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Parihaka: the grave of Te Whiti and the foundations of Te Raukura, 19.
 
Nov.
 
2005
Parihaka is a small community in Taranakimarker region, New Zealandmarker, located between Mount Taranakimarker and the Tasman Seamarker. In the 1870s and 1880s the settlement, then reputed to be the largest Māori village in New Zealand, became the centre of a major campaign of non-violent resistance to European occupation of confiscated land in the area.


The village was founded in 1867 by Māori prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi on land seized by the Government during the post-war land confiscations of the 1860s. Recognising the destructive effects of war, Te Whiti and Tohu declared they would use spiritual powers rather than weapons to claim their right to live on land they had occupied for centuries. The population of the village grew to more than 2000, impressing European visitors with its cleanliness and industry, and its extensive cultivations producing cash crops as well as food sufficient to feed its inhabitants.

When an influx of European settlers in Taranaki created a demand for farmland that outstripped the availability, the Grey Government stepped up efforts to secure title to land it had confiscated but subsequently abandoned. Māori near Parihaka and the Waimate Plains rejected their payments, however, and the Government responded by drawing up plans to take the land by force. In late 1878 the Government began surveying the land and offering it for sale. Te Whiti and Tohu responded with a series of non-violent campaigns in which they first ploughed settlers' farmland and later erected fences across roadways to impress upon the Government their right to occupy their own land. The campaigns sparked a series of arrests, resulting in more than 400 Māori being jailed in the South Island, where they remained without trial for as long as 16 months.

As fears grew among white settlers that the resistance campaign was a prelude to renewed armed conflict, the Hall Government began planning an armed invasion of Parihaka to close it down. Pressured by Native Minister John Bryce, the Government finally acted in late October 1881 while the sympathetic Governor was out of the country and stormed the village with almost 1600 troops at dawn on November 5, 1881. Instead of violence, the soldiers were greeted with hundreds of skipping and singing children offering them food. Te Whiti and Tohu were arrested and jailed for 16 months, 1600 Parihaka inhabitants were expelled and dispersed throughout Taranaki without food or shelter and the remaining 600 residents were issued with government passes to control their movement. Soldiers looted and destroyed most of the buildings at Parihaka. Some reserves that had been promised by a commission of inquiry into land confiscations were later seized and sold to cover the cost of crushing the Māori resistance, while others were leased to European settlers, shutting Māori out of involvement in the decisions over land use.

In a major 1996 report, the Waitangi Tribunal claimed the events at Parihaka provided a graphic display of government antagonism to any show of independence. It noted: "A vibrant and productive Māori community was destroyed and total State control of all matters Māori, with full power over the Māori social order, was sought."

The Parihaka International Peace Festival has been held annually there since 2006.

Settlement

The Parihaka settlement was founded in 1867, the year following the close of the Second Taranaki War and two years after almost all Māori land in Taranaki had been confiscated by the Government. The settlement was established by a Māori prophet, chief and veteran of the Taranaki wars, Te Whiti o Rongomai, as a means to end the slaughter of his own people and colonial soldiers, but without surrendering his land. Rather than build a bush fortress, he proposed establishing an open village where his people could defend themselves with spiritual powers. The was set in sight of Mt Taranakimarker and the sea, in a clearing ringed by low hills and beside a stream known as Waitotoroa (water of long blood). He was joined by a fellow chief, Tohu Kakahi and a close kinsman, Te Whetu. Later that year King Tāwhiao sent 12 "apostles" to live at Parihaka to strengthen the bonds between the Waikatomarker and Taranaki Māori who were opposed to further land sales to the government or white settlers. Within a year the settlement had grown to house more than 100 large thatched whares (houses) around two marae and by 1871 the population was reported to be 300. Taranaki's Medical Officer visited in 1871 and reported food in abundance, good cookhouses and an absence of disease. It was the cleanest, best-kept pā he had ever visited and its inhabitants "the finest race of men I have ever seen in New Zealand". Large meetings were held monthly, where Te Whiti warned of increasing levels of bribery and corruption to coerce Māori to sell their land, yet European visitors continued to be welcomed with dignity, courtesy and hospitality.

