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Parihaka or Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes, while still celebrated with fireworks around New Zealand, may not have as strong relevance in our context as Parihaka. Surprisingly, or possibly not, the peaceful resistance of pacifist-because-of-Jesus Maori prophet, Te Whiti, which inspired Mahatma Gandhi, may be less known here than might be expected.

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 by the Pakeha on November 5 (a blank day in the calendar)!

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 (random image!!??):

Wikipedia on Parihaka
Parihaka not Guy Fawkes
Parihaka – A call to Non-violence
Move To Make Nov 5th Parihaka Day
Tim Finn – Parihaka – Live at Queens Hall, Edinburgh, 14th March 2007 (poor quality)

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10 thoughts on “Parihaka or Guy Fawkes”

  1. Interesting idea. Guy Fawkes was not a pacifist like Parihaka. Guy Fawkes Day isn’t a celebration of his life – the original tradition was burning his effigy on a bonfire. In this respect, we couldn’t replace Guy Fawkes with Parikaha without making it clear he is the complete opposite of Guy Fawkes.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It would be interesting to survey what proportion of people had any real idea of what was being celebrated on Guy Fawkes Day, at least in New Zealand. I would hazard that confusion abounds. Parihaka is a place, not a person.

  2. Our congregation has just completed a three week sermon series leading up to Parihaka focusing on our heritage of faith within NZ particularly among Maori in the 19th century

    I’ll see if I can find a link to the recordings for you if you’re interested, Bosco

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