Nuclear free parade, Akaroa, Mothers Day: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2018

October is Photo Hunt month at Christchurch City Libraries. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library. Each week during October we’ll be featuring one of the postcard images on our blog.

Nuclear free parade, Akaroa, Mothers Day. Kete Christchurch. PH14-JaSh-4. Entry in the 2009 & 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

1984. Nuclear issues were on every body’s minds during this time. A very strong group of Akaroa and Banks Peninsula people turned out for this parade on Mothers Day 1984. The district’s local body was the Akaroa County Council and a majority of the council members supported the motion that the Akaroa County, (including Akaroa township), would be nuclear free.

An opinion poll commissioned by the 1986 Defence Committee of Enquiry confirmed that 92 per cent of the population opposed nuclear weapons in New Zealand and 69 per cent opposed warship visits.

The banner carriers leading the way are Paul Flight and David Thurston.

Date: 13 May 1984.

Entry in the 2009 & 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jan Shuttleworth.

About Kete Christchurch

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Parihaka and the “civilising influence” of Christchurch

In November 1881 the Māori settlement of Parihaka in Taranaki was invaded by government troops. The aim was to end a campaign of civil disobedience that had been taking place since 1879 and which was in response to government confiscations of Māori land. This armed constabulary of over 1,500 arrested large numbers of people including leaders Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi.

Parihaka [1881 or later]
Messenger, Arthur Herbert, 1877-1962. Artist unknown :Parihaka [1881 or later?]. Ref: B-081-007. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Among the armed constabulary force was Harry Ell. The Christchurch conservationist and politician is best remembered as the man behind the Summit Road and its rest-houses such as Sign of the Takahe. In later years he reflected that the actions of government troops had ‘brought about the bitterness and estrangement between the two races’.

Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi in Christchurch

Without standing trial Te Whiti and Tohu were brought to Christchurch and imprisoned at Addington Gaol, though they were allowed out on a number of excursions to the Kaiapoi Woollen Mills, Canterbury Museum, Addington Railway workshops, the Cathedral and even the theatre. At least some of the motivation for these trips seems to have been to promote the benefits of Pākehā civilisation as illustrated by Christchurch’s industries and institutions.

“Te Whiti and Tohu were taken over the Kaiapoi factory to-day, where their eyes were opened to a still wider extent as to the power of the pakeha.” North Otago Times, 18 May 1882

Both prisoners were treated as oddities and objects of curiosity by Cantabrians. In numerous newspaper reports of the day local people are described as gathering in crowds to gawk at them at every occasion – from their first appearance off the ship at Lyttelton, to a visit to the Exhibition, to their arrival off the train at Ashburton.

Although they were clearly a cause célèbre, the way they are described in reports demonstrates the prejudices and expectations that Christchurch people had of their “exotic” visitors.

“The organ in the Cathedral was also a novelty to them, and caused much amusement to the untutored minds of the Maori chiefs.” “Christchurch”, The Colonist, 5 May 1882

“The bearing of Tohu and Te Whitiaccording to people who have seen them robed in a blanket, loses considerably when they don the everyday dress of the pakeha and wear heavy boots.” “Te Whiti and Tohu at The Exhibition”The Star, 6 May 1882

New Zealand International Exhibition, Hagley Park, Christchurch [1882]
New Zealand International Exhibition, Hagley Park, Christchurch [1882], File Reference: CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0008
Imagine waiting expectantly in a crowd to see two Māori chiefs, only for them to appear wearing trousers and boots! Even from the distance of over 100 years the disappointment is palpable.

An end to imprisonment

Both Te Whiti and Tohu were released in March 1883 still without having stood trial, despite Government having passed the West Coast Peace Preservation Act 1882 which allowed for them to be imprisoned indefinitely.

They returned to Taranaki to rebuild the settlement at Parihaka (which had been destroyed following the invasion). The rebuilt settlement included modern conveniences such as a piped water suppy and electricity.

Both Tohu and Te Whiti continued to organise campaigns of protest upon their return to Taranaki. Many other prisoners remained in jails in the South Island, including in Dunedin. The last Parihaka prisoners were released in 1898.

Parihaka remembrance in Lyttelton

There will be a gathering at The Rose Garden for a small service followed by light refreshments back at Lyttelton Community House.

Saturday 5th November, 2pm – 4pm

Find out more about Parihaka

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.

Land is the very soul of a tribal people

Photograph Maori Land March demonstrators between Te Hapua and Mangamuka. Heinegg, Christian F, 1940- :Photographs of the Maori Land March. Ref: PA7-15-16. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Photograph Maori Land March demonstrators between Te Hapua and Mangamuka. Heinegg, Christian F, 1940- :Photographs of the Maori Land March. Ref: PA7-15-16. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Forty years ago a landmark event in New Zealand history began in a small Northland community called Te Hapua, the most northerly settlement in Aotearoa.

This was the beginning point of a protest march that, over the course of a month, would take in the length of the North Island. The greater distance however was yet to be travelled – that towards a bicultural New Zealand.

This was an important moment in New Zealand history. Since the signing of the The Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Māori had been increasingly alienated from their land. Legislation often disadvantaged Māori in the way it applied to land that was collectively (or tribally) owned.