By the end of the 1870s it had a population of about 1500 and was being described as the most populous and prosperous Māori settlement in the country. It had its own police force, bakery and bank, used advanced agricultural machinery, and organised large teams who worked the coast and bush to harvest enough seafood and game to feed the thousands who came to the meetings. When journalists visited Parihaka in October 1881, a month before the brutal government raid that destroyed it, they found "square miles of potato, melon and cabbage fields around Parihaka; they stretched on every side, and acres and acres of the land show the results of great industry and care". The village was described as "an enormous native town of quiet and imposing character" with "regular streets of houses".

Land pressures

Te Whiti being led from Parihaka, November 1881.
June 1868 hostilities resumed in Taranaki as a Ngāti Ruanui chief, Riwha Titokowaru, launched a series of effective raids on settlers and government troops in an effort to block the occupation of Māori land. Te Whiti remained neutral during the nine-month-long war, neither helping nor hindering Titokowaru. When the war ended with Titokowaru's withdrawal in March 1869, Te Whiti declared the year to be te tau o te takahanga, "the year of the trampling underfoot", during which kings, queens, governors and governments would be trampled by Parihaka. He told a meeting there would be a new era of "fighting peace" with no surrender of land and no loss of independence. He also declared that because they had remained independent during the recent war, the confiscation of their land for being "rebellious British subjects" was unjust, illegal and void. Te Whiti's announcement at the meeting was reported to Premier Edward Stafford by Taranaki Land Purchase Officer Robert Reid Parris, who described him as "this young chief whose influence was strong in the province and with Tawhiao".

In 1872 the Government acknowledged that although all Māori land in Taranaki had been confiscated, most of it had effectively fallen back into Māori ownership because so little had been settled by Europeans. As a result, the Government began "buying" back the land, including reserves and land given as compensation for wrongful confiscation. The sales were transacted as deeds of cession, often accompanied by bribes, malpractice and cheating by land agents.

As Te Whiti continued to reject the overtures and bribery of land buyers, however, European anger towards Parihaka grew, fuelling calls for his "dangerous" movement to be suppressed. Newspapers and government agents that had earlier praised him as peaceful and amiable began describing him as a "fanatic" who gave "rambling", "unintelligible" and "blasphemous" speeches, producing a "baneful influence".

By the mid-1870s, Taranaki was enjoying a rapid growth in immigration, with the founding of Inglewoodmarker and other farming towns, the creation of inland roads as far south as Stratfordmarker and a rail link from New Plymouth to Waitara. In mid-1878, as the provincial government pressured the Government for more land, Colonial Treasurer John Ballance advocated the survey and sale by force of the Waimate Plains of South Taranaki. Cabinet members expected to raise ₤500,000 for government coffers from the sale. In June Premier Sir George Grey and Native Minister John Sheehan held a big meeting at Waitaramarker to dispense "gifts" including tinned fruits and jam, alcohol, clothing and perfume to Taranaki chiefs willing to sell. Neither Te Whiti nor Tawhiao attended, so Sheehan visited Parihaka and then the Waimate Plains, where he appeared to have persuaded Titokowaru to permit land to be surveyed on the proviso that burial places, cultivations and fishing grounds would be respected and that fenced reserves would be created.

Māori unease mounted as the surveying progressed, with little sign of the promised reserves. In February 1879 surveyors began cutting lines through cultivations and fences and trampling cash crops and also ran a road into Titokowaru's own settlement. Māori retaliated by uprooting kilometres of survey pegs. Sheehan rode to Parihaka to berate Te Whiti, then reported to Cabinet that land could be taken only by force. Tohu responded by evicting the surveyors and their equipment. Two days later the Government advertised for sale the first 6400 hectares, although it soon retracted its plans. Still, however, the Government refused to confirm its promise of reserves.

Monthly meetings at Parihaka attracted Māori from all over New Zealand and let was set aside for each tribe to have its own marae, meeting house and cluster of whares throughout the village. As the population grew, so did the industriousness, with cultivations over a wider area and more than 100 bullocks, 10 horses and 44 carts in use.

