St Josephs School Upper Hutt celebrated Parihaka Day on 5 November with a number of events on the theme of peace including an enactment of the Parihaka encounter when government troops arrested the leaders of an ongoing nonviolent protest against land confiscations in 1881. The day began with a liturgy in the church that included songs, dance, gospel readings and drama that centred on peace and justice.
Later in the day the school welcomed Trentham School Kapa Haka group who performed with the St Josephs group in powhiri that included a rendition of Tim Finn’s ‘Song of Parihaka’. Afternoon activities ended with both schools’ students participating in cooperative games organised by the St Josephs’ year eight students.
St Joseph’s Principal John Young said celebrating a New Zealand themed peace day on the 5 November might be more appropriate for these children’s future than Guy Fawkes.
He paid tribute to deputy principal Alison McIndoe who had taken on the Parihaka study and brought it to such a great conclusion.
Parents from the local, Orongomai marae helped with the school’s Kapa Haka.
Meanwhile some 60 people turned out on the previous Saturday for parish activities commemorating Parihaka. A spokesperson for the organisers said it was good to have had something mainly organised by Pakeha which celebrated an event and moral leadership from the tangata whenua.
For more details of the Parihaka encounter, click here.