you can find all of these resources collected at the link below:

Remembering Te Pahuatanga o Parihaka: A DigitalNZ Story by Wellington City Libraries
Remembering Te Pāhuatanga o Parihaka: A DigitalNZ Story by Wellington City Libraries


And for tamariki, here is a post from our Kids’ Blog with pukapuka and rauemi about Parihaka:

Remembering Te Pāhuatanga – Rauemi about Parihaka for Tamariki
Remembering Te Pāhuatanga – Rauemi for Tamariki

Parihaka Day: Kōrero with Kura Moeahu

If you haven’t heard of Parihaka,
Be sure
Your grandchildren will
And their children after them

From “He waiata tēnei mō Parihaka” by J.C. Sturm.

5 November 1881. Tucked between Mt Taranaki and the sea is a settlement of almost three thousand people. For the past two decades it has been a centre of political, ethical and religious thought in Aotearoa, a site of tino rangatiratanga in the wake of warfare and confiscation. Electric lights have been installed; councils held; a campaign of non-violent resistance maintained over several years. The settlement is Parihaka.

But just before daybreak, colonial soldiers are sighted nearby–Armed Constabulary and mounted rifles. Local media are arrested in an attempt to mask what is about to happen. So begins the Day of Plunder, what has been called “one of the worst infringements of civil and human rights ever committed and witnessed in this country.”

140 years later, 5 November is remembered as Parihaka Day. Dawn ceremonies are held at sites across the motu, and there are increasing calls for official recognition. As part of this, we recently reached out to Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui Inc. Tiamana | Chairman Kura Moeahu to discuss the importance of Parihaka, and its powerful role in the country’s past and future.

Armed constabulary awaiting orders to advance on Parihaka Pa. Collis, William Andrews, 1853-1920 :Negatives of Taranaki. Ref: 10×8-1081. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23081905

Parihaka Day is coming up on 5 November. What could people do to mark it this year?

Kura Moeahu: Waking up at 4am and sitting quietly outside reflecting on what took place that morning on 5 November 1881, hearing the bugle in the distance from Pungarehu signalling 2000 soldiers to advance onto Parihaka, a peaceful village. The first to meet them were the children singing, skipping rope and playing only to be shunned and physically assaulted by the soldiers, horses and the guns the soldiers carried. Secondly, reflect about the women who met the soldiers with food and water and like their children were physically abused and the food knocked out of their hands, and in days that followed raped as payment to the soldiers and had to carry the whakama (shame) for the rest of their lives and the intergenerational trauma that followed that still exists today. And thirdly think about the men who were encouraged to sit quietly on the marae, as the soldiers surrounded them, placed a cannon up on the hill aimed down at them. Sitting quietly listing to the words and inspiring delivery of both Te Whiti and Tohu commanding the men not to retaliate, reminding them that “should the bayonet be put to your neck smite not in return for surely, we will be obliterated…”. You ask what people could do, simply rise at 4am on 5 November and reflect on the ordeal and strong resilience to not retaliate in the face of adversity.

How would you like to see Parihaka discussed in the recently updated school curriculum?

Kura Moeahu: Parihaka is only one part of the total Māori suppressive behaviour of another culture on ones rangatiratanga and tuakiritanga. To gain a deeper understanding of Parihaka one must go back and understand the historical impact of colonial and imperialism protocols of a foreign system and infrastructure from its arrival, the impact of Christianity and legislation speedily passed to maximise for the benefit for white colonial privileges.

Parihaka has been recognised as a forerunner of international non-violent resistance. How did this global connection begin, and how has it continued to develop?

Kura Moeahu: It emanated out of the actions of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, whom Ghandi studied and saw how powerful passive resistance and a strong Māori economy was supporting the towns around Taranaki. It continues to be developed through stories, and waiata. Within the rich waiata held by whanau, hapū and iwi allows for deeper analysis and examination through wananga that generates thoughts and the creation of Matauranga Māori.