First resistance: The Ploughmen

On May 26, 1879 those bullocks and horses began to be put to use ploughing long furrows through the grassland of white settler farmers – first at Oakuramarker and later throughout Taranaki, from Haweramarker in the south to Pukearuhe in the north. Most of the land had earlier been confiscated from Māori. At a farm at Oakuramarker, ploughmen worked for three days from dawn until dusk, ploughing eight hectares. The Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, made a special visit to watch the ploughmen at work and "almost exploded with indignation" at the sight. Te Whiti insisted the ploughing was directed not against the settlers, but to force a declaration of policy from the Government, but farmers were incensed, threatening to shoot the ploughmen and their horses if they did not desist. Magistrates in Pateamarker County advised Grey that Māori had 10 days to stop "molesting property" or they would be "shot down", while MP Major Harry Atkinson encouraged farms to enrol as specials and begin drilling. He promised to upgrade their rifles and was reported in the Taranaki Herald as saying "he hoped if war did come, the natives would be exterminated". At Hawera a group of 100 armed vigilantes confronted ploughmen, but were talked out of violence by those they had come to threaten.

On June 29 the armed constabulary began arresting the ploughmen. Large squads pounced on the ploughing parties, who offered no resistance. Dozens a day were arrested, but their places were immediately taken by others who had travelled from as far away as Waikanaemarker. Te Whiti directed that those of the greatest mana, or prestige, should be the first to put their hands to the ploughshares, so among the first arrested were the prominent figures Titokowaru, Te Iki and Matakatea. As Taranaki jails became full, ploughmen were sent to the Mt Cook barracks in Wellingtonmarker. By August 200 prisoners had been taken. By then, however, the protest action seemed to be having some success, with Sheehan, the Native Minister, telling Parliament on July 23: "I was not aware ...what the exact position of those lands on the west coast was. It has only been made clear to us by the interruption of the surveys. It turns out that from the White Cliffs to Waitotaramarker the whole country is strewn with unfulfilled promises." A former Native Minister, Dr Daniel Pollen, also warned of the consequences of firmer government action against the Parihaka ploughmen: "I warn my honourable friend that there are behind Te Whiti not two hundred men, but a great many times two hundred men." All the prisons of New Zealand would not be big enough to hold them, he warned.

In August 10 leading pro-government chiefs issued a proclamation to all tribes of New Zealand calling on the government to halt surveys of disputed lands and on Māori to end their action in claiming those lands. The proclamation also proposed testing the legality of the confiscations in the Supreme Court. Te Whiti agreed to a truce and by the end of the month the ploughing ended.

Imprisonment

Native Minister John Bryce.
first 40 ploughmen brought before court, meanwhile, were charged with malicious injury to property, sentenced to two months' hard labour and ordered to pay ₤200 surety for 10 months good behaviour following their release. Because none could raise the surety, all remained behind bars for 12 months. The Government declined to lay charges against any of the remaining 180 protesters, but also refused to release them. Colonial Minister and Defence Minister Colonel George S. Whitmore, who had led colonial forces against Titokowaru in 1868-69, admitted it was necessary to bend the law keep the protesters incarcerated, fearing they would be released by the Supreme Court if they went on trial. To provide a legal backing for its move, the Grey ministry rushed the Maori Prisoners' Trial Act through both Houses on the final day of its session in office, Whitmore justifying the haste by claiming the "actual safety of the country and of the lives and property of its loyal subjects" was at stake.

The new law provided that the detainees were to be brought to trial within 30 days of the opening of the next session of parliament. The government invoked two further postponements and in January 1880 moved all the prisoners to the South Island, incarcerating them in jails in Dunedinmarker, Hokitikamarker, Lyttelton and Ripapa Islandmarker in Canterbury. The move prompted Hone Tawhai, the member for Northern Maori, to remark: "I cannot help thinking that they must have been taken there in order that they might be got rid of, and that they might perish there."

Many of the prisoners had already been in jail for 13 months when, in July 1880, the next Native Minister, John Bryce, introduced a Bill designed to postpone their trial indefinitely. Bryce, who prided himself on plain talk, told Parliament it was "a farce to talk of trying these prisoners for the offences for which they were charged ... if they had been convicted in all probability they would not have got more than 24 hours' imprisonment. In the Bill we drop that provision in regard to the trial altogether." The new legislation declared that all those in jail were now deemed to have been lawfully arrested and to be in lawful custody and decreed that "no Court, Judge, Justices of the Peace or other person shall during the continuance of this Act discharge, bail or liberate the said Natives".

