I was humbled to join the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, Te Tai Hauaauru MP Adrian Rurauwhe, Hon Chris Finlayson and members of the Parihaka Papakainga Trust for the signing of a $9 million funding reconciliation agreement in Wellington. This agreement confirms the Crowns commitment to forge a relationship with the Parihaka whānau to recognise the historical significance of Parihaka and provide support for the development of the community into the future.
The Parihaka Reconciliation Bill was passed in 2017 and included the Crown apology for the invasion of Parihaka by government troops in 1881. The funding reconciliation agreement is the next step towards healing the relationship for the harmful events that occurred in the 1880s during the passive resistance movement led by the founders of Parihaka prophets Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai.
In the aftermath of the invasion of Parihaka, residents were forcibly evicted, unjustly imprisoned, their leaders arrested and held without trial, homes and sacred buildings desecrated, rapes committed and a regime imposed that deprived owners of control and ownership of their land.
The agreement that has been reached will initiate a development plan securing opportunities for the Parihaka Papakainga Trust and Government agencies to work together an implement initiatives that will see the growth of the community.
The lesson from the people of Parihaka shows our country that the path to reconciliation requires compassion, courage and commitment to walk forward together and never repeat the mistakes of history. The determination of the Parihaka people is best captured in the saying; “e kore te uku e piri ki te rino” ” clay does not stick to iron” – so too is the resolve of the people of Parihaka to hold fast to the vision and aspirations of Te Whiti and Tohu.