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Parihaka Day Events Focus On Peace And Resilience In Whakatū

The focus of Parihaka Day events on Sunday November 5th in Whakatū Nelson is maungārongo, manawanui and manawaroa - peace and resilience.

Whakatū Parihaka Peace Network Connection and the Quakers in Nelson are remembering Parihaka Day and honouring ngā tāngata o Parihaka with two events. The Legacy of Parihaka will be the focus of a dawn blessing at Anzac Park followed by a lunchtime performance from Te Oro Hā at the Nelson Cathedral, Piki Mai.

Those attending the 5.30am public dawn blessing are invited to bring karakia, prayer, waiata, hymns, thoughts and kōrero focussing on peace and resilience. Ela Gandhi, a granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, has already responded to the invitation and her message will be read aloud at Whakatū and also at Parihaka.

After reading reports of the passive resistance practices of Māori under the leadership of Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, Gandhi developed his ideas of active non-violence. Details of the ploughing and removal of tent pegs from confiscated land, and of the non-violent acceptance of mass arrest were circulating internationally in 1880 and 1881. Many New Zealanders, however, are still unaware of the brutality of the land wars and the passive resistance to the injustice of land confiscation.

Veronica Christie, speaking on behalf of Whakatū Parihaka Peace Network Connection, comments “What is startling is that the people of Parihaka live with grace, and with conviction, not condemnation, embracing all people who connect with them. The Legacy of Parihaka means living in a community which respects the whenua, and is guided by the Parihaka Principles when responding to injustice. There are always alternatives to violence.”

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Ngā Tātarakihi is the name gifted to the informal lunchtime performance at Nelson Cathedral, on Piki Mai pā. Encapsulating a focus on the aspirations for future generations, Ngā Tātarakihi (the ‘Cicadas of Parihaka’) is a phrase referring to the children of Parihaka. On November 5th 1881, they were singing and holding white feathers of peace as the armed constabulary, including 200 volunteer riflemen from the Nelson community, invaded Parihaka.

At 12.30pm on Sunday 5th, Nelson Cathedral will reverberate to the haunting sounds of live taonga pūoro accompanying Donna McLeod’s readings on both Reconciliation and the Nelson Tenths.

Veronica Christie says, “Many of our small group are pākehā or tauiwi - non-Māori who are drawn to the Parihaka principles. Each year on November 5th, we remember Tohu Kākahi, Te Whiti-o-Rongomai, and the generations of people of Parihaka who have carried a burden of grief and maintain a commitment to peace. How can we peacefully come together to look for a collective response to injustice? Here in Nelson/Whakatū I ask myself, ‘How can I support making the Tenths whole so we all move forward, stronger?’. It feels very uncomfortable that land promised has been withheld for more than 180 years.”

The community groups offering support for Parihaka Day events in Whakatū are expanding as the dialogue around accepting our country’s colonial history continues. This year Te Mana Hā, a rōpū of wāhine from different ethnic backgrounds who are committed to learning te reo Māori and singing waiata Māori, will entertain everyone who gathers at the Nelson Bridge Club for parakuihi/ breakfast after the dawn blessing.

Speakers at this year’s dawn blessing are invited to focus on applying the Parihaka Principles Maunga a-Rongo Peace; Manawa-nui and Manawa-roa Resilience. Further Parihaka Principles are Ririkore Non-violence; Rangatiratanga Autonomy; Whakaruru Sanctuary; Whakaaro-pai Respect and Equality; Ringa Raupā Innovation and Hardwork; Motuhake Self-sufficiency; Tōpūtanga Unity and Oranga-tonutanga Future.

Both events commemorating Parihaka Day in Te Tau Ihu are free of charge thanks to the generous support of Te Ātiawa Manawhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust, Ngā Manu Korihi Network Mai Whakatū, Te Oro Hā, Archdeacon Harvey Ruru, Dean Dr Graham O'Brien, the Nelson Cathedral, the Nelson Bridge Club and the Quakers in Nelson.

November 5th Parihaka Day events in Whakatū

5.30am: Dawn Blessing at Anzac Park, followed by Parakuihi at The Nelson Contract Bridge Club (provided by Quakers in Nelson. )

12.30pm: ‘Parihaka Ngā Tātarakihi. Te Oro Hā lead and perform in an interfaith gathering.

My history, Your history, Our history.

''Kia tau te rangimārie.'

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