Sheehan, meanwhile, claimed Te Whiti's people were wavering and would soon break up, while Bryce declared the end game was within sight: "I fully expect, in the course of next summer, to see hundreds of settlers on these plains."

West Coast Commission

Sir William Fox, chairman of the West Coast Commission.
December 1879 the Government had announced plans for a commission of inquiry, to be conducted by three government appointees and known as the West Coast Commission, which would examine grievances over West Coast land confiscations and allegations of broken promises. The Government had appointed former premier Sir William Fox as its chairman, as well as pastoralist and former cabinet minister Sir Francis Dillon Bell and Tawhai, who resigned before hearings began. Tawhai claimed his fellow commissioners were not impartial and had been the "very men who had created the trouble on the West Coast" (Fox and Bell had both been Native Minister), but he may also have been stung by Te Whiti's description of the commission as "two pākehā and a dog". Fox and Bell had been both closely involved with the New Zealand Company, both owned vast areas of land and supported confiscation.

Hearings began at Oeo, South Taranaki, in February 1880, but were immediately boycotted by Te Whiti's followers when the commission declined an invitation to travel to Parihaka to hold discussions. Historian Dick Scott has claimed Fox, who had already expressed in writing his wish that the Waimate Plains be sold and settled, was appointed chairman of the commission on the proviso that he support the government's land policies in the area and secure central Taranaki for white settlement. Correspondence to Premier John Hall shows that Fox thought it futile to give a hearing to "every Native who thinks he has a grievance" and was keen to ensure commission hearings did not delay road-building works in the Waimate Plains that could be carried out in summer.

In the meantime, however, Fox insisted that no survey of land around Parihaka take place until the commission had made a report. Bryce agreed that central Taranaki would not be entered, apart from the completion of necessary road repairs. In April, however, he directed that 550 armed soldiers – mostly unemployed men newly recruited with the promise of free land – would begin "repairing" a new road that would lead directly to Parihaka. His force marched from Oeo to set up camp near Parihaka. A stockade and camp were established at Rahotumarker, a redoubt and blockhouse at Pungarehumarker and an armed camp at Waikino to the north. The land around Parihaka began to be surveyed and work began, from both northern and southern approaches, on a coast road between New Plymouthmarker and Haweramarker. Apart from offering food to the soldiers, Māori continued their daily life as if the surveyors did not exist. In its 1996 report on Taranaki land confiscations, the Waitangi Tribunal noted that Bryce was a Taranaki war veteran who "clearly retained his relish of warfare ... on his own admission, he had always desired a march on Parihaka in order to destroy it." The tribunal claimed his later actions were "so provocative that, in our view, he was also endeavouring to recreate hostilities."

In an interim report released in April, Fox and Bell acknowledged the puzzle of why the land had been confiscated when its owners had never taken up arms against the government, but recommended all the open country in the Parihaka block – along the coast – be taken by the government. The commission expressed confidence that Māori would agree to settlement if adequate reserves were made, despite never having spoken to leading Māori in the area to gain their view.

Further resistance: The Fencers

In June 1880 the road reached Parihaka and on Bryce's instruction, the Armed Constabulary broke fences around the large Parihaka cultivations, exposing their cash crops to wandering stock. The The New Zealand Herald reported the next Māori tactic as surveying began there: "Our position is a very unhappy one. We assign reserves for natives ... indicate (sites for) European settlement. The natives reply by building houses, fencing, planting and occupying our camping grounds." As soldiers and surveyors cut down fences and marked out road lines across fields of crops, Māori just as quickly rebuilt the fences across the roads. When soldiers pulled them down, Māori put them back up again, refusing to answer questions about who was directing them. When Te Whetu threatened in July 1880 to cut down telegraph poles, he was arrested with eight other men and taken to New Plymouth. For the Government, it was the beginning of a new campaign in which fencers were arrested, often being dragged off by force as they continued work on building fences. According to the Waitangi Tribunal, the arrests were invalid: the land was not Crown land and therefore it was the army, not Māori, who were trespassing. Nor were the actions of the Māori fencers a criminal activity. Yet the number of arrests grew daily and Māori began to travel from other parts of the country, including Waikatomarker and Wairarapa, to provide more manpower. In one incident 300 fencers arrived at the roadline near Pungarehu, dug up the road, sowed it in wheat and constructed a fence, with a newspaper reporting: "They looked like an immense swarm of bees or an army of locusts, moving with a steady and uninterrupted movement across the face of the earth. As each portion was finished they set up a shout and a song of derision."

