With #Parihaka trending on Twitter, hundreds of New Zealanders have shown their support behind a national celebration of ‘Parihaka day’ opposed to Guy Fawkes. While many New Zealanders marked the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the House of Lords in 1605 by lighting fireworks in their backyard, a far smaller number commemorated an event much closer to home.
On the 5th of November in 1881, around 1500 colonial troops marched on Parihaka, devastating the settlement and exiling a number of prophets including Tohu Kakahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai. These prophets were leaders of a passive resistance against land confections- and it is this movement which some New Zealanders believe we should all be remembering.
Many agree with this belief, as some feel that we should not be celebrating/commemorating an event that happened hundreds of years ago in a distant country. Rather we should be commemorating something of meaning to all New Zealanders.
Māori M.P Marama Fox has brought a bill to Parliament proposing that the day becomes recognised and commemorated. However, with her policy being a grass roots one, (and unlikely to be locked in law) Fox believes the easiest way to make 5th of November Parihaka Peace Day is to simple declare it unofficially- and now hope that others follow suit.