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Honesty History Story: Chief Te Whiti of Parihaka      © Jenny Jenkins 2015         https://sites.google.com/site/valueslessons 

Chapter 1

(Show Image 1)
Raka dropped a mussel into his flax basket, straightened and glanced out to sea. He stared in amazement. With white sails billowing, a tall masted ship was sailing towards him. This must be the British warship Niger. His father had seen it yesterday docked at New Plymouth on his way home from the battle at Waitara. It had been swarming with British soldiers preparing for war. Surely not against his village? They had always been at peace with the British. They grew wheat and potatoes to trade with the settlers.
A command rang out across the water, “Open the gun ports!” Along one side of the ship red coated soldiers hauled on ropes, a row of shutters swung open and ugly black cannon rolled out with a clang.
Raka raced up the beach and through the bush, his heart pounding. He sprinted into the village shouting, “Warship! Run!”
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His father sat with a group of men, cleaning their guns, from the battle at Waitara. Seeing his son’s face, he leapt to his feet. “To the pa!” he shouted. “Everyone to the pa!” 
Crash! A cannonball smashed into the bush nearby. Grabbing their weapons, the men herded the women and children along the bush track behind the village and up to the hilltop fort. It had steep dirt walls topped with fences made from sharpened stakes. Inside were underground rooms to hide in. 
Raka stood up on a firing platform with his father, listening to the roaring cannon. “Why?” he asked.
“Because we helped the Waitara tribe to fight them,” his father answered.
“And because we won’t sell them our land,” Te Whiti, their chief, added from behind him.
Raka’s father told him how a man named Teira, who owed money to the British, had sold 600 acres of land around the pa at Waitara to pay his debts. But the land wasn't his! When surveyors had come to divide this land into farms, the chief had them thrown off. They had returned with an army of British soldiers and attacked the Waitara pa. Maori warriors from Raka’s village and from all over Taranaki flooded in to help, and yesterday they had defeated the British soldiers. Today the British had come south, fired up for revenge.
(Show Image 3)
Through the bush Raka caught a glimpse of the warship, its cannons blazing. Houses were splintered and trees near the village crashed to the ground. His father put a hand on his shoulder and murmured, “Their shells won’t reach us up here.” 
After two days of bombardment, the soldiers came. A column two kilometres long marched down the coast from New Plymouth, the cannons and supply wagons rumbling along behind. Raka and the other children were sent below into the underground rooms. A hundred warriors took their positions on the firing platforms around the walls.
But no soldiers came up to the pa to fight. Below them, smoke billowed up from their village as the soldiers set the buildings alight. Raka’s father watched long into the night, gazing silently down on his blazing home. When the soldiers had destroyed the village, they left.
The next morning Te Whiti led his men down the hill. Raka followed at a distance. Reaching the village, he gasped in horror. Their crops lay ruined, their canoes broken, and their homes were smouldering heaps of embers. Chief Te Whiti stood, head bowed, in front of the collapsed remains of the meetinghouse.
Raka turned and ran through the bush to the beach. He waded into the surf, tears rolling down his cheeks. “Cowards! Come back and fight!” he shouted, waving his fist at the white sail disappearing over the horizon.
As the news spread through Taranaki, the Maori people became angry. “You are our teachers,” they said to the British. “You burned our homes. We copy you.” They set fire to the homes of many British farmers. War broke out. During Raka’s teen years they fought many battles over land wrongfully taken by the government. Many people he loved died.
 In 1869, Raka and his family joined Chief Te Whiti and his brother-in-law, Chief Tohu, as they began to build a new village. This was to be a village of peace, where everyone would be welcome. Those who had lost their homes or families in the war could find a place of refuge here. They called it Parihaka. 
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Now a young married man, Raka and his father helped to build many of the one hundred homes or whare in the village. Two meeting houses stood in the centre, one for Te Whiti and the other Tohu’s. They cleared bush around the village and Raka helped to build wooden fences around the fields to keep wild pigs and cattle out. They planted kumara, taro, and wheat.
“It will be a safe place for us to have our children,” Raka told his pretty, young wife.
When the crops were harvested and all was prepared, Te Whiti invited the people of Taranaki to a meeting on the marae, the large grassy area in front of the meeting house at Parihaka. It was held on March 17th, the anniversary of the battle at Waitara. But this meeting was about peace. “Not a weak peace,” Te Whiti told the people that gathered, “but an honest treaty between equal races, where the British will stop taking Maori land, and both live side by side happily. There will be an end of fighting and killing for all time.”
Raka sat in the large crowd, listening to his chief with pride. Te Whiti stood tall and spoke well. The people listened carefully, and took the message back to their villages. Peace came to Taranaki.
Parihaka grew and prospered and Raka began raising a family. People came from all over New Zealand to hear Te Whiti’s message of peace. They took it home to their tribes. But the government wanted Te Whiti’s land. Raka knew the surveyors were getting closer, marking out roads and dividing Maori land into farms for settlers. Te Whiti decided to protest. He would show them who the land belonged to.