The Government responded with another Maori Prisoners' Detention Act, and then, in September, an even harsher West Coast Settlement (North Island) Act, which widened the powers of arrest and provided for two years' jail with hard labour – with the offender released only if he paid a surety nominated by the court. Arrests could be made for anyone even suspected of "endangering the peace" by digging, ploughing or disturbing the surface of the land, or erecting or dismantling a fence. Grey applauded the law, which "amounted to a general warrant for the apprehension of all persons ... for offences which were not named at all – in fact they might be arrested for no offence."

By September the adult male ranks at Parihaka were so depleted, the constabulary were manhandling young boys and old men, whose fences were often only symbolic, consisting of sticks and branches. But for Grey, it was a step too far and Native Minister Bryce was ordered to stop taking prisoners. The cost of the operation had grown too much: while the land being taken was estimated at £750,000, the costs of the operation in South Taranaki had already exceeded £1 million. The bloody clashes between armed soldiers and unarmed Māori building fences on their own land, as well as the increasing numbers of deaths in custody in the freezing South Island jails, were already attracting the attention of the British House of Commonsmarker and newspapers in Europe. In New Zealand, however, the plight of more than 400 political prisoners – equally divided between ploughmen and fencers – attracted scant press coverage. Only when about 100 prisoners were finally released from South Island jails in November 1880 did newspapers begin to report on the deaths in jail, the terms of solitary confinement and tales of gross overcrowding in cells. Reporters noted that some prisoners at Lyttelton jail were terminally ill, while others were "in a very critical state and scarcely able to walk".

Bryce unsuccessfully sought to impose conditions on the men as they were released, including their acceptance of reserves. The remaining 300 prisoners were released in the first six months of 1881. As they returned to Taranaki they learned that the Government had decided to survey and sell four-fifths of the Waimate Plains and , or more than half, of the Parihaka block. Parihaka, in fact, was to be carved into three sections, with the seaward and inland on the village marked for pākeha settlement and the Māori left with a strip in between. Bryce vowed that "English homesteads would be established at the very doors of (Te Whiti's) house". In January 1881 Bryce resigned as Native Minister, angry at the lack of government support for his plans to invade Parihaka and close the settlement.

The sell-off of central Taranaki continued, however, and in June 1881, with most of the Waimate Plains auctioned off, the Commissioner of Crown Lands sold of the Parihaka block for just over £2.10.0 an acre. Despite the sale, Māori at Parihaka continued to clear, fence and cultivate the land, regardless of whether it had been surveyed and sold. By September newspapers were reporting that a scare campaign was being created, suggesting Te Whiti was fortifying Parihaka and preparing to invade New Plymouth, while the Taranaki Herald reported that the settlement was "in a horribly filthy state" and its inhabitants "in a deplorable condition" – a stark contrast to the situation a Wellington doctor discovered when he visited, writing that the place was "singularly clean ... regularly swept ... drainage is excellent".

Invasion

Tohu Kakahi being taken from Parihaka, November 5, 1881.
's replacement, Canterbury farmer William Rolleston, visited Parihaka on October 8, three weeks after securing a £100,000 vote to renew the war against Taranaki Māori, urging Te Whiti to submit to the Government's wishes. If he refused and war ensued, Rolleston explained, "the blame will not rest with me and the government. It will rest with you."