Parihaka Pa. Collis, William Andrews, 1853-1920 :Negatives of Taranaki. Ref: 1/1-011758-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22789285

What current and future role do you think Parihaka has in terms of addressing climate change?

Kura Moeahu: It is encapsulated in the saying “Honour and glory to God on high, peace on earth and goodwill to all men”. Honour and glory to God on high reminds us to reconnect with our spiritual side. Peace on earth is the section dedicated to looking after our environment and taking care of the work. Goodwill to all men reminds us to care for everyone including our enemies.

How do you see Parihaka developing over the next decade?

Kura Moeahu: Developing tourism, education, health and environmental strategies, create opportunities for the people of Parihaka to tell their stories through visits, virtual 4D experience, usage of technology.

Remember Parihaka in 2018

The place I have measured out shall remain sacred for my people… I tell the assembled tribes that they shall not be lost.” – Te Whiti-o-Rongomai [1]

A kuia once showed me a piece of pounamu wrapped up underneath black netting. The opulence of the stone was obvious, but it was partially obscured by its binding. She told me that the stone represents Parihaka. The 19th century Parihaka story is one of New Zealand’s most important historical narratives, yet it is still under-recognised. Parihaka today is one of the most important communities in New Zealand, so it is crucial to become aware of its ongoing contributions, ambitions and significance.

The story of Parihaka is centred in Taranaki, but the struggles and trials of its people covered much of the length of the country. In this blog post we will focus on the places in Wellington entwined with the history of the people of Parihaka, and take a look at the ways Wellingtonians can recognise and remember Parihaka this year.

Josiah Martin, ‘Parihaka’ – Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (1880)

During the 1860s, the prophets Te Whiti and Tohu rose to national prominence among Māori. They were recognised as “the two birds of knowledge” by King Tawhiao. [2] Their community at Parihaka became a haven for Māori, and a place of peaceful resistance to unlawful land confiscation and encroaching settlement. One of those that found their home at Parihaka was Titokowaru, the great military leader of the Māori forces in the Taranaki War of 1868 – 1869. Titokowaru laid down his gun, and took up the plough and the raukura (albatross feather, symbol of peace).

Te Whiti, Tohu, and also Titokowaru led a peaceful campaign of resistance that consisted of ploughing up confiscated land, removing surveying pegs and placing fencing. In response, the government arrested the successive waves of protestors. On 5 November 1881, Parihaka was invaded by a military force of 1600 armed constabulary. Those Māori who were not originally from the Parihaka area were scattered, the buildings were damaged, violence was inflicted against the people and their leaders were arrested. Te Whiti and Tohu were held without trial for two years, before returning home in 1883.

The community Te Whiti and Tohu nurtured still thrives today. It is a place for reconciliation. It is a place to contemplate where we have been and where we are going. Recently, in 2016, the Mayor of New Plymouth, Andrew Judd, led a hikoi walk of peace from New Plymouth to Parihaka.[3]

Memorial Plaque at Pukeahu War Memorial Park dedicated to Taranaki Prisoners

Prisoners in Mt. Cook

In 1879, 195 arrested ploughmen were held in the Mt. Cook Police Barracks. The peaceful protesters were never tried. Instead, they were shipped to the South Island, to take them further away from the influence of Te Whiti. Government legislation enabled indefinite detainment without trial or punishment. But, ploughmen were put to work on infrastructure in the South Island.[4]

The Prophet in Wellington

In the mid-1880s, there was discontent among coastal Māori, around policy on land the government leased from them. They were especially concerned with the large surveying costs that were deducted from the rent due to them.[5] Māori also desired the return of the lands unlawfully confiscated from them.[6]

In 1886, Te Whiti sent men to plough some of the confiscated land. In response, the government arrested Te Whiti and other leaders. After trial in New Plymouth, Te Whiti, Titokowaru and eight others were sent to Wellington aboard the Hinemoa.[7] Te Whiti was held in the Terrace Gaol for two and a half months before his Supreme Court trial.[8] Te Whiti appeared before Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast, the same Chief Justice who called the Treaty of Waitangi a “simple nullity” in 1877.[9] Te Whiti maintained that he had merely entered onto his own land.

