Topic: Land

Remembering Parihaka, not Guy Fawkes

By Leah Te Whata
  • North Island: West Coast

It's 137 years on since the invasion at Parihaka and months after reconciliation with the Crown, renewed calls have surfaced to have Parihaka Day commemorated nationally.

Dame Tariana Turia supports Parihaka Day being recognised in legislation.

"I think that it's totally relevant for us to choose to commemorate Parihaka as very significant place and significance of a peaceful protest against the Crown," she says.

In 2012 she delivered a petition to parliament with 900 signatures for Te Rā o Parihaka to be commemorated on November 5, she says it's much more relevant then Guy Fawkes.

"I definitely think it's a conversation that we need to have, there was some discussion around that for a number of years but it was never picked up.  But there would be very few people I know who celebrate Guy Fawkes," she says.

Turia says firecrackers are a hit with the kids but today, her whānau celebrate the long-burning fires of occupation.

"We celebrate on the 5th of November Ahi Kaa, our families come home, we bring home all our mate back at that time and we plant trees."

Te Kāea contacted Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, who is yet to respond.

But whether or not the day is recognised in legislation, it'll remain a symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of confiscation of Māori land.