The British Government, already uneasy about growing racial tensions in New Zealand, had in late 1880 dispatched a new governor, Sir Arthur Gordon, to review matters and report to them. Gordon was more sympathetic to the Māori and had already been dismissed as a "gospel-grinding nigger lover" by retired Native Land Court judge Frederick Maning and a man of "wild democratic theories" by Premier Hall. In mid-September Gordon sailed for Fijimarker, leaving Chief Justice Sir James Prendergast as acting Governor. In his absence Hall's ministry completed its plans to invade Parihaka. When news of this reached Gordon, he terminated his Fiji visit and hurried back to New Zealand. At 8pm on October 19, two hours before the Governor returned to Wellington, however, Hall convened an emergency meeting of his Executive Council and Prendergast issued a proclamation berating Te Whiti and his people for their "threatening attitude" and giving them 14 days to accept the dismemberment of their land and leave Parihaka or suffer "the great evil which must fall on them". On the same night Rolleston stood aside as Minister for Native Affairs and Bryce was sworn back into office. He left for Taranaki at 4am the next day and an officer took the proclamation to Parihaka on October 22. Gordon could not rescind the decision: the proclamation had been published the night of his return in a special issue of the government Gazette and he was obliged to comply with the advice of his ministers or resign.

Tensions climbed among Europeans in Taranaki. Although it had been more than 12 years since the last military action against Māori in Taranaki, and despite the lack of any threat of violence by the inhabitants of Parihaka, Major Charles Stapp, commander of the Taranaki Volunteers, declared that every man in the province between 17 and 55 years was now on active service in the militia. A government Gazette announcement called up 33 units of volunteers from Nelson to Thamesmarker. At the end of October the forces – 1074 Armed Constabulary, almost 1000 volunteers from around New Zealand and up to 600 Taranaki volunteers, together outnumbering Parihaka adult males by four to one – gathered near Parihaka, the volunteers at Rahotumarker and the Armed Constabulary at Pungarehu, and began drills and target practice. Bryce rode in their midst daily.

On November 1 Te Whiti prepared his people with a speech in which he warned: "The ark by which we are to be saved today is stout-heartedness, and flight is death ... There is nothing about fighting today, but the glorification of God and peace on the land ... Let us wait for the end; there is nothing else for us. Let us abide calmly upon the land." He warned against armed defence: "If any man thinks of his gun or his horse and goes to fetch it, he will die by it."

Shortly after 5am on November 5, long columns emerged from the two main camps to converge on Parihaka, encircling the village. Each man carried two days' rations, the troops were equipped with artillery and a six-pound Armstrong gun was mounted on a nearby hill and trained on Parihaka. At 7am a forward unit advanced on the main entrance to the village to find their path blocked by 200 young children, standing in lines. Behind them were groups of older girls skipping in unison. Colonel William Bazire Messenger, who had been called from his Pungarehu farm to command a detachment of 120 Armed Constabulary for the invasion, later recalled:

When the advance party reached the marae at the centre of the village, they found 2500 Māori sitting together. They had been waiting since midnight. At 8am Bryce, who had ordered a press blackout and banned reporters from the scene, arrived, riding on a white charger. Two hours later he demanded a reply to the proclamation of October 19. When his demand was met with silence, he ordered the Riot Act to be read, warning that "persons unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assembled together, to the disturbance of the publick peace" had one hour to disperse or receive a jail sentence of hard labour for life. Before the hour was up, a bugle was sounded and troops stormed the village.

Bryce then ordered the arrest of Te Whiti, Tohu and Hiroki, a murderer who had sought refuge at Parihaka. As Te Whiti walked through his people, he told them: "We look for peace and we find war." At the marae the crowd remained sitting quietly until evening, when they moved to their houses.

Two days later constabulary officers, still on edge because of rumours that Titokowaru had summoned armed 500 reinforcements, began ransacking houses in the village in search of weapons. They turned up 200 guns, mostly fowling pieces. Colonel Messenger told Cowan there was "a good deal of looting – in fact robbery" of greenstone and other treasures and claims were later made that women were also raped. Bryce ordered members of all tribes who had migrated to Parihaka to return to their previous homes. When none moved, they were warned the Armstrong gun on Fort Rolleston, the hill overlooking the village, would be fired at them. The threat was not carried out, but soldiers amused themselves by aiming their rifles at the crowd.

The next day the constabulary began raiding other central Taranaki Māori settlements in search of arms, and within days the raids, accompanied by destruction and looting, had spread to Waitara. On November 11 26 Whanganui Māori were arrested and Bryce, frustrated in his attempt to identify those from outside central Taranaki, telegraphed Hall to advise he intended destroying every whare in the village. He told Hall: "Consider, here are 2000 people sitting still, absolutely declining to give me any indication of where they belong to; they will sit still where they are and do nothing else."