Te Whiti was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment and fined £100.[10] While in prison, Te Whiti was frequently visited by Taare Waitara, a rich Atiawa part-European landowner from Wellington. Waitara married Te Whiti’s daughter and helped develop Parihaka with his finances.[11] Te Whiti’s return journey to Parihaka was “leisurely” and “royal” as he passed through Waikanae , Otaki and Whanganui.[12]

Te Whiti remained an advocate for Māori land rights and peace until his death in 1907.

The memorial outside the Dominion Museum

A Place to Remember

At Pukeahu War Memorial Park, on the north-west corner of the old Dominion Museum building, there is a memorial dedicated to the people of Taranaki and Parihaka who were imprisoned in the Mount Cook barracks. The memorial represents a prisoner wrapped up in a blanket. The base of the monument is formed of stones from Taranaki. As you wander through the city, this is the perfect spot to take a moment to reflect on the Parihaka history of struggle and on the legacy of peace.


Bridget Williams Books Winter Series: Parihaka: Plunder and Aftermath with Hon. Mahara Okeroa and Dr. Rachel Buchanan

Monday 5 November, 6:00 – 7:20 pm (doors open 5.30 pm)

National Library of New Zealand, Corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington

Join Taranaki kaumātua and Treaty negotiator Hon. Mahara Okeroa (Taranaki, Te Ātiawa) and Dr. Rachel Buchanan (Taranaki, Te Ātiawa), author of BWB Text Ko Taranaki Te Maunga, at the National Library for the anniversary of te pāhuatanga, the invasion of Parihaka.

Recommended Reading:

Ko Taranaki te maunga by Rachel Buchanan

Ask that Mountain: the story of Parihaka by Dick Scott

Te Whiti O Rongomai and the Resistance of Parihaka by Danny Keenan

Parihaka : The Art of Passive Resistance

[1] G. W. Rusden History of New Zealand (Melville, Mullen and Slade: 1895), p.218. quoted in Bernard Gadd, ‘The Teachings of Te Whiti O Rongomai, 1831-1907,’ The Journal of the Polynesian Society Volume 75 (1966).

[2] Hikoi Ki Te Waipounamu (2000), p.8.

[3] Deena Coster, ‘Peace Hikoi to Parihaka Presents New Possibilities for Partnership between Maori and Pakeha,’ Stuff (2016)

[4] Parihaka Memorial, (Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Herritage, 2015)

[5] Danny Keenan, Te Whiti O Rongomai and the Resistance of Parihaka (Huia Publishers, 2015), pp.220-224.

[6] Danny Keenan, Te Whiti, p.224.

[7] Dick Scott, Ask That Mountain: The Story of Parihaka, pp.152-153.

[8] Danny Keenan, Te Whiti, pp.224-225.

[9] ‘Chief Justice declares treaty “worthless” and a “simple nullity” (Ministry for Culture and Heritage, 2018)

[10] Dick Scott, Ask That Mountain, p.153.

[11] Dick Scott, Ask That Mountain, p.153.

[12] Dick Scott, Ask That Mountain, p.153.

Ruakere Hond, Acushla Dee O’Carroll

It’s a long, long trail winding mai i Te Upoko o te Ika ā Māui ki Parihaka, but on Saturday 17 May,  my heart’s right there.

A ‘post-graduate gathering’ began with a powhiri at 12:30, at Te Paepae o Te Raukura, as friends, fellow students and devoted whānau came together to celebrate the achievements of Mr Taranaki Reo, aka, Ruakere Hond, and Acushla Dee O’Carroll, Gen SMS, who received their PhDs at Massey, Palmerston North on Friday 16 May.