Chapter 2
(Show Image 5)
Holding his hands firm on the plough, Raka clicked his tongue to the straining horses.
“Hey! What’s going on?” A farmer rushed out of his house, struggling into his shirt.
Raka grinned. Before dawn, he and four others had begun quietly ploughing up the British settler’s horse paddock. British soldiers had taken this farm from the Maori without payment, years before. Chief Te Whiti wanted to remind the government. The farmer stormed around the ploughmen waving his gun and threatening to shoot them. They just smiled and kept ploughing.
Teams from Parihaka ploughed up grassy paddocks on many farms taken wrongfully around Taranaki. Settlers became fearful and moved into the towns. Raka and his friends didn’t touch their homes or steal their belongings. They kept on ploughing peacefully, although they were often threatened with guns. The government began training volunteer soldiers in case war broke out again.
(Show Image 6)
An icy wind blew off Mount Taranaki the day the soldiers came. Raka and seven others were ploughing a farm near New Plymouth, while a group of their friends stood nearby, watching and calling out encouragement. Raka heard galloping hooves and glanced up. The farmer arrived, followed by a large squad of soldiers, bayonets on their rifles as though charging into battle. Raka stopped the oxen and stood still. Six soldiers dismounted and surrounded him, their guns aimed at his head. He swallowed. His thoughts went to his wife, sons and young daughter at Parihaka. Would he ever see them again?  A captain rode up, carrying handcuffs. The soldiers loaded Raka and the other ploughmen onto a cart and took them to jail. As the soldiers rode away, Raka’s friends walked onto the field and continued ploughing.
 For many weeks the ploughmen continued their silent protest, ploughing farms taken dishonestly from the Maori. They even ploughed up the paddock where the soldiers kept their horses. After a month the New Plymouth jail was full. Now Chief Te Whiti sent only five ploughmen out at a time. They were arrested and the next day five volunteers replaced them. Raka and the other prisoners were not tried in court. They were not breaking the law, so honest judges would only set them free. So the government passed a law so that the ploughmen could be jailed without a trial. Raka and the other ploughmen were sent from New Plymouth by sailing ship, to a jail down south in Christchurch.
(Show Image 7)
They sat in the dim hold, singing heartily. The captain came down to inspect the prisoners. Raka called, “Please give us some food. We’re hungry!”
“Serves you right!” snapped the captain. The ploughmen laughed. 

