Regional | Crown

Parihaka Day instead of Guy Fawkes?

Should the invasion of Parihaka be remembered on November 5 instead of celebrating Guy Fawkes Day?

It is a question that continues to play out in the minds of the descendants of tipuna Maori who were imprisoned for protecting their lands from the British Crown.  Taranaki Maori Radio (Korimako) radio host Tamzyn Rose Pue always highlights the significance of Parihaka on November 5. "Let's remember this before we celebrate a traitor from overseas."

November 5, 1881 was the day tipuna Maori were evicted by 1600 armed constables and volunteers when they raided the small settlement, destroyed the farms and evicted the people. The main objective of the invasion was to arrest two prophets, Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti ō Rongomai, who were held on trial for more than a year in Te Waipounamu.

Meanwhile, New Zealanders continue to celebrate November 5 as Guy Fawkes Day, with fireworks, though fireworks-related callouts to Fire and Emergency seem to be an annual concern. This Guy Fawkes Day Fire and Emergency had 11 callouts related to fireworks.

Pue, who is a morehu whakatipu or a descendant of Parihaka, says her whanau has never celebrated Guy Fawkes Day.

Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic who with 10 other supporters attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London over 400 years ago in what was known as the "Gunpowder Plot." They were discovered before their bombs went off and were convicted and executed after being hung, drawn and quartered.

Pue believes New Zealanders should acknowledge the raid at Parihaka instead of Guy Fawkes Day.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon believes that Parihaka is part of New Zealand history that should be remembered, "Parihaka and other colonial events should be acknowledged nationwide."

In 2017, a Crown apology that passed into law meant that the people of Parihaka hade their historic grievances acknowledged.

Pue has noticed an increase in the number of people interested in the history of Parihaka and hopes one day there are significant changes.

"By the looks of things the country has heard about it."