Commemorating peaceful protest – Parihaka

Human beings. We can be a bit disappointing sometimes can’t we? We’re often very easily swayed by things that are bright and shiny rather than other more meaningful things.

FireworksTake for instance the event we usually commemorate on 5 November, Guy Fawkes Day. Four hundred years ago in England a group of people plotted to blow up the King and Parliament. The plot was foiled and Fawkes (among others) was caught , tried and executed.
And this would probably be no more than a barely remembered fact from high school history class if explosives weren’t involved. Because we love a bit of a fireworks display, we choose to remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.

Parihaka, a very different kind of protest, doesn’t get as much attention even though it’s far more recent and took place in our own country.

Parihaka by Josiah Martin, [ca 1880]
Parihaka by Josiah Martin, [ca 1880], Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Accession No. 1997/34/7
The Māori settlement of Parihaka, Taranaki was home to around 2000 people. In the wake of the Land Wars many Māori had become dispossessed as the Government of the time had undertaken “confiscations” of land. A movement to resist this acquisition and occupation of Māori land had grown, but rather than warfare, peaceful means were used to undermine Government “ownership” of disputed lands. Surveyor pegs were removed, fences were built, fields were ploughed.

By 1881 the Government determined that this peaceful but disruptive protest should come to an end, so on 5 November a militia and armed constabulary of 1500 men invaded the settlement of Parihaka. They were met without resistance. The settlement, and its surrounding crops were eventually destroyed. The leaders of the movement  Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi were sent south and jailed, as were a number of men, some of whom never returned.

So, in both cases the Government of the day is accused of injustice – one group chooses a violent protest, the other a peaceful one – but it’s the former that we commemorate. Hmmm. Interesting.

But should you want to pay tribute to the fearless, peaceful protestors of Parihaka you have the opportunity. Lyttelton Community House invite you to attend their Annual Parihaka Remembrance service. This will be held on Thursday, 5th November, 10am at the Lyttelton Rose Garden – (Former Gaol site). From there you are also invited to attend a second service that will be held at the memorial stone next to the church at Rapaki at 11am. Light refreshments will be served afterwards. Please phone Christine on 741-1427 if you require further information.

Or at the very least, you could spend Thursday humming this pop classic by Tim Finn.

Rick Riordan’s Introduction to Norse Mythology

Rick Riordan, the creator of Percy Jackson, has just released the first book in his new series.  Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard follows Rick’s new character, Magnus Chase, as he tries to prevent the end of the world, Ragnarok. If you love Percy Jackson you’ll love this new series.  You can reserve your copy at the library now.

Cover of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard 1Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he is tracked down by a man he’s never met a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

If you read Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer and want to find out more about Norse mythology or read more stories featuring the Norse gods we have the perfect book list for you.  We’ve just created an If you like…Norse Mythology for Kids booklist that has some great books that you could try next, including:

Who’s going to see Courtney Barnett live at The Foundry?

…Rebecca Taekema (and her “plus one”)

Congratulations, Rebecca and thanks to everyone who entered!

Here’s how some of you answered our competition question: What book would you recommend to Courtney Barnett to read while on tour?

“Something by Haruki Murakami. Perhaps The Wind-up Bird Chronicle because of the cats. Melancholic yet comforting and uplifting and intriguing, much like Courtney’s music :)”

Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne because it’s not too long, is very NZ, and the writing is amazing and inspiring.”

Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame for all the above reasons and I reckon Courtney would love Janet.”

Cover of Dead People's music“Maybe a novel about another musician like Sarah Laing’s Dead People’s Music or she might be interested in Kevin Hill’s new book

“Kim Gordon’s Girl in A Band and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl :)”

Other suggestions included –

Tickets are still available for Courtney Barnett’s show at The Foundry, Friday 7 November.