131 years ago, the soldiers marched onto Parihaka. They occupied this non-violent village, destroyed crops and houses, raped women, imprisoned men. They tried as hard as they could to wipe this place off the face of the earth — unsuccessful!
Piki mai Pungarehu ka tangi mai te piukara
He tohu riro ngā ngonga, e rere te mau nawa
He taiepa tiketike, te taiepa i ngā tūpuhi
He taiepa pikonga nō Kāwana te mau nawa
Tui atu, tui mai ō tāua nei ringaringa
i te roa rori ki Kuini tiriti kei mau nawa
Piko mai e Kāwana ko ahau tō ariki
ko koe taku pononga e te Kuini kei mau nawa
The waiata above (Piukara) describes the assent of the soldiers from Pungarehu. You can hear the sound of the Bugel. People have their hand tied together and are marched down Queen Street in New Plymouth. The last stanza translates to: 'Bow down, governor, I am your leader. You are my follower, oh Queen, who brought all this oppression.' It is still sung today.
Today is Parihaka Day. The non-violent resistance against land consideration is remembered at events across Aotearoa: Kaiti (Gisborne), Te Poho o Rawiri Marae, 7pm; Raumati South Village, Park opposite the dairy, 7pm; Auckland, The Peace Place, 22 Emily Place, 12.30pm.
In Parihaka, the pahua (plunder) is remembered on 7th November each year at Toroanui Marae where people gather for a kai.
A new documentary - Tatarakihi: The Children of Parihaka - has currently screening across the country. It tells the journey undertaken by children who are the survivors of Parihaka. The children retrace the steps of their Parihaka ancestors who in the late 1800s were forcibly removed from their peaceful village in Taranaki and incarcerated for indefinite periods without trial over a thirty-year period in South Island prisons. The children’s bus journey through New Zealand weaves a delicate tapestry of narration, poetry, song and archival image to tell a haunting story that spans five generations.
The children demonstrate that the Parihakatanga of their ancestors lives on in them today. Ko te poo te kaihari i te raa, ko te mate te kaihari i te oranga.