Parihaka Deed of Reconciliation

One hundred and thirty two years after atrocities were committed and injustices imposed on the settlement of Parihaka the crown has officially apologised.

Chris Finlayson:  Deed of Reconciliation signed with Parihaka

The Crown has signed a Deed of Reconciliation with the Parihaka community in a ceremony held at Parihaka, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

“In the second half of the 19th century, the Crown devastated Parihaka which at the time was the largest community in Taranaki and a centre for peaceful protest.

“It is important the Crown apologise directly to the people of Parihaka for the actions it committed almost 140 years ago so we can begin to look forward to a new era of collaboration.”

The Crown’s failings included:

imprisoning 405 Parihaka residents for their participation in the peaceful ploughing and fencing campaigns of 1879 and 1880 and promoting laws that breached natural justice by holding those protestors in jails without trial; invading Parihaka in November 1881, forcibly evicting many people who had sought refuge there, dismantling and desecrating homes and sacred buildings, stealing heirlooms and systematically destroying cultivations and livestock; and arresting and detaining Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, the leaders of Parihaka, for 16 months without trial.

“Basic requirements of natural justice and the rule of law (which are the birthright of all New Zealanders) were denied to our citizens at Parihaka and they were left without any legal remedy,” Mr Finlayson said.

“Signing this Deed of Reconciliation is a significant milestone for the Crown, Parihaka, the iwi and community of Taranaki and many others who believe in Parihaka’s legacy of peace.

“The Crown has previously acknowledged and apologised to iwi of Taranaki, through individual Treaty settlements, for the treatment of their tupuna who were at Parihaka but today’s ceremony is for the community as a whole.”

The Deed provides for a Crown support package of $9 million to assist Parihaka to strengthen its infrastructure and help the community achieve its aspirations. It also includes an agreement with Crown agencies and local authorities to work with Parihaka on development initiatives.

Legislation will be introduced to record the history of Parihaka, the Crown’s apology and the commitment to a new relationship between Parihaka and the Crown.

Parihaka is located in South Taranaki.  It is closely affiliated to Taranaki Iwi and has connections with other iwi whose members sought sanctuary from conflict there. Parihaka is also connected with peace movements both in New Zealand and overseas.

A copy of the Deed of Reconciliation is available online at:

Parihaka Pa, circa 1900, with Mount Taranaki - taken by an unidentified photographer.

Parihaka, depicted in this painting by George Clarendon Beale (1856–1939), was New Zealand’s largest Maori community by 1881. Its prophets attracted followers from around the country.

Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi had established the pacifist community of Parihaka (formerly Repanga) in the shadow of Mt Taranaki in 1866. During the 1870s Parihaka became the largest Māori settlement in the country.

Tītokowaru had developed a relationship with Te Whiti through his association with Te Ua. This relationship strenghtened through the 1870s. In 1878 the government began surveying the confiscated southern Taranaki lands for European settlement. In May 1879, under the initial direction of Tohu, Parihaka men went out to reclaim this land by ploughing it. Increasingly it was Tītokowaru who saw to the logistics of the protests. He was imprisoned three times.

Tītokowaru’s presence was not lost on the authorities when plans were made to invade Parihaka in November 1881. Native Minister John Bryce took no chances, assembling a force of more than 1500 men. The settlement’s key figures, including Te Whiti, Tohu Kākahi and Tītokowaru, were arrested without resistance. Most of its inhabitants were driven away and Parihaka was largely destroyed. Much of central Taranaki now became Pākehā farmland.

New Zealand History:  Occupation of pacifist settlement at Parihaka


New Zealand in History: Parihaka

Parihaka reconciliation package offered

Nearly a century and a half after Parihaka was invaded a reconciliation package is being negotiated with the Crown.

Stuff: Details of $9m reconciliation package for Parihaka revealed

A novel $9 million government reconciliation package offered to the people of Parihaka has been widely criticised as being too low.

The Crown offered the multi-million reconciliation package to the Parihaka Papakainga Trust, as a form of recognition for the historical injustices suffered by those living at the site due to the actions of the colonial government, including the 1881 invasion.

The offer differed to a Treaty of Waitangi deal as it was not a negotiated process but followed a unique pathway designed by agreement between the trust and the government.

However, following extensive consultation by the trust with its people, many have said while they support other aspects of the package, the $9m sum was not enough.

It doesn’t seem very much.

In 1881, about 1500 colonial troops invaded the settlement, arrested the two men and seized about three million acres of Maori land for new settlers.

What would 3 million acres be worth these days?

Along with financial assistance, another significant part of the reconciliation package is the creation of a legacy statement, which will recount Parihaka’s  history, its current issues and future aspirations.

Parihaka reconciliation package includes:
* A $9 million development fund
* A deed of reconciliation between Parihaka and the Crown
* Relationship agreements with central and local government
* A Crown apology
* The creation of a legacy statement
* Legislation to ensure Crown’s commitment to Parihaka is legally binding

Addressing a stain on New Zealand history has been a long time coming.



Martyn Bradbury fails Mandela 101

In the meantime Martyn Bradbury takes up the political bitching at The Daily Blog in John Key shouldn’t be going to Nelson Mandela’s funeral:

It is to our shame that a Prime Minister who can’t can’t even remember what side of the debate he was on during the Springbok Tour will represent us at Nelson Mandela’s funeral…

…from a Political Party that not only instigated the Springbok Tour but also pushed to keep Nelson Mandela branded as an ANC Terrorist…

…it is a shame that National, the Party who hated on Nelson Mandela the most and who is the Party that ripped the country in two over the Springbok Tour and now led by a Prime Minister who couldn’t even remember what side of the debate he was on will represent us because dammit, the bloody National Party are a disgrace on the Nelson Mandela issue.

The people who should be going to Nelson’s funeral are the John Mintos, the Donna Awatere Huatas, the Trevor Richards, the Annette Sykes, the Hone Harawiras, the Andrew Beyers, the Syd Jacksons. Those who stood on the front lines of the Police baton charges, those who rallied this Nation to respond to the National Party’s racist Springbok Tour and those that challenged red neck National Party voters.

Those are the heroes who deserve to weep at Nelson’s funerals, not the Political Party that did more in NZ than any other to support the very apartheid horror that Nelson spent his life fighting.

It is a shame but not surprising that Bradbury takes this approach. Key can’t be blamed for what happened thirty years ago. Nor can the current Government.

Let us allow Nelson to rest in peace, let’s never allow his detractors and haters to rest ever.

That’s ironic coming from one of New Zealand’s practicing political “detractors and haters”.

Zetetic at The Standard has also initiated a string of un-Mandelian comments in Hypocrisy-watch.

Reconciliation is one of Mandela’s often praised attributes. Another irony, one that Martyn, Zetetic et al  fail to recognise.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.

A beautiful and important film about South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It will engage and influence not only South Africans, but people all over the world concerned with the great questions of human reconciliation, forgiveness, and tolerance.