Time after time, Māori land was transferred to Crown ownership via one piece of legislation or the other. Māori land ownership had dwindled from 67,000,000 acres to just 2,000,000 acres. The petition that accompanied the march, or hīkoi, identified the Town and Country Planning Act, the Public Works Act, the Rating Act, and the Counties Amendment Act as contributing to this problem.

Organised by Te Rōpū o Te Matakite, a pan-tribal group, and led by Dame Whina Cooper the march culminated in a 5000-strong crowd arriving at Parliament with a petition signed by 60,000 people and presented to Prime Minister Bill Rowling. The petition called for “the abolition of monocultural laws pertaining to Maori land” and pressed those in power “to establish communal ownership of land within the tribe as a legitimate title equal in status to the individual title”.

In a booklet issued by Te Rōpu o Te Matakite, they go into more detail as to why the march is needed emphasising the importance to Maori of the land –

Land is the very soul of a tribal people.



Māori Land March (1975) - Route of March
Māori Land March (1975) – Route of March.  Archives New Zealand, AAMK 869 W3074 684/d 19/1/774 Part 1 (R11838413) (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Though it took place in the North Island, as this map of the march route shows, the intention was that Māori from all over the country would be involved, making it a national movement. It was expected that South Island protesters would meet with their northern counterparts in Wellington.

For those wanting to know more about this watershed moment in New Zealand’s bicultural journey, National Library in Wellington has an exhibition of photographs taken by Christian Heinegg during the Māori Land March called ‘Not one more acre’. Some images from Heinegg’s photo essay are available online.

Archives New Zealand has digitised a selection of documents and images that tell the story of the march. View them in their 1975 Māori Land March set on Flickr.

You can also watch, via NZ On Screen the full length television documentary Te Matakite O Aotearoa – The Māori Land March, made during the protest.

Further reading

A lesson for conscriptionists

Cover of Ripa Island A lesson for conscriptionistsWe’ve recently digitised a very interesting publication that shows a different side to military service than the one we’re used to seeing.

In 1912, military training or “drills” were compulsory for boys from 14 years of age. Refusal to attend training, even on religious grounds, was considered a serious infringement that could result in confinement at a fortress for a period of 28 days. There were other potential consequences too.

In addition to imposing a fine at the beginning of this process, the magistrate may, and frequently does, declare the offender, for any period up to ten years, ineligible to be employed in the public service, or to vote at a Parliamentary election. The Education Department also takes a hand, and deprives the boy who has not done his drills of any scholarship which he may have won.

Pretty harsh stuff for teenagers to have to contemplate.

Published in London in 1913 by the “Friends’ Peace Committee” and written by “passive resister” Samuel Veale Bracher, Ripa Island: A lesson for conscriptionists tells the story of 13 youths from Christchurch and the West Coast who refused military training and were subsequently imprisoned in Fort Jervois on Ripapa (Ripa) Island . Bracher uses the story of the Ripa martyrs as a plea against conscription in Britain.

Initially the boys are treated well and are happy to do manual work that is set them by the officer in charge, but when they refuse to clean guns and take part in military drills, and are subsequently punished with half rations they go on a hunger strike.

At about 3.15 p.m., Bombardier Moir and the other soldiers again came in, and this time we were asked if we would drill and learn semaphore signalling. Again a negative answer was given. An attempt was going to be made to force us to drill, but we were determined that it should fail. Force would have no more effect upon us than coaxing had previously. We had been offered a forty-eight hours holiday in Christchurch if we would drill. We had refused. Now we were going to be slowly starved into submission on half rations, but we would beat them; we would starve ourselves and so bring about a climax .

What follows is an interesting insight into what happens when an irrestistible force comes up against an immoveable object.

The drama unfolds very quickly with one chap succumbing to sickness very early (described later as “biliousness”) and attending his own hastily arranged court trial while unconscious.

Sergeant-Major Conley asked if Robson was to be brought in. ‘Yes,’ replied Macdonald. ‘But he can’t talk,’ protested the sergeant-major. At this moment the lieutenant lost his temper and said, ‘Bring him in! Use any force you like! ‘ A few minutes later Robson was carried in unconscious between two soldiers.

He’s subsequently accused of “malingering” yet remains floppy, pale, and unmoving for the entirety of his “trial”.

Appeals are made, an enquiry is called for, and a follow up trial is held which returns a rather different verdict.

Read the whole story online in Ripa Island: A lesson for conscriptionists.

For more information on the Ripa Island dissenters and compulsory military training for youths see:

Heritage isn’t just dusty ornaments and yellowing photos of bearded gents …

… it’s the things we remember, the times that shape us. And one of my favourite things in our digital collection is only 29 years old – our 1981 Springbok Tour posters.

As we head towards the Rugby World Cup next year, it’s a good time to think again about ‘The Tour’. Rugby came to mean so much more than kicking a ball about. Back in 1981, New Zealand was a nation divided. Should politics and sports mix? Can we play rugby against a nation that practices apartheid? Civil disturbances shook the country as the South African rugby team toured.

I was a school kid  in Gore, and can remember getting into feisty arguments with pro-Tour kids and my parents going to protests.

These posters are our heritage.