The village of Parihaka is in Taranaki close to New Plymouth. It is the site of a huge event in New Zealand history.

Parihaka, was a large village founded when the English were punishing the Maori and taking away their land.

By 1870 it had become the largest Maori village in the country. In 1881 it was the scene of one of the worst crimes against human rights in this country.

Two leaders Te Whiti and Tohu led the Parihaka movement. Both men believed in non-violent action to protect Maori independence.

They

promoted

good

relationships with the English as long as Maori ownership of land occurred. Both men were against the use of weapons and condemned violence.

In 1879 the British started taking the Maori land which threatened all Maori settlements. Te Whiti sent out his people to stop the surveys and to plough on the land.

When the ploughmen were arrested they offered no resistance but were often treated badly.

In 1880 the people of Parihaka put up barricades across roads, pulled out survey pegs and took road builders out of the district.

Hundred of villagers were sent to prison in the South Island and were forced to build many of the buildings in the city of Dunedin.

The Parihaka villagers died as the Taranaki settlers continued to take possession of the land. The struggling continued as did the imprisonments.

One morning the Parihaka army, led by two members of Parliament entered Parihaka. Many people sat quietly on the marae while children greeted the army.

An hour later, Te Whiti and Tohu were led to a jail in the South Island. Immediately, the destruction of Parihaka began.

It took the army two weeks to pull down the houses and two months to destroy all the crops. Women and girls were raped leading to an outbreak of syphilis.

Fort Rolleston was built on a tall hill in the village. 70 soldiers defended it for over 5 years.

While Te Whiti and Tohu were in jail he was shown the wonders of european technology. Te Whiti is thought to be the first person to speak on a telephone in NZ.

1883 the Parihaka leaders were taken back to Parihaka. While this was happening hundreds of their men and youths were still in jail in the South.

When Te Whiti returned home he was assaulted in his home and in 1886 was sent to jail again. In 1888 his wife Hikurangi died. Te Whiti was not allowed to attend her funeral.

In 1888 Te Whiti returned home again with his son-in-law. The village had become very modern with flash guesthouses built, streets, shops, lighting and drainage constructed.

In 1898 the last of captives returned home ending nearly 20 years of imprisonment. Parihaka was described as one of the most advanced towns in NZ in 1902.

Te Whiti and Tohu both died in 1907.

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