Each day brought dozens of arrests, and from November 15 officers began destroying whare that were either empty or housing only women, assuming they were the homes of the evicted Wanganui men. When still Wanganui women could not be conclusively identified, a Māori informer was brought in to identify them. North Taranaki Māori, including children, were then separated – "like drafting sheep," one newspaper reported – and then marched under guard to Waitara. To starve out the remainder, soldiers destroyed all surrounding crops, wiping out of potatoes, taro and tobacco, then began repeating the measure across the countryside. By November 18 as many as 400 a day were being evicted and by the 20th 1443 had been ejected. Te Whiti's meeting house was destroyed and its smashed timbers scattered across the marae in an attempt desecrate the ground.

On November 22 the last group of 150 prisoners were marched out, bringing to a total of 1600 people ejected. Six hundred were issued with official passes and allowed to remain. Those without a pass were prohibited from entry. Further public meetings were banned. Scott noted:

By December it was reported that many dispersed Māori faced starvation. Bryce offered them work, but it was the ultimate humiliation – roadmaking and fencing for the subdivision of their land. The government then decreed that of land set aside as Parihaka reserves would be withheld as "an indemnity for the loss sustained by the government in suppressing the ... Parihaka sedition". As with the land confiscations of the mid-1860s, Māori were effectively forced to pay the government for the cost of the military invasion of their land.

Trial of Te Whiti, Tohu and Titokowaru

Te Whiti and Tohu appeared, calm and stately, before a magistrate and eight justices of the peace in the New Plymouth courtroom on November 12, 1881. Te Whiti was described in court as "a wicked, malicious, seditious and evil-disposed person" who had sought "to prevent by force and arms the execution of the laws of the realm". At the close of his four-day trial the prophet declared: "It is not my wish that evil should come to the two races. My wish is for the whole of us to live peaceably and happy on the land." The magistrate committed both men to jail in New Plymouth until further notice. Six months later they were moved to the South Island, where they were frequently taken from jail to be escorted around the factories, churches and public buildings.

Titokowaru, who had been put in solitary confinement at the Pungarehu constabulary camp, went on a brief hunger strike in protest at his treatment. On November 25 he was charged with threatening to burn a hotel at Manaiamarker in October and using insulting language to troops at Parihaka in November. Three weeks later, while still in jail, a third charge of being unlawfully obstructive – for sitting on the marae at Parihaka – was laid against him. When he appeared before a Supreme Court judge six months later, the prosecutor dropped the charges and Titokowaru was released.

Two weeks later the government introduced new legislation, the West Coast Peace Preservation Bill, which decreed that Te Whiti and Tohu were not to be tried, but would be jailed indefinitely. If released, they could be rearrested without charge at any time. Bryce explained that the law was necessary to protect the people of Taranaki and because he feared the two chiefs might be acquitted by a jury or, if they were convicted, receive a lenient sentence. Still in jail at the time, however, Te Whiti was visited by one of Bryce's staff, who told him that if he agreed to cease assembling his people he could return to Taranaki, where he would receive a government income and land for himself. Te Whiti refused. The offer was repeated, and rejected, two weeks later. The prisoners were transferred to Nelson, where they received a third offer in August. They were finally released in March 1883 and returned to Parihaka, still under threat of arrest under the powers of the West Coast Peace Preservation Act, renewed in August 1883. His remaining land was still shrinking: on January 1, 1883 the reserves granted to Māori by the West Coast Commission were vested in the Public Trust for 30-year lease to European settlers at peppercorn rental, prompting Te Whiti to refuse to sign documents and refuse to collect the rental income of £7000 a year.

Campaign renewed

Armed constabulary remained stationed at Parihaka, enforcing the pass laws and the ban on public meetings, yet rebuilding began. In August 1884 Te Whiti and Tohu began a new campaign to publicise the loss of their land, embarking on large protest marches across Taranaki, as far south as Patea and north to White Cliffs. In July 1886 the campaign changed direction as Māori began entering pākeha farms to occupy the land and erect thatched huts. Titokowaru and eight other Māori were arrested and on July 20 armed constables launched a dawn raid on Parihaka to arrest Te Whiti. Ten weeks later they faced a Supreme Court trial in Wellington. Te Whiti was jailed for three months and fined £100 for being an accessory to forcible entry, riot and malicious injury to property; the others were jailed for a month and fined £20. In late 1889 Te Whiti was arrested again over a disputed £203 debt and sentenced to three months' hard labour.