Christchurch was freezing for Raka and his friends; some were clothed only in flax skirts. Given nothing but bread and water, Raka lived in a crowded cell with just a bucket in the corner for a toilet. He had to work hard. Those who couldn’t work were locked in a small dark cell alone, sometimes for weeks. After three months, when two hundred men were in jail, the ploughing stopped. Te Whiti had other plans. 
(Show Image 8)
The Government ordered a road built through Te Whiti’s land and along the coast to New Plymouth. It would help the army to move quickly, making it easier to take Maori land and turn it into farms for settlers. The road-builders were trained as soldiers, and were to be rewarded with Maori land for farms.
The Maori welcomed them with gifts; carts loaded with pigs, poultry, potatoes, and peaches. This was an invitation to talk peace, but the commander ignored it. The air rang with the banging of hammers as the soldiers built forts a few kilometers on either side of Parihaka.
The fields surrounding the Maori village grew wheat, kumara and other vegetables, protected by the strong wooden fences that Raka had helped to build.
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One day soldiers cut gaps through these fences and built their road across the middle of a field storing crops. Arriving at work the next morning, they found the fences built back up, right across the new road. They pulled them down again. A large group of Maori men stood watching. Quietly they moved forward and rebuilt the fence.
“Let us have gates for our fields,” one called, “to keep pigs and cattle out of the wheat.”
“No!” came the answer. So every day men from Parihaka went out to protect their fields. When the soldiers came to tear down the fences where the road went through, the men clung to the posts. The soldiers dragged them off and threw them roughly to the ground. Standing back up, the men quietly began repairing the fence. The soldiers arrested them and sent them down to where Raka was imprisoned, in the South Island. Each day new volunteers came to rebuild the fences that protected their crops.
(Show Image 10)
One morning the soldiers at the nearby fort woke up to find three hundred warriors digging up the road nearby. With powerful strokes they dug in unison, bodies shining with sweat. The soldiers had turned their wheat fields into a road, so the Maori were turning the road into a wheat field. When they finished sowing the wheat they built a fence around it. As they finished fencing each section of road they shouted and cheered. Their voices, heard back at Parihaka, made Te Whiti smile. Raka smiled too when the men who joined him in prison told their tale.
Finally, most of the men from Parihaka were in jail for rebuilding the fences around their fields. One sunny morning Raka’s young sons and their friends collected sticks and branches and marched out with their grandfathers. They chanted fearlessly as they passed a group of soldiers, who laughed at them. They repaired the gap in the fence where the road crossed their wheat field and returned triumphantly home. Not one was arrested.
After a year of trouble at the fences, the government built gates across the road to keep animals out of the Parihaka fields. That was the month that Raka was released, after two years in jail. He was lucky. Some of the older men never came home. They died of illness and their grieving families never found their graves.
(Show Image 11)
The returned prisoners were welcomed onto Parihaka Marae by singing women dancing with swirling poi. Each man wore the white feather of a chief in his hair as a mark of honour. Raka’s family watched him with pride as he strode forward to greet Chief Te Whiti. He was home at last!
Te Whiti was given fourteen days to sign a paper giving most of his land to the government. He refused. From all over New Zealand soldiers poured into Taranaki. On November the 5th, 1881, two and a half thousand soldiers marched towards the village of Parihaka. They surrounded the village and loaded their rifles. A hundred picked soldiers, ready and eager to fight, marched up to the gate carrying revolvers, swords and tomahawks.