Parihaka Pa, South Taranaki Region
Parihaka Pa, South Taranaki Region. Collis, William Andrews, 1853-1920 :Negatives of Taranaki. Ref: 1/1-012046-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Research findings were presented at Te Niho o Te Ati Awa – and we were fittingly welcomed by Ngapera and her rōpū, with the twirling poi and chant of E rere rā, into this historic house.

A the short profile of the busy life of Dee is available on the Massey site:

“Dee, who grew up in Te Hawera, Taranaki (her iwi affiliations are Ngaruahine Rangi, Ngāti Ruanui and Te Āti Awa), is a member of the College of Health’s Whariki Research Centre at the School of Public Health. She is investigating how Māori and other indigenous cultures use social media.”

News of Dee’s Fulbright-Harkness award and plans for studying in Hawaii and USA, last year, was delivered on Te Karere:

Saturday’s citation of Dee O’Carroll’s research paper was “Kanohi ki te kanohi : a thing of the past? An examination of social networking sites and the implications for Māori culture and society.”

The thesis is available at here.

Through mainly qualitative exploration of [these] data, the domains of rangatahi (Māori) usage, whanaungatanga, tuakiritanga [identity] and tikanga were traversed, to interrogate the contemporary ideas and trajectory of kanohi ki te kanohi values. The study highlights the range of issues that Māoridom must grapple with to guide SNS usage in cultural contexts that considers kanohi ki te kanohi values and the future of marae.” – pānui for gathering of 17/5/2014

This fascinating research scratches the surface of SNS. There are implications for young Māori (initially) but then for all of us, as social networking sweeps across our traditional ways of interaction.

Relevant to the kōrero, is the realisation that Ngāti Porou have already streamed live the tangi of three beloved mātua: Dr Pat Ngata, and his father, and Parekura Horomia. What changes will this type of ‘interaction’ bring to protocols and the sustaining of our marae in the future?
Articles by Dee available at Wellington Central Library and through online access are:
O’Carroll, A. (2013). Maori identity construction in Social Networking Sites. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies., 6(2), 2-16.
O’Carroll, A.D. (2013). Virtual whanaungatanga – Māori utilising social networking sites to attain and maintain relationships. AlterNative 9(3), 230-245. A326
O’Carroll, A.D. (2013). An analysis of how Rangatahi Maori use social networking sites. Mai Journal, 2(1), 46-59. A327


Tenā koutou taku nui, taku rahi kei te kūreitanga o Taranaki nei puta atu ki ōna pāranga huhua noa.
“My whānau connections are Taranaki. I firmly believe the distinctive form of our local language, culture and history is a critical factor for Taranaki Māori communities to be fully engaged in education. I have been keenly involved with adult education in the community and institutions since the 1980’s, especially in reo Māori immersion teaching and community development. It is inspiring to see the progress of Māori studies in WITT, which continues to be innovative and forward thinking. This supports WITT in being a pivotal facilitator of significant social, cultural and economic achievement in Taranaki by working alongside community initiatives and playing a major part in responding to local aspirations for growth and development.
Heoti anō rā e ōku karangamaha, rarau mai ki tēnei puna mātauranga. Mā wai kē te puna nei e hurahura? Māu, māku, mā tātou!”

But for many years now, Ruakere Hond’s name has been synonymous with Taranaki revitalisation of Te Reo. The man stands as a colossus in his chosen field of endeavour, and at last he has found the missing link between public health, communities and society.
In his thesis, entitled Matua te Reo, Matua te Tangata : Speaker community : visions, approaches, outcomes, Ruakere shows how he was at a loss to understand why his apparently sound understanding and development of revitalisation processes were not having the success he had anticipated.

It was not until he began to define community as opposed to society and to understand the implications of sustainable health outcomes and the need to establish secure cultural identity that Ruakere began to move more positively towards achieving his goals of reo revitalisation.