Parihaka restored

In 1889 work began on a meeting house and Te Raukura, a large Victorian mansion containing dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, a bakery and council chambers for Te Whiti and his runanga (council). In 1895 Parihaka received a state visit by the Minister for Labour, William Pember Reeves and, two months later, Premier Richard Seddon, who engaged in a tense exchange with Te Whiti over past injustices. Seddon, speaking to Patea settlers days later, boasted over the increased rate of land acquisition by the Government and told them Parihaka had encouraged Māori to lead "lazy and dissolute" lives. He vowed that the state would destroy "this communism that now existed among them".

Tohu died on February 4, 1907 and Te Whiti died nine months later, on November 18.

Their followers have continued to observe monthly dusk-to-dusk Te Whiti and Tohu days at Parihaka ever since. That for Te Whiti is held in the meeting houses Te Niho o te Ati Awa and Te Paepae, and for Tohu in Te Rangi Kāpuia. Although nominally on the 17th and 18th of each month, they are actually held on the 18th and 19th. (One reason offered for this is to compensate for the day lost during the Battle of Jericho.) In the same way, the anniversary of the sacking, November 5, is observed on November 6.

Te Raukura was destroyed by fire in 1960. Only its foundations remain.

Redress

Several Taranaki tribes were affected by the Parihaka incident. Between 2001 and 2006, the New Zealand government provided redress and a formal apology to four of those tribes, Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Tama, Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi and Ngati Mutunga, for a range of historical issues including Parihaka. Tens of millions of New Zealand dollars were provided as redress to the tribes in recognition of their losses at Parihaka and the confiscations. Most of the confiscated land is now privately owned, and worth considerably more.

Although there were more violent incidents during the New Zealand land wars, the memory of Parihaka is still invoked as a symbol of colonial aggression against the Māori People, having a similar resonance in New Zealand to the Wounded Knee Massacre in the United Statesmarker.

Later references

The story of Parihaka lay largely forgotten by non-Māori New Zealanders, until the publication of "The Parihaka Story" by Dick Scott in 1954. It was revised and enlarged as "Ask That Mountain" in 1975.

A sardonic "song-play" about Māori land issues including Parihaka, "Songs for the Judges" with words by Mervyn Thompson and music by William Dart was performed in Auckland in February 1980 and toured in 1981. Two of the songs, "Gather up the Earth" and "On that Day" are based on sayings of Te Whiti. It was issued as an LP (SLD-69) by Kiwi/Pacific Records in 1982.

A play about Parihaka by Harry Dansey called "Te Raukura" was first performed in Auckland and then, in a cut-down version for school-age performers, in the Hutt Valley and at Parihaka in 1981.

In 1989 musicians Tim Finn and Herbs released the song Parihaka about the incident.

References

  1. Michael King, The Penguin History of New Zealand, Penguin, 2003, chapter 15
  2. The Taranaki Report: Kaupapa Tuatahi by the Waitangi Tribunal, chapter 8.
  3. Dick Scott, Ask That Mountain: The Story of Parihaka, Heinemann, 1975.
  4. The Taranaki Report: Kaupapa Tuatahi by the Waitangi Tribunal, chapter 7.
  5. James Cowan, The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume II, 1922, page 478.
  6. Scott's book refers to a total of about 400 Māori were arrested in the ploughing and fencing campaigns. The Waitangi Tribunal, at section 8.13 of its Taranaki report, claims more than 420 ploughmen were imprisoned by the end of 1879 and that 216 fencers were arrested in 1880, making a total of more than 636 arrests over the course of the two campaigns.
  7. Richmond-Atkinson papers, G. H. Scholefield (ed.), (1960), as cited by Scott, page 66-7.
  8. His order, according to Scott, was ignored by several reporters who arrived at Parihaka before dawn to warn Te Whiti and then watched the day's events from concealed positions.
  9. The Riot Act of 1714


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