WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Remembering Parihaka: 5 November

WelCom November 2018:

In the 1870s, under the leadership of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, the small village of Parihaka in western Taranaki became a place of non-violent resistance to unjust land confiscations and the loss of control over their lives.

The people of Parihaka sent men to plough the land and erect fences. They were arrested and offered no resistance. More men were sent to replace them and they too were arrested.

On 5 November 1881 government troops invaded Parihaka and arrested the leaders and many of the men. Homes, cultivations and livestock were destroyed, the people were devastated. Parliament passed special laws to enable the men of Parihaka to be imprisoned without charge. No trials were held and the men were taken to labour on projects in Wellington and Dunedin, where they were ‘housed’ in caves.

The story of the non-violent resistance by the people of Parihaka to colonial land-grabbing gained both local and international recognition. Fifty years before Gandhi’s non-violent resistance to British rule of India, the people of Parihaka had found a peaceful way to protest against injustice.

Today, Parihaka continues to be a place of gathering to remember the people of the past and to look forward to the future.