Parihaka Pā receives $14m investment to display peace movement history

By Regan Paranihi

The famous peaceful resistance movement led by prominent Māori kaumatua Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti-o-Rongomai in the late 19th century, will now be on display to educate visitors about the history of Paihaka Pā, following a $14 million investment to build a new visitors' centre housing traditional and modern taonga.

The Provincial Growth Fund investment will also provide 130 jobs for locals as well as improve the infrastructure of the historical settlement.

“This investment offers residents opportunities for the eventual restoration of the Parihaka community’s economic, cultural and social wellbeing,” Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

The south Taranaki settlement was established in 1866 by Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti-o-Rongomai for Māori who were deprived of their land during the land confiscations era.

Vital symbol

“The events on November 5, 1881, when the settlement was attacked by Crown troops and occupied in a violent invasion caused generations of grief for the whanau of Parihaka,” Jones says.

in 2017 the people of Parihaka received a formal apology from the Crown for the violent invasion their ancestors experienced and their hope was to acknowledge the past but also move forward to fulfil the peaceful vision of their ancestors Tohu and Te Whiti.

"Parihaka remains a vital symbol of non-violent action and our shared heritage. All New Zealanders should know its story and this project will help tell that story," Jones said.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little welcomes the announcement and says all New Zealanders should know the history of Parihaka.

"This funding will make the story of Parihaka accessible to more New Zealanders, and help continue the journey towards a better understanding of our history.”

Infrastructure improvements will include a new visitors centre, a new bridge, car park and a large space for wānanga, conferences, workshops and tour groups. New walking access through the wider papakāinga will provide a safer experience with minimal disruption to residents.