Chapter 3 

To the soldiers’ surprise, children blocked the gateway into the village of Parihaka. Two hundred children, dressed in flax skirts, sat on the ground singing and spinning tops. Some played string games with nimble fingers, others offered bread to the soldiers. All of them refused to move. Behind them, rows of teenage girls skipped with long ropes.
“Forward, march!” shouted the captain. A hundred soldiers marched towards the children sitting in the gate. Raka’s daughter, Hinemoa, sat in the front row watching as their boots stamped closer. The ground trembled with their footsteps. Their shadows loomed over her. Hinemoa cringed. “Left wheel!” called the captain. Turning, the soldiers marched off to the side. Hinemoa took a deep breath and sang louder.
The captain galloped his horse at the children. Shutting her eyes, Hinemoa sang bravely. At the last second he pulled to a halt. Dirt from the horse’s hooves stung her face. Hinemoa brushed it away as she sang.
(Show Image 12)
“Bring in the cavalry!” bawled the captain. “Clear a path through the children,” he ordered the horsemen. Hinemoa’s eyes grew wide as the horses hooves danced nearer. The teenage girls dropped their skipping ropes, swung off their shoulder mats and shook them at the horses. They shied in fright and pranced away. 
The soldiers stepped between the seated children and rushed at the girls, swinging their swords and threatening to cut off their heads. The girls picked up the ropes and continued skipping. 
The Captain carried a large girl, holding the end of a rope, off to the side. Grinning, his men quickly slipped through the gap.
(Show Image 13)
They marched up to the marae, revolvers ready. To their surprise, they found more than two thousand people, sitting closely together, quietly waiting for them. No weapons were in sight. The officer called out, “You have one hour to leave Parihaka.” The people sat silently, waiting. Raka glanced at his wife, sitting at his side, and she smiled courageously.
All around the village the troops waited tensely as the minutes ticked by. Their guns were loaded and their swords sharp. A bugle sounded and the troops swarmed in.
“Arrest the chiefs,” ordered an officer, “and shoot anyone holding a weapon!” Soldiers pushed their way through the seated crowd to Te Whiti and Tohu. The chiefs stood up with great dignity, drawing their cloaks around them. As they walked through their people they smiled and encouraged them, “Don’t give up, keep the peace.” 
(Show Image 14)
Raka watched sadly as the peace-loving chiefs were placed in an open carriage and driven off to jail, surrounded by soldiers on horseback. The people sat quietly on the marae for the rest of the day. When the moon rose each went silently to their whare. 
Soon, white army tents surrounded Parihaka. Sentries stood watch around the boundaries. The soldiers hauled a cannon to the top of a nearby hill and aimed it at the village. The people continued to meet daily, seated on the marae. British soldiers, searching their houses for weapons, stole family heirlooms, greenstone ornaments and money. They found few weapons, only some guns used for hunting.
An officer rode up to the people seated on the marae. “Pack up your things and leave!” he ordered. “Return to your own villages.” No one moved.
The cannon on the hill was aimed at the people. The officer shouted, “This is your last chance to leave. In one hour we will fire the cannon!” The people sat, still and silent.
Raka was glad the children had been sent away to play on nearby marae. He squeezed his wife’s hand. Time was running out. Every face turned towards the cannon, waiting.
Raka’s dog wandered lazily across to the hillside and climbed towards the top. Two thousand pairs of eyes watched. Perhaps this was a sign from heaven? 
Raka’s wife gasped as the dog ambled in front of the cannon muzzle. Sniffing the cannon wheel, it lifted a leg high and peed on it. 
(Show Image 15)
A ripple of silent laughter swept across the marae. The soldiers loosened their swords awaiting the command to attack. But no order was given. The cannon was silent.
Over the next three weeks most of the people of Parihaka were forced to return to their old villages. Many had nowhere to go, and roamed the countryside searching for food. Raka watched sadly as Chief Te Whiti’s Meeting House was torn down and the crops destroyed. His thoughts flashed back to when he was a boy, seeing Te Whiti standing with his head bowed in front of the smoking ruins of his ancestral meeting house. Would peace ever come? What would it take?
Much of the land was surveyed into farms for soldiers and settlers. Chief Te Whiti and Chief Tohu were sent to prison in the South Island. They were treated well and taken on a tour of Christchurch to see the wonders of civilization: steam trains, factories and telephones. The Government sent an agent with a tempting offer. “If you stop holding meetings at Parihaka,” he said, “we’ll let you go home, give you a piece of your land to farm, and a yearly income.” They refused.
After a year in prison Te Whiti was released, and he set about rebuilding Parihaka.(Show Image 16)
 Raka helped build a large dining room seating over a hundred people and serving better food than the hotels in nearby New Plymouth. There was a butcher, a baker, a bank and two stores. Parihaka was one of the first towns in New Zealand to have electric lights.
Te Whiti continued complaining to the Government about land taken from the Maori. He called his people to him. “We will march in protest. We will leave Parihaka in groups, spreading out across Taranaki like ripples on a pond.”
(Show Image 17)
 Raka and his family joined a group travelling south from village to village, staying in Maori meeting houses. Many others joined them as they went. But although the settlers got nervous, still the Government took no notice. Te Whiti didn’t give up.
Raka rose early one morning and gathered on the marae with five hundred men from Parihaka, their breath steaming in the cool morning air. They travelled quickly though hidden bush tracks. They arrived at a rich British farm, established on land taken from the Maori. There they began to build a small Maori village as a protest. At midday their women prepared a hot lunch for them. Raka smiled as his wife and her friends offered food to the crowd of policemen and settlers who rode in to remove them.
Chief Te Whiti was arrested and sent to jail in Wellington for almost six months. When he was released the Maori people welcomed him as a hero. 
Chief Te Whiti lived a long life and died peacefully in 1907 at Parihaka, surrounded by the people he loved.
(Show Image 18)
Raka spoke at his tangi, or funeral, on his marae, as tears flowed silently down his cheeks. 
“Because of the ideas Te Whiti taught us here at Parihaka, his example of honesty and courage, and the fearless protests and great suffering of his warriors of peace, the land wars between Maori and British have ended. Together we paid the price so that the killing would stop. As Te Whiti dreamed, peace has come to New Zealand.” 

