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Parihaka Day

I am strongly in favour of Parihaka Day becoming more prominent – especially in Aotearoa New Zealand. Its date is 5 November and is much more significant than Guy Fawkes. The event has much to teach us in our day also. So this is a reblog from previously.

The story of Parihaka and its non-violent opposition to injustice should be (more) widely known. Parihaka was invaded by Pakeha on 5 November 1881. Surprisingly, or possibly not, the peaceful resistance of pacifist-because-of-Jesus Maori prophet, Te Whiti (which inspired Mahatma Gandhi) may be less known (even) here in New Zealand than might be expected. One wonders, with the announcement that New Zealander pupils will be required to study NZ history by 2022, whether Parihaka will be one of the required stories… [a quick, non-scientific check of some Kiwi teenagers – the story of Parihaka is known by maybe 1%].

For some reason – explain it to me someone! – Te Whiti o Rongomai is celebrated in the NZ Anglican calendar on November 6. I cannot explain why. He died November 18, 1907 (making November 18 an option). But Parihaka was invaded on November 5 (a blank day in the calendar)!

Guy Fawkes, while still celebrated with fireworks around New Zealand, may not have as strong relevance in our context as Parihaka.

As Pakeha advanced on Parihaka, the Māori community baked 500 loaves of bread. The invaders were greeted with waiata (singing) and dancing and being handed bread to eat. The response of the invaders was to destroy the settlement, many women and children were raped, and the men were taken away down south and imprisoned for two years under inhumane circumstances. Many never returned.

Many now bake bread and share it on Parihaka Day in memory of these events and the message of peace that goes back through Parihaka to Jesus.

My friend my friend
I hate to see you suffer
Events conspire to bring us to our knees
My friend my friend
You’ve taken this the wrong way
Rise up defend yourself never give in

Look to the sky the spirit of Te Whiti
The endless tide is murmuring his name
I know Te Whiti will never be defeated
And even at the darkest hour
His presence will remain

I’ll sing for you a song of Parihaka

Te Whiti he used the language of the spirit
Then stood accused a madman and his dream
He saw the train go roaring thru the tunnel
He heard the voice travel on the magic wire
But Te Whiti loved the silence of the river
He watched the dog piss on the cannon’s wheel

I know Te Whiti will never be defeated
And even at the darkest hour
His presence will remain
I’ll sing for you a song of Parihaka

One day you’ll know the truth
They can’t pull out the roots
Come and take me home
To weep for my lost brother

They gather still the clouds of Taranaki
His children’s children wearing the white plume
So take me for the sins of these sad islands
The wave still breaks on the rock of Rouhotu

And when you taste the salt that’s on your pudding
And when you taste the sugar in your soup
Think of Te Whiti He’ll never be defeated
Even at the darkest hour
His presence will remain

I’ll sing for you the song of Parihaka
Come to Parihaka
Weep for my lost brother
The spirit of nonviolence
Has come to fill the silence
Come to Parihaka

Lyrics Tim Finn
The Herbs with Tim Finn singing

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1 thought on “Parihaka Day”

  1. Gerald Sydney Thorner

    Thank-you for the opportunity to express myself in your post.
    I hope someone is blessed.
    My name is Gerald and 40 years ago today, on Mt Te Aroha, not far from where Tarore, the niece of Wiremu Tamahana was slain in 1826 at the Wairere Falls, I received a call from God to pray and to intercede as led by The Spirit of God.
    I commenced my prayer for a young man of Te Aroha who suffered from asthma. I prayed for his healing. That was on 18th day of January 1982. I have risen early to prayer ever since.
    Also on the 18th day of the month I pray for my tipuna Te Whiti O’Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi. I pray for the commitment to Peace despite the onslaught of oppression, hardship, exploitation ,abuse by vandalism and theft.
    I pray wherever the signs and symbols of peace are offered ,the white feathers, the olive branch, the ploughshare.
    I salute Te Whiti and Tohu they were men of prayer ,cautious optimism, and great courage in adversity.
    Tohu was reputed to have been born in my village at Te Hua(Bell Block) his two wives stayed there during the occupation of Parihaka.
    Te Whiti’s aunty Ngapei Ngatata married the uncle of my direct ancestor Mary Bishop and Wiremu Tutu Tehana.
    His brother Te Hore Henare lived at Parihaka and had five children. They were the forbears of the Broughton family.
    The said uncle of Wiremu, Te Tehana Papawaka was the wife of Ngapei for a period. He was a Native Assessor, knew Mr Parris and went to Parihaka as an honoured visitor.
    I continue to pray for The Peaceful Way, and for Tohu’s and Te whiti’s legacy and way of acknowledging “The Prince of Peace..
    Your servant Gerald Sydney Thorner, Te Atiawa Iwi, Puketapu hapu, Hoewaka whanau(Hua Division) (Bell Block) Muru Raupatu Marae.(Tokomaru whaka)

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