The Green Party is calling on the Government to establish a national Parihaka Day.
The day would commemorate the extraordinary events of November 5 1881, when the Parihaka community practised passive resistance in response to the violent invasion by the Crown. The call for a national day of commemoration for Parihaka is also supported by many in the local community, former New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd and the Māori Party.
“It is essential that Aotearoa honours its history, and that we educate our children and mokopuna about the injustices of our past,” said Green Party Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson.
“Today many New Zealanders will be celebrating Guy Fawkes Day across the country, but we should also be remembering our own history of resisting oppression and injustice.
“The actions of the Armed Constabulary and the Crown were reprehensible and represent a dark time in our history, but the response of our tūpuna at Parihaka, who met violence with peace, was absolutely courageous.
“Too many New Zealanders aren’t aware of what happened at Parihaka; how hundreds of men were imprisoned without trial in inhumane conditions, and how women and children were sexually abused and left without food and shelter as the entire papakāinga was sacked and pillaged.
“The passive resistance practised by Te Whiti o Rongomai, Tohu Kākahi and their followers brought an end to the Taranaki land wars, and inspired the world.
“Our young people learn about the Indian independence and black civil rights movements in school, but too many don’t learn about our own tradition of non-violence, exemplified by Parihaka, which is said to have influenced Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr.
“We have a responsibility as a country to do everything we can to keep our history alive, so that we can learn the lessons from our past and pass them down to future generations,” said Ms Davidson.