© Jenny Jenkins 2015      Resource: Ask That Mountain, by Dick Scott 


Discussion Questions
1. How did the New Zealand Government show dishonesty in the way they treated the Maori people of Parihaka? Why?
2. How did Te Whiti show honesty in his response to the unfair and illegal way they were treated by the government?
3. How did Chief Te Whiti and his people protest? Why?
4. What was the result for New Zealand?
5. Did honesty pay for Te Whiti in the end? How? What was the price?

Epilogue
Several Taranaki tribes were affected by the Parihaka incident. Between 2001 and 2006, through the Waitangi Tribunal, the New Zealand government provided compensation and a formal apology to four of those tribes for a range of historical issues including Parihaka. Tens of millions of New Zealand dollars were provided as redress to the tribes in recognition of their losses at Parihaka and the illegal land confiscations. Most of the confiscated land is privately owned by white New Zealand dairy farmers, and is worth considerably more.       Ref: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parihaka#Redress

Visual Aid
Print out the images or make a Power Point presentation with them, to help your students to visualise the story.
1. Niger sailing ship https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/HMS_Niger_(1846).jpg/300px-HMS_Niger_(1846).jpg
2. Warriors http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/maori-warrior-looking-scary-haka-22860130.jpg
3. Ship https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3584/3407533409_c1b2389571.jpg
4. Parihaka http://www.teara.govt.nz/files/p5183atl.jpg
5. Horses ploughing http://www.vegetablewhisperer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/005%20ploughing%20550%20x%20700.jpg
6. Soldiers on horseback http://resources2.news.com.au/images/2007/11/08/va1237507334847/1917-...-Australian-soldiers-of-the-7th-Light-Horse-5741870.jpg
7. Ships hold http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/newspaper/OM02-image.jpg
8. Te Whiti http://www.theprow.org.nz/assets/Maori/TeWhiti.jpg

9. British soldiers https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ee/6b/38/ee6b38fcb889b880ff2e21fc70c1fc74.jpg
10. Diggers http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JAnISIEazNI/T-LMXG-d8-I/AAAAAAAABTE/US5VYvSh30s/s1600/Digging_with_the_Ko.png
11. Poi dancer http://www.goseenewzealand.co.nz/article_pics/Maori_dancers__Courtesy_Tourism__Bay_of_Plenty.JPG
12. Cavalry http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TAi4-cKt4Sk/Toy3EdsgpRI/AAAAAAAAAI0/kxq9RLxawIg/s400/Independent_Charg.jpg
13. Soldiers marching into Parihaka https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/96/b5/8a/96b58a299f02dfff53a32c2adc6fd44f.jpg
14. Tohu http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/etexts/Gov09_07Rail/Gov09_07Rail019b.jpg
15. Dog http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bkYJzUOesYk/UcvHv53x3hI/AAAAAAAAAKQ/Pi3b31ebtX4/s1600/DSCF2470.JPG
16. Parihaka http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/files/styles/fullsize/public/images/stories/nzwars/nzwars-016.jpg?itok=BmyJQKt-
17. Group http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7IQR1J92Dg4/RrxRq1o3ioI/AAAAAAAAAH4/fesohvTOyHM/s400/Parihaka+Children+1880.jpg
18. Parihaka funeral http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/dbtw-wpd/HeritageImages/images/photos/AWNf/1907/AWNS_19071128_p007_i001